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Shine Dion: Wyn

Go to Norway. Take liberal doses of the following ingredients: Loreena McKennitt's sultry, melodic voice, and her celtic sounds. The boyfriend / girlfriend chemistry of Blackmore's Night. Heck, take their renaissance throwback sounds as well. A Mike-Oldfield conglomeration of off-centered instruments and his Irish ditties, and even a few licks of an Oldfield-cloned electric guitar. Blend carefully and – presto – you have Shine Dion.

Perhaps this cynical introduction sounds like a criticism. It is in fact a huge compliment!

Shine Dión is a Norwegian duo that comprising Janne Hansen (vocals and lyrics) and Per Selör (composer and guitars). By their own account, the music is a blend between Norwegian and Irish folk tunes, with hints of progressive. A Wyn (or "wunjo") is the old English sign of the rune for harmony or joy. It looks like a pointy "p", and symbolizes love and all things good, and is sometimes called the "Happiness Rune". Shine Dion named their album for the rune.

This Wyn is Celtic / English-Renaissance / Nordic folk rock, played in gentle minor keys, delicately composed and spread across a great range of instruments played by a dozen guest artists. The exotica include mellotron, cello, flute, oboe, and jew's harp. (Really, a jew's harp! But it's way in the background.) There's even a French-styled accordion in there. (No, really, an accordion!)

As eclectic as this all sounds, remember that Per Selör is a fine musician. The music is essentially uncomplicated, and each instrument is introduced masterfully, it plays its role perfectly, and withdraws without fuss – leaving wide open spaces for Janne Hansen's beautiful vocals. Her delivery is clear and there is hardly any discernable accent.

The lyrics are simple and sprinkled with references to the Nordic landscape and magic and dreams and the moon and stars and such. A bit mystical, somewhat esoteric, perhaps a little clicheic. Janne is credited with the lyrics, and the woman's touch is clearly evident.

There is very little innovation here, but production, execution and composition are of a very high quality, and the music is simply beautiful.

This kick-your-heels-up and watch the sunset music. And you know what's cool? You can play this for your wife / girlfriend, and she'll think you've finally developed great taste in music. And maybe you have.

Jeez – did I just listen to music with an accordion?

Added: August 23rd 2003
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: Shine Dion Website
Hits: 3836
Language: english

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