IIt was an exquisite pleasure to attend the Friday evening concert at Kulturhus Gimle with the Danish world music group World On A String.
The four musicians in World On A String works with their material, like in the jazz style known as bebop. The musicians are equilibrists, and when the theme of the songs is played through there is plenty of room left to unfold their subtle improvisations, either as soloists or in joint efforts. The band is an excellent ensemble, and the musicians read each other almost telepathically when performing the challenging and well executed rhythm- tempo- and style shifts.
… It’s beautiful, it’s lyrical, it varies from light delicate meditation to thundering crescendo in the musical realm of World On A String.
One felt like being transported to distant exotic places by their musical soundscapes, which formed pictures in one’s inner mind. A treat for winter-weary Nordic souls…
Føllenslevs Folkeblad by Stefan Andreasen
WORLD ON A STRING – Concert at Flensburger Hofkultur, February 2010
World on a String. Danish Central library, Flensborg/Germany, Thursday evening (12 August 2010). Arranger: Flensburger Hofkultur.
”…the music is a real pleasure to listen to, and Flensburger Hofkultur really struck their luck by engaging World On A String.
We got ”cross-over” music of a very high level, exceptional well played, lively and with a great contact to its audience, in spite of the language barriers, which just created a welcoming smile.
It aroused a lot a amusement when Bjarke, in German, told the audience about when the band once – a first to their astonishment – found themselves as the headliner at a Chinese hard rock/grunge festival, but as it turned out – was received by great excitement from the 25.000 people in the audience.
When they finished the concert of with an encore, the extraordinary beautiful song ”Chinese Tea”, we were left with no doubt: World On A String scored top marks at the Central library.
Thomas J. Wiltrup
WORLD ON A STRING | CD’s reviewed on the German website Jazz Dimensions
WORLD ON A STRING – Second Outlet | Roots Zone, September 2009.
Technical and musical acoustic folk-jazz-world music based on improvisations without boundaries
One has introduced the widely broad concept “World-Music” in order to cover the large and exotic world of ethnic music outside our own narrow cultural circle – in other words all music that doesn’t have its origin in either North and Central Europe or North America. One could call it regional music from the whole world. On the other hand we have the kind of music, which doesn’t belong to neither. The latter isn’t rooted in a concrete culture, but picks up its inspiration from hither and thither. In this case the performers are not bound by norms and conventions, and can therefore freely unfold their musical desires as they please. This is the realm that the Danish quartet – World On A String – belongs to.
The musicians; John Sund on acoustic guitar, Bjarke Falgren on violin, Morten Lundsby on bass and Ole Theill on tabla did already have their debut-CD out in 2004, but this reviewer shall honestly admit that he wasn’t aware of that at the time. That mistake has since been corrected, and now their follow-up “Second Outlet” is securely placed in my CD-drive.
So what do we have here? Well, this is fore and most extensive improvisation without boundaries. Secondly we are provided with impressive technical skills combined with great musicality. The first is unfortunately not always combined with the latter, but here we have no unsteadiness or other bad habits. This type of music requires great sensitivity and empathy of its performers in order to reach such a high level of ensemble playing; the actual state where 2 plus 2 becomes more than 4 and one must say that World On A String achieves this to the highest degree. Although there is plenty of space for all four musicians to be featured as soloists, the organic context and interplay is maintained throughout.
In one spot you seem to be able to recognize the opening harmonies of the soul classic “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, but otherwise it seems difficult to determine the ethnic sources of inspiration for this highly listenable music. Jazz lovers will probably feel at home with many of the musical passages, but what one chooses to do makes no difference whatsoever. Here one can pick up musical impressions and experiences out of the ordinary and it is marvellous. Pay attention to these four guys, ladies and gentlemen!
By Niels Thorlund
WORLD ON A STRING – Second Outlet | Jazz Nyt, September 2009.
World On A String’s repertoire is an embroidery of many musical genres. Balkan, Irish folklore, sounds and rhythms from the east mixed with among other jazz and Nordic folklore.
In 2005 they were nominated with an award for “Best Cross-over CD” and rarely has the term “cross-over” been more relevant.
The quartet consists of Bjarke Falgren on violin, John Sund on guitar, Ole Theill on tabla and Morten Lundsby on bass, and these experienced gentlemen creates the musical fundament with their own compositions that breathes like living organic entities – in a way one wouldn’t think possible.
By Niels Overgaard
WORLD ON A STRING – Debut CD review | Jazz Special
“…Bjarke Falgren’s MIDI violin, which occasionally sounds alike the synthesizer-guitar of Pat Metheny, and John Sund’s fantastic guitar playing, greatly compliment each other, both in sound and expression (Sund is unreasonable underrated and I am always anticipating hearing more from him). Ole Theill’s energetic tabla playing, combined with Morten Lundsby’s weighty and constantly supporting double bass, complete this quartet, whose ensemble playing and unified expression is of the finest quality…”
“…This is meaningful and honest art, especially because the band-members are incredibly respectful and appear as a unit. They have to the greatest extent “found each other” and together they raise the music to a higher level, which as I hear it, reaches far beyond the actual notes and melodies, we hear. Exactly therefore, World On A String will hold up to repeated listening.”
By Peter Rahbek | Jazz Special, August 2004.
WORLD ON A STRING – Debut CD review | Jazzlife, 2004
This Danish group delivers a lively world-music with echoes from India, Balkan and Ireland, but we are also hearing traces of jazz-music. All this is combined into an exiting mix of warm improvisational music.
Bjarke Falgren is playing with a blues feeling and he uses his elegant technique without showing of. His collaboration with John Sund is very explosive. One will find an aesthetic and meditative quality within the music of this group, which is underlined by the special sound of the Indian tabla-drums. Inborn is a senseless swinging piece, where all small sounds vibrate with the power of a tempest.
This quartet performs with an open “free flow” and the joy of playing is constantly present.
The music on this CD is an adventure for the listener beyond the average.
By Torsten Eckerman
WORLD ON A STRING – Debut CD review 2004
TOP OF WORLD” – WOAS received a 5 star review in the Danish magazine ”Djembe”
The line up with three string-instruments and tabla-drum sets the scene for a smooth and attractive sound – and this is exactly what you get. But on top of that, you also get 70 minutes of inventive and elegant musicianship for the same buck.
World On A String consists of four musicians – who with their original European jazz-roots – explore the possibilities found in the music from such different countries as Balkan, India and Ireland. The group-members are John Sund on guitars, Bjarke Falgren on midi-violin and viola, Morten Lundsby on double bas and Ole Theill on the Indian tabla-drums.
This is a group of musicians who really master their instruments, and Lundsby and Theill are accompanying so tight and effortlessly, that one – mistakenly – almost takes them for granted. And then we have the two bandleaders, John Sund and Bjarke Falgren, who delivers that, which most noticeable characterizes ‘WOAS’: A continuous reflective playing, searching and fearless improvisation, now and then slowly and meditative, but most of the time with a strong rhythmic drive, which always keeps the excitement – and interest – captured.