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Alasdair Roberts og Volvur

The Old Fabled River

Drag City

Released: 23rd July 2021



In January 2019, at the invitation of fiddler Hans Kjorstad, Alasdair Roberts travelled from his home in Glasgow, Scotland to Oslo, Norway, where the two men convened with five additional Scandinavian musicians at Riksscenen, Oslo’s centre for
Norwegian traditional arts and music. Thus newly-formed, the group worked on arrangements of songs - self-written and traditional - from Alasdair’s back catalogue, in preparation for performances at Riksscenen as well as at ALICE in Copenhagen, Denmark and the bucolic western Danish island of Fanø. The group was named Völvur (The Seeresses), a reference to the ancient Icelandic apocalyptic text Völuspa (The Prophecy of the Seeress).



In January 2020, Völvur visited England and Scotland, to perform with Alasdair Roberts at Cecil Sharp House, London and at Platform, Glasgow, the latter as part of Celtic Connections festival. The group had new material - freshly written songs by Alasdair
and several traditional Norwegian songs sung by Marthe Lea - and over a couple days at Sam and Rachel’s Studio in Hackney, laid down the music which now flows forth as ‘The Old Fabled River’.

The musicians who make up Völvur - Marthe Lea, saxophone, clarinet and voice, Fredrik Rasten, guitars and voice, Andreas Hoem Røysum, clarinet, Egil Kalman, bass and electronics, Jan Martin Gismervik, drums, percussion and the aforementioned
initiator of the project, Hans Kjorstad on fiddle - are a busy and artistically inquisitive group, involved in a diverse range of projects with a wide variety of musical interests, from folk and jazz to free music, modular synthesis, microtonality and beyond. They make an ideal pairing for such voyages in the alchemical world as
Alasdair pursues in his own music.

On ‘The Old Fabled River’, Alasdair Roberts og Völvur meld their worlds: fiddle and vocal styles formed in the Norwegian valleys blending now with exploratory clarinet, saxophone and metallic bowed guitar drones, now fashioned into baroque folk arrangements. In one case, instrumental accompaniment is laid aside, as three voices locate a questing fullness harmonizing together