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Suggested Albums: Olov Johansson & Catriona McKay – “Foogy”- by Lori Gordon

h Harp & Swedish Nyckelharpa -Olov Johansson & Catriona McKay – “Foogy”- by Lori Gordon

All rights reserved by the author. This review is posted under her kind permission (previously published at Folking.com)

Olov Johansson and Catriona McKay have teamed up to create an album that is big, bold and bursting with amazing sound. Johansson’s nyckelharpa and McKay’s scottish harp complement each other perfectly on this thirteen-track collection of primarily original compositions. Fresh, inventive arrangements give both artists the opportunity to show the full character of their instruments.

Though I was impressed with the wonderful melody lines, I was more impressed by the supporting roles each was able to play. It is here that the full range of the instruments can truly be appreciated, from soulful droning to bold, percussive rhythms. Whether playing lead or support, McKay and Johansson’s mastery never lets the listener forget that there are two instruments present.

The opening track “1st Class to Glasgow” is delightfully upbeat and gives a good taste of the overall feel of Foogy. Both artists excel on rapid-fire runs and there are plenty found throughout, especially on “Rain/Ekoln,” “In The Castle,” and “The Foogy Set.” Equally capable at the other end of the spectrum, McKay and Johansson deliver an achingly beautiful performance on “The Harper’s Dismissal.”

Foogy is exciting, contemporary and a definite breath of fresh air. I sincerely hope Johansson and McKay continue to collaborate on future projects.

A Brief Quotation from their site

Catriona & Olov met for the first time in Stockholm 2002 at a concert they shared with their bands, Väsen from Sweden and Shetland based Fiddlers’ Bid. Backstage before the concert Catriona asked Olov “Do you know this one?” and played Eric Sahlström’s Spelmansglädje, the most played Nyckelharpa tune ever!

They both really enjoyed the sound and the music they made together that afternoon and that created a desire to further develop the collaboration. The next opportunity to play was at the Celtic Connections 2007 concert Fiddlers’ Bid International and since then they have met regularly. After a very fun tour of Sweden in the summer of 2008 they decided to make a cd.

‘FOOGY’ is a recording of traditional and new music from Scotland and Sweden by Catriona McKay and Olov Johansson. It presents their way of making music and explores the stunning sound of Scottish Harp and Swedish Nyckelharpa.

For more information www.catrionamckay.co.uk / www.olovjohansson.se

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