Exposé Online banner

Annbjørg Lien — Baba Yaga
(NorthSide NSD6044, 2000, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2001-03-01

Baba Yaga Cover artThe Hardanger fiddle of Norway is traditionally played as a solo instrument, but Annbjørg Lien, one of the more famous exponents of the instrument, here presents it in the setting of an augmented rock band. This is her third solo album, her first for NorthSide (which has also released her acoustic band Bukkene Bruse). Like some of the other artists on NorthSide, she combines the traditional and the modern, but the result is not quite like anyone else’s. Rather than going to the electronic side, she strays more towards rock, and even a bit of progressive rock, courtesy in large part to the keyboards of Bjørn Ole Rasch, who favors organ and Minimoog over digital instruments. The arrangements, while based in large part on traditional sounding melodies, are wildly inventive, veering from acoustic moments where the distinctive sound of the Hardanger is accompanied only minimally, to powerful ensemble pieces with muscular drumming and what sounds like a cast of thousands. Take “Wackidoo” for example. It starts with some odd bagpipe noises and an acoustic guitar with echoing feedback mixed in the background. Then the fiddle comes in with a bouncy melody and the band joins in for a few times through. From out of the blue comes a Bach-by-way-of-Keith-Emerson pipe organ break building into a kind of fanfare for Minimoog. The fiddle and band finish it up, reprising the original melody with more emphasis. This kind of creativity, far from being unusual, is the norm on Baba Yaga. “Inoque” features African children singing, recorded by Annbjørg and Bjørn Ole while touring in Mozambique. The second part of “Ája” has some attention-grabbing drone singing from Ailo Gaup. Other wonderful and fascinating touches abound.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 21, 2000 releases

Related artist(s): Annbjørg Lien

Latest news

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Germinale - Germinale – One of the better of the new Italian progressive bands, their eponymous debut just escaped the second part of our "New Italian Progressive Rock Scene" overview back in issue #4. So with the release of...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues