Frifot: Frifot

Manfred Eicher has been very good to the cause of Norwegian music, and vice versa. Eicher’s ECM label has documented much of the wonderful and sometimes enigmatic creative efforts emanating from the land of the fjords, not only from the jazz end of the spectrum but also including some of its hoary folk traditions. The group calling itself Frifot (ECM 1690; 65:12), with multi-instrumentalists Per Gudmundson, Ale Moller, and Lena Willemark, a fine fiddler and also the lead singer, takes great care to bring to life-and also personalize-traditional tunes from Norwegian villages (it’s a country rife with small towns, and few enclaves big enough to be called cities). It’s an indispensable addition to the slowly growing body of traditional Norwegian folk treatments available to the outside world.