It’s a testament to the lyrical quality of the Frisian language, and the immense talent of Nynke herself

Source: Sonic Shocks

Nynke offers up a strange and wholly original bastardisation of styles on Alter, adopting elements of flamenco to her beautiful Frisian vocals. Her use of language allows her voice to become more of an instrument than anything else on offer here, with the Frisian language sounding as if it was made for lyricism, rolling gently over the guitar work as a melody.

Not satisfied with what is an excellent niche, Nynke has worked diligently with Spanish producer/guitarist Javier Limón to create a body of work that, regardless of language barriers, takes you on a journey through genres and emotions.

Several themes flitter across the album though the most predominant is the idea of transformation and nature and this is projected through the music; building and changing, ending on completely different tones to how each has started and yet always feeling like a natural progression. It’s as if the whole album was improvised on the spot, with each collaborator doing what felt right.

There are purposeful moments of poetry dotted throughout; from the opening track Foarjiersfers, which Nynke adapted from a Rutger Kopland poem, to Eftereach, which she worked on with Frisian poet/performer Tsjêbbe Hettinga. Hettinga’s work on the track is celebrated by including his deep spoken word to clash and compliment the ever-growing vocals of Nynke.

It’s a testament to the lyrical quality of the Frisian language, and the immense talent of Nynke herself, that what could have become an oblique and difficult album is something much more uplifting, almost transcending the medium with its beautiful storytelling. Too few musicians work towards anything more than their own catharsis; Nynke not only explores herself but reveals a whole culture, creating gorgeous, important albums.

Matthew Tilt