Snowflake Trio: Sun Dogs review – A treasure trove

Sun Dogs
    
Artist: Snowflake Trio
Genre: Traditional
Label: Talik Records

The energy fuelling some exceptional recent collaborations between Irish, Scottish and Nordic musicians is at the heart of this beautiful collection from Snowflake Trio, aka flute player, singer and composer Nuala Kennedy, Norwegian accordionist Frode Haltli and fiddle player Vegar Vårdal.

Poetry, mythology and storytelling fuel the trio, with Francis Ledwidge, Edvard Grieg and Peadar Ó Doirnín just three of the artists whose work they interpret.

The richly patterned warp and weft of their Irish, Scots and Norwegian tunes yield nuggets minuscule and majestic in turn. Kennedy’s reading of The Butterfly, a slip jig associated with the playing of the late Tommy Potts, finds fresh and mysterious expression in the company of Gudmunddansen, a Norwegian tune known as a hopsar. Lissom arrangements sit astride Kennedy’s fluid flute playing, so that Haltli and Vårdal’s accordion and fiddle revel in the playful delights of her composition, A Face for Scuba, and so much more.

There’s a cinematic quality to many of Snowflake Trio’s creations, with unexpected echoes of Jordi Savall in Ceol Sidhe, Kennedy’s setting of Ledwidge’s pastoral ode stitched seamlessly into the emigrant song Amerika-Vise. A treasure trove.

Siobhán Long

Siobhán Long

Siobhán Long, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about traditional music and the wider arts