Album Remarks & Appraisals:
North Sea songs Annbjørg Lien, with her feet solidly planted in Norwegian folk music, but a gaze that constantly turns outwards, has reached an audience far beyond the well-informed Norwegian and international folk music community. Three years after her successful world music album "Khoom Loy" was released, she is now presenting a long-awaited new album. And the wait was not in vain. "Drifting Like a Bird", her ninth album, is a cohesive and inspired studio version of a commissioned work with the same name that Annbjørg composed for the North Sea Festival in Farsund in 2013. Annbjørg has chosen an exciting group of musicians to collaborate with. They include both musicians she has worked with for many years and a few new acquaintances: the Irish singer and multi-instrumentalist Cathy Jordan (Dervish), vocalist and performance artist Tori Wrånes, Swedish cellist Anders Löfberg (Nordic, Majorstuen), Swedish guitarist Roger Tallroth (Väsen), keyboardist Bjørn Ole Rasch and drummer Rune Arnesen. Here she presents a collection of powerful songs about life at sea and on land around the North Sea Basin. Annbjørg worked systematically: before writing the music she interviewed sailors and seamen to collect stories and impressions. It is easy to hear that the project has been inspiring for composer and lyricist Lien.
Personnel: Tori Wranes (vocals, accordion, bell); Annbjorg Lien (vocals, fiddle, hardanger fiddle, sound effects); Roger Tallroth (guitar, 12-string guitar, tenor guitar, terz guitar, bouzouki, ukulele); Rune Arnesen (drums, percussion); Cathy Jordan (vocals, bodhran); Anders Löfberg (cello); Bjorn Ole Rasch (harmonium, Hammond b-3 organ, Mellotron, kalimba).
Liner Note Author: Annbjorg Lien.
Recording information: Kongshavan Studios (09/2014).
Photographer: Stian Herdal.
Released in 2015, Drifting Like a Bird is a maritime-themed collection from acclaimed Norwegian hardanger fiddle master Annbjorg Lien. Over the previous two decades, Lien's work has generally been wide in scope, using Scandinavian folk as a jumping-off point for her explorations into myriad other genres. This ambitious work was commissioned by the North Sea Festival in the Southern Norwegian city of Farsund, and explores themes of life both at sea and on land in the North Sea Basin. A native of watery Ålesund on the country's Western coast, Lien is no stranger to the sea, and her orchestrated musical treatments here evoke a spectrum of emotions from grandeur to tranquility to violence. Lush choral arrangements, circular fiddle, bouzouki patterns, clanging ship bells, and lonesome, droning harmoniums serve to create rich seascapes as Lien and her many collaborators paint their own impressionistic portrait of a culture recognized around the world. ~ Timothy Monger