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

Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Rosenberg 7, Boot


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe



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.


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

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →