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Adolf gorhand Goriup of FolkWorld Germany

reviews Gleowien by Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer

Gleowien is a Middle English word meaning to make music and merry. I don’t know if the two British musicians are actually married, but they definitely make great music together. Vicki Swan is a second generation piper following her father’s footsteps and plays wooden flute and nyckelharpa while composer and award winning guitar player Jonny Dyer also adds the accordion and the Swedish cittra to the line-up. Together with guest musicians Mark Southgate (bass), Pete Flood (percussion) and Roy Jones (bodhràn) the duo recorded ten self-penned songs and tunes as well as two traditional tracks.

They start off with the title track, an instrumental set by Dyer, and the playing together of accordion and pipes. A fine romantic air is followed by two dance tunes rhythmically supported by bass and percussion. Both musicians have beautiful voices and the five songs are perfect showcases to prove it. Dyer wrote “William” inspired by an old child ballad. His lead vocals as well as Swan’s harmony vocals are hauntingly beautiful and the accompaniment by guitar, bass and nyckelharpa match perfectly to the old time style song. Swan who speaks Swedish fluently composed the melancholic tune “Asavägen” in the typical Swedish style and they bring it forward with nyckelharpa, accordion and cittra. She also brought to music a poem by her great great grandfather Robert M. Swan, “The ‘dood’ Night Kiss”, and the result is a wonderful lullaby with Swan’s superb singing. A majority of the songs and tunes are rather melodic, but then they also play intoxicating dance sets and catchy rhythms. Dyer’s “Time out” is a remarkable set with modern grooves played on bass, guitar and percussion and Swan’s terrific piping makes it to my favourite track. A waltz in Swedish style by Swan and Dyer, “Fikavalsen”, and a Swedish traditional song, “The Roses three”, follow behind and bring the listener back into a melancholic mood before Swan gets back to her Scottish Small pipes to play another self-crafted set with a beautiful slow air and a great ceilidh tune. To close up the album Swan plays three traditional pipe tunes rhythmically driven by Dyer’s terrific guitar playing.

With their forth album Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer install themselves on top of the British folk scene. They are brilliant musicians, gifted singers and exquisite composers and their mix of Swedish and English style music distinguishes them from the mass of traditional musicians.