Rosenberg 7, Boot | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Rosenberg 7, Boot 

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ROSENBERG 7, BOOT

One of the most compelling things about Sweden's folk revival is that no two groups seem to come at the music from the same angle: the scene encompasses everything from Frifot's traditionalism to Garmarna's energetic folk rock to Groupa's globe-spanning fusion. On their U.S. debut, R7 (NorthSide), the Rosenberg 7 add yet another wrinkle, pairing four female vocalists with a driving string trio. At times Susanne Rosenberg, Ulrika Boden, Sofia Sanden, and Eva Astrom-Rune bring to mind the sweeping polyphonic singing of their Finnish labelmates Varttina, but they also fall into sweet unison passages and showcase the Swedish kulning tradition--an arresting combination of piercing cries and ethereal swirls derived from a cattle-calling technique. The fiddle, viola, and cello alternately propel the music with ferocious rhythms and sculpt sustained otherworldly drones, which sometimes contrast with and sometimes blend with the vocals. The songs range from poetic ruminations to dark, racy folktales: in "Balladen om Liten Karin," a young girl refuses to marry a king, who punishes her by putting her in a barrel filled with spikes and rolling it around until she dies. Monday, 7 PM, Preston Bradley Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; 312-744-6630. As part of the same presentation, the Swedish trio Boot, an instrumental group whose repertoire comprises traditional waltzes and polskas, will perform at 8:15 PM in the Cultural Center's Claudia Cassidy Theater. Percussionist Bjorn Tollin, fiddler Ola Backstrom, and lutenist Hallbus Totte Mattsson churn out a hypnotic, passionate, rhythmically complex din that here and there evokes flamenco or Arabic music. Here they'll accompany three whirling dancers with "Virvla," a piece from their recent enhanced CD of the same title.

PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Susann Sanstrom.

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