Swap is a quartet consisting of two Swedish fiddlers, Ola Backstrom and Carina Normansson, and two Britons, accordionist Karen Tweed and guitarist Ian Carr. They bring a wide variation in Swedish and Irish tunes and songs, both traditional and contemporary.

Granted, they might look a little bit peculiar when you see the pictures. When Carina appeared on stage wearing a snow-white outfit and a hair ribbon, an Abba flashback momentarily filled my vision. In fact, the white was so bright that, on my pictures, she often beamed as if she were the Virgin Mary herself! Karen’s black glitter dress, which she wore on top of a pair of black trousers, was also very eye-catching.

However, I can assure you, it was not just their outfit that attracted the audience’s attention. From the very moment their music caught our ears it left us completely speechless. I actually could hear the audience grow silent, when the musicians, being perfectly geared to one another, displayed their musical prowess.

Wearing a big smile that lasted the entire concert, Karen Tweed played the accordion with such virtuosity that during the more up-tempo pieces her fingers became a blur of movement, nevertheless incessantly producing just the right notes at the exact right moment.

Welshman Ian Carr not just accompanied the rest of the quartet on guitar but actually put down the bed of the stream the others are meandering in, using his guitar play both as a melodic and a rhythmic basis. Next up is Ola Backstrom. While not being the most noticeable member of the band, his violin-playing certainly was as delectable as the infectious laughter of his female compatriot, Carina. Next to playing the violin herself, Carina also does the vocal parts. With her warm voice, she sings us mysterious songs about dwarves, woods, and whipped cream, or at least, that’s what I gathered from it as my Swedish is actually limited to “tack sa mycket”.

Next to their great musical expertise, the band members proved to have a great sense of humour too. Especially guitarist Ian turned out to be a first-class funnyman. I expected him to recommend “Piña coladas” at any time, just like Toby Radloff in the movie “American Splendor”.

As you can see, Swap is an excellent live band, which I would strongly recommend.

This is how I like folk performances best: great music spiced up with lots of humour and the artists really enjoying themselves on the stage. And I’m sure many others were sharing my opinion, otherwise they wouldn’t ask the musicians back twice for encores, would they?

20:26 Gepost door Aisling | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

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