Mats Eden + Tina Quartey
Vägen in (Amigo, Sweden)
Vägen in presents fiddler Mats Edén and percussionist Tina Quartey in a stunning duet debut. Mats’ life-long passion for Värmland traditions and his new interest in neighboring Norwegian melodies is a remarkably intuitive fit for Tina's explorations into Afro-Cuban and Brazilian music. With their backgrounds in groundbreaking ensembles like the Nordan ensemble, Groupa and Filarfolket, it is no surprise that what they deliver is innovative music, challenging and yet deeply rooted in tradition.
The label says:
Mats Edén and Tina Quartey made their debut as a duo on Swedish Radio's P3's live program, Lunch Music, sometime around the end of the '80s. A bit odd, considering that their music is light years away from the normal aesthetics of popular radio. As could be expected, it didn't lead to any major breakthroughs among listeners, even if their immediate circle of friends were enthusiastic.
Live audiences (which with time have grown considerably) are also generally enthusiastic because this duo symbolizes the joy of playing, great musical freedom and communication. The basis is set in folk music, strongly reinforced by Mats' life-long Värmland traditions, into which Norwegian melodies have recently been integrated as well. Tina's background includes an exploration of Afro-Cuban and Brazilian percussive music, with the Brazilian berimbau playing a major role in the interplay with Mats.
They have been performing as a duo for fifteen years, refining and perfecting their mutual style. The meeting between the Swedish and Latin American music traditions has proven to be a suitable creative field for joint exploration, both in improvisation and composition. But the resulting music is not a "fusion". Instead, it is a tightly woven musical expression in which percussion and fiddle act and react with each other, carefully sculptured but never contrived – or free improvisation around a mood or a rhythm. This is music that is made in the present, very little is arranged in advance. It can be based on a line, a sound, a thought.
Something that may be significant for this duo is that they first waited fifteen years before making their recording debut, only to finish the entire session in three days. Even so, they really pulled out all the stops on a couple of tracks and pushed the musical borders to new limits by making use of the extra potential that a studio presents. In this way, a new kind of music is created on this CD, which otherwise consists of traditional material from western Sweden as well as material written specially for this record.
Mats Edén and Tina Quartey are two of Sweden's best-known folk musicians. Over the years they have been active in the biggest and most important Swedish bands on the Swedish folk music scene: Groupa, Filarfolket, Nordan. At times on their own but often together, as on the Grammy Award winners "Månskratt" (Groupa, 1990, Amigo), Nordan (1994, ECM) and "Imeland" (Groupa, 1995, Amigo). The original plans for making this particular record, incidentally, were hatched at "Imeland's" release party. That it would take all of nine years to concretize this recording project is not particularly surprising; both Mats and Tina keep themselves busy with projects of their own as well as frequent appearances in those of others. For example, they both participated on one more album with Ale Möller and Lena Willemark's Nordan project, "Agram" (ECM, 1996). In addition to yet another couple of albums with Groupa, two solo records on the Amigo label – Grammy nominated "Läckerbiten" (1998) and "Avtryck" (2001) – and one on ECM, "Milvus" (1997), Mats has also found time to compose an opera. "Den Farliga Natten", based on Anders Österling's verse drama about the legendary creature Bäckahästen (the Brook Horse), had its premier in the summer of 2001.
Tina has also been heard on a number of records: Simbi, a solo album with Tellu Virkala (from Hedningarna), Martin Bagge, Mikael Neumann, Anders Hagberg and not least on her own group Alwa's CD-debut of the same name (2002, Amigo).
As a duo they have played at a large number of festivals over the years, including the Falun Folkmusic Festival (the radio recording of the concert was broadcast in 19 countries), Urkult, the Ransäter Stämma and the Malmö Festival. This summer they can again be heard at the stämma in Ransäter, a concert that also celebrates the record release late Friday night on June 11. Later during the summer they will appear at Korrö and in the autumn at the Nordic Roots Festival in Minneapolis, as well as on tours in Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
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