Various Wizard Women of the North

Most of this anthology authentically recreates ancient traditions, from a cappella herding calls and lullabies to ballads and instrumental duos. All of the performances are excellent and many are vividly evocative. Tone Hulbaekmo, Annbjorg Lien, Kirsten Braten Berg and Hege Rimestad add a contemporary New Age approach to their performances, adding variety to a program that otherwise might sound like an austere museum piece. Certainly Annbjorg Lien’s “Phoenix” reflects contemporary spirits like Sinead O’Connor and Loreena McKennitt in its mix of harp, violin and conga drums, but the overall emphasis of this superb collection is on the timeless rather than the trappings of the present. A good place to begin a roots collection of women’s music. (Northside)