Vikings on Vacation
Bisma Bosma Records BBR002
Self-described Arctic fusion band Ensemble Polaris takes a well deserved sonic break from its usual Northern Exposure with “Vikings on Vacation”. As the hilarious cover art so aptly displays, the dour Viking horsemen are melting on the beach. And while they may not be headed Due South - superb renditions of Swedish folk material are still a main focus - the choice of tracks by such non northern stars as Nino Rota and local Torontonians conjure up more of an international musical pastiche.
Band member Kirk Elliott contributes Cod’s Anatomy, a five part suite of short melodies written after a trip to sunny Newfoundland. Many styles are visited here with the Reel from Doran House a toe tapping joie de vivre. Guest composer Andrew Downing’s You Lovely Island is outstanding. Inspired by some melodies from West Side Story’s America, the piece allows the ensemble a chance to prove that they are more than just another folk music band. This is Leonard Bernstein on the rocks with its lilting melodies and rhythm. Member Debashis Sinha’s Emil Goes to Market is a world music piece originally written for Maza Mezé given in a joyful Polaris rendition.
Our musical vacationers are more laid back in their performances this time. The group plays with care, precision and creativity. However, considering the skills and musicality of the players, more spontaneous improvisation would have been a welcome addition.
“Vikings on Vacation” is great music to enjoy whether you are travelling the world or just taking a short holiday on the veranda.
Concert note: Ensemble Polaris celebrates the release of “Vikings on Vacation” in concert at the Music Gallery/Church of Saint George the Martyr on Friday October 16.