NORWEGIAN multi-instrumental string player Kyrre Slind’s new CD ‘Open Airs’ breathes with the same freshness from which it takes its inspiration, namely the landscapes and peoples of Scotland and Ireland as well as those of his native country. To mark its launch, local residents were treated to a concert at Carlops Church last Sunday afternoon in which he was joined by local guitarst Rob MacNeacail.

Unlike much folk music based on a single tradition, Kyrre’s musical influences are many, drawing inspiration not only from his background in classical guitar but also Indian raga (he is a highly accomplished sitar player), 60s baroque folk idioms as well as dance music from South-East Europe and it is this blending of styles which lends his compositions their unique character.

His recent extended stay in Ireland was very much apparent in the haunting ‘Braien’s Melody’ as well as ‘Remembering’ while ‘Leksa’, depicting a paradise island in Norway, clearly betrayed the influence of Elizabethan lute music. In marked contrast, the rhythmic energy of ‘Sandra’s Melody’ brought to mind virtuoso Indian ‘tabla’ playing, so distant from the open strings used to form the basis of ‘Borders’, Kyrre’s tribute to the area of Scotland with which he has fallen in love and where he now chooses to reside.

Rounding off the programme, ‘Under Water’ left the audience hypnotised by its long glissando phrases on MacNeacail’s 6-string fretless bass, blending beautifully with the guitar’s pulsating ‘habanera’ rhythm.

The sense of being present at a very special occasion was palpable, despite the modest surroundings, such was the quality of music-making on offer. An artist with a truly individual voice, it is hoped that Kyrre will return to perform again for us in the very near future.

Brian Davidson