The four-member group Vasen has been called "Sweden's Primier Acoustic Quartet." I don't quite know who first said that, but whoever it was was on the money -- RE: the implication that they are a great band in the realm of "acoustica." Ostensibly, they are a "traditional Swedish folk" band, but - like fellow travellers David Grisman, Darol Anger, et. al. - there's a lot of jazz informing their sound. I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that Vasen are a jazz group passing themselves off as a folk band. The instrumentation is guitar, Scandinavian harps, fiddle/viola & vibes/percussion, and the performances are impeccable - but not so's it dampens the evocative, timeless feeling at the heart of this music.
Imagine if Ralph Towner's Solstice group had a tad more warmth, a little looser and had Celtic overtones, they might sound like Vasen. Like fellow Scandinavian Sibelius (and certain Scandinavian jazz players on the ECM roster), Vasen impart the stark, near-the-roof-of-the-world chilly climate of the land and the austere warmth of its people. Oh yes, and I'm certain that the late violin giant Stephane Grappelli smiles down upon Vasen's Mikael Marin (that's him, just iver MM's shoulder)...and Billy Bang, David Grisman and/or Arild Andersen could sit-in with these fellows tomorrow. Fine stuff.