Canadian musician Karl Sanden has been living all his life surrounded by music. With a background in classic music and piano, over time he learned to love and play several folk instruments, including the accordion and the mandolin. The result is the blossoming of a really original compositional style, somewhere in between the familiar feel of folk music and the solemnity of classic compositions.
His debut album Not There Yet is a really good snapshot of Sanden’s vision and ideas in music. This composer is no musical snob. Refusing to stick to expectations he is able to blend simple songs with composition with an uncanny ease and comfort. This record features covers of traditionals and pieces from the songbooks of artists as diverse as Eddie Vedder, Frederic Chopin, Yann Tiersen and Handel. This goes to show that Sanden relies on a really vast musical background and that he definitely approaches it all with a really open mind. "Rise,” originally an Eddie Vedder song featured on the Sean Penn movie Into the Wild is quite faithful to the original version, with the addition of the accordion. But the best part comes when Sanden radically re-interprets the songs in his own style. Hearing Chopin's Nocturne or Handel's Lascia Ch'Io Pianga on an accordion makes for a really cool contrast. An instrument like the accordion has always been associated with a radically different environment than that of classical music. Although quite hard to play and master for many, it's easy to picture the former instrument within humble, popular settings, while the immediate mental image associated with classical music is a stunning, spotless concert hall. Karl Sanden's renditions are a really good (and a successful) attempt at bringing the best of both worlds together. It is a promising and refreshing approach that really makes me curious to hear some original material!
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