MOJNA – Väntenätter (Heilo HCD7410)

VäntenätterScandinavian trio Thomas Eriksson, Helga Myhr and Anna Malmström have worked together for three years but Väntenätter (Nights Of Waiting) is their first album under their group name, Mojna. Eriksson composes and plays guitar, Myhr plays Hardanger fiddle and Malmström plays clarinet and bass clarinet. This may seem like an odd combination but it gives the trio three lead instruments each with its own distinctive backing.

The opening track, ‘Ljusnar’, begins with a fiddle drone but quickly develops into a guitar piece although Helga and Anna seem to dispute that and the composition becomes a three-way tussle with the clarinet just about winning. ‘Väv’ opens with clarinet, the guitar interweaving its way through before the fiddle takes its turn. I have to say that Anna’s bass clarinet makes a beautiful sound as it lays the foundation at the end of the track.

Thus the pattern of the album is established. ‘Blixtlynt’ is a lively, upbeat track while ‘Spegling’ is slow, almost ghostly. Coming almost as light relief from the complexity of what has gone before, ‘Motvind’ is a lilting guitar piece followed by the joyful ‘Svirra’, its strong bass line making it a perfect tune for dancing. Mojna return to their contrapuntal style with ‘Alblick’

Penultimately, the title track ‘Väntenätter’ enlists producer Erlend Apneseth who brings a second hardingfele to the party – I guess he’s playing the pizzicato parts but I could be wrong – and we return to the intense complexity of earlier tracks. The last piece, ‘Skimring’ begins with lilting guitar before Helga takes over the lead role. The track ends with the sound of running water and what I take to be birdsong. As far as I can tell skimring is Swedish for shimmering which seems appropriate.

The music on Väntenätter is complex: part folk although I’m insufficiently expert to identify its sources and part jazz in that it sometimes feels improvised although I’m fairly sure it isn’t. It’s absorbing listening whatever you choose to call it.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ website:

‘Väntenätter’ – single edit:

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