Alix Cordray and the Norwegian Music and Dance Group
Come to the Bay Area this Summer
Springar'n, a music and dance group from the Follo district south of Oslo (on the eastern side of Oslo fjord), will be coming to the Bay Area in late July and early August as part of their United States tour. The group was founded in 1978 during a time of reviving interest in Norwegian traditional music, dance, and culture. In the early years, Springar'n had over 100 members. Its current membership stands at 60-70. About 24 will be along for this summer's tour. The tour will be led by Alix Cordray, an American that has been living in Oslo for over ten years. Alix has been very active in promoting Norwegian music and dance in the Oslo area. She has also made many trips back to the United States where she has taught at numerous workshops.
Springar'n aims to stimulate interest in and the use of four main types of traditional Norwegian dance: gammeldans (old-time dance such as the waltz, reinlender, masurka, and polka), bygdedanser (dances of the 1600s such as springar, gangar, rudl, pols, and halling), rekkedanser (longways dances) and tur- og sangdanser (figure dances and song dances). They also aim to promote interest in traditional folk music and bunads or folk costumes. The group fulfills its purpose through performances, courses, and by spreading information about old music and dance traditions.
The group meets once a week, on Wednesdays, for instruction and practice. There are two different activities: gammeldans evenings attract a larger group and are more social. Typically, new members begin with the gammeldans evenings. As they become more accomplished, they may develop an interest in expanding their horizons by attending the turdans evenings and various festivals or courses.
The group has nurtured international contact with other groups, particularly in Scandinavia. They have had exchanges with groups in Sweden and Denmark, and have also visited Holland.
Many social events are sponsored by the group or its members. There are Christmas parties, a weekend trip to the mountains each autumn, anniversary parties, New Year's parties, and so on. The group has been very stable over a long period of time, so the members know each other well. The group performs regularly: for the May 17 celebrations (Independence Day) and various other cultural events in the Follo district. During the summer they have many performances for tourists which are often arranged by local hotels.
During their stop in the Bay Area, Springar'n will be featured at a number of events. On July 31, they will be hosted by the East Bay Scandiadans group at a special Friday evening party at the Oakland Nature Friends Lodge, 3115 Butters Drive off of Joaquin Miller Drive in northern Oakland. A pot luck dinner at 6 PM will be followed by a short teaching session and then a dance party until 10 PM. Those interested in attending should contact Jane Tripi at (510) 654-3636 in order to coordinate the food for the pot luck.
Saturday, August 1, Springar'n will teach an afternoon workshop 1:30-5:00 PM at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 600 Colorado Avenue in Palo Alto. A pot luck dinner will be followed by a short performance by Springar'n and then dancing for the rest of the evening. The workshop and evening event is being sponsored by the Nordahl Grieg Leikarring For information and to coordinate the pot luck, contact Betsy McKone at (650) 368-8006.
On Sunday, August 2, there are tentative plans for an event where Springar'n can share some of their dances and also learn some American dancing (Jeanne and Henry Sawyer may teach clogging). For an update on this event, also contact Betsy McKone.
The weekend of August 7-9, Springar'n will be featured at the annual Norwegian Stemne at Camp Brotherhood north of Seattle. Consult the Calendar section for details.
Lindsborg Kansas Folk Dancers in Santa Cruz on Saturday June 13
The Lindsborg Kansas Folk Dancers will be performing during the midsummer celebrations at the Santa Cruz Scandinavian Cultural Center's Viking Hall on Saturday, June 13. The program, which begins about 3:30 p.m., includes the performance and dancing for all ages. In the evening there will be a smorgasbord served. Reservations are necessary for the dinner. The program cost for non-members is $7 and $15 with the dinner. For more information, contact Barbara Olsen at (408) 438-4307.
by Jim Little and Linda Persson
In the summer of 1997, as part of a trip to Sweden, Linda and I attended Föllingeveckan, which consists of courses in dances from Föllinge, music from the Föllinge region and kaukning (cow calling). The courses began on Monday morning, June 23, and ended at noon on Saturday, June 28, except for the kaukning, which ended Wednesday evening with an outdoor recital.
Föllinge is a small town about an hour's drive northwest of Östersund, the provincial capital of Jämtland-Härjedalen. The courses themselves took place in Tunbacken, the hembygdsgård (open air museum), which is on top of a hill overlooking miles of forests and lakes.
Meals and lodging were arranged separately from the courses. Participants had various options for places to stay during the course: Hotel Norrgård, about 5 minutes walk down the hill from Tunbacken; Hälsoinvest, a health resort about a kilometer away; or a pension in town, also a kilometer or so away. Some made other housing arrangements or camped out. Most people opted to have at least some meals at Hotel Norrgård. We chose to stay and to eat at the hotel, which is run by a charming young couple with two cute kids and an adorable Bernese mountain dog. They are committed to inn keeping - he is the cook/handyman and she the hostess/bookkeeper.
All of the teaching took place at Tunbacken. The dance classes were in a rather new dance hall which was a wonderful place to pass the whole day and half the night. The American window screen had made inroads there -- 4 of the 8 windows (or was it 6) could be opened for air circulation without letting in the mosquitoes. The regulars said that one or two new screens seemed to appear every year. The music classes were held in two other older buildings. One of them, which is called Spelmansgården, had been the home of the Olssons, a local family of fiddlers. In the early 1950's, their house was moved to Tunbacken from Slätten, a village in Föllinge parish. Three of the children in the family were fiddlers who had learned tunes from Pål Nilsson and Gammal-Pål Larsa, two students of the legendary fiddler Lapp-Nils. It was rather awe inspiring to be learning tunes in the same house where fiddlers Olof Olsson, Daniel Olsson and Göran Olsson Föllinger had been born and raised. The other locale for music classes was the baking house just across the way. Once during the week we were able to sample and buy the tunnbröd (thin bread) made there.
The participants in the courses were mostly Swedes. In 1997 there were also 3 from the United States (including us), 1 from Germany, 2 from Denmark and 1 from Holland. The verbal teaching was in Swedish with occasional English if the foreigners looked puzzled enough (which seemed to include the Danes). Most of the Swedes spoke English (at least better than our Swedish) and were willing to translate on the side, which came in handy during the announcements. At no time did we feel completely out of our depth linguistically.
We had met most of the teachers before. Dance teachers Ernst Grip and Berit Bertilsdotter had taught at the 1995 San Francisco Bay Area Scandia Festival in San Leandro and at the 1995 Southern California Scandia Festival at Julian. Fiddlers Ulf and Mats Andersson, who are also the organizers of Föllingeveckan, have been to the United States for a number of different workshops, both with Ernst and Berit and with Inger and Göran Karlholm. Fiddlers Anders and Agneta Hällström had been to the 1989 Julian workshop with dance teachers Bengt and Elisabet Martinsson. It was very nice to meet all of them on their home ground. The fifth fiddle teacher, Anders Wedlund, whom we had not met before, was to have lead the durspel (two row button accordion) course. However, not enough students signed up so he taught fiddle instead. It seems that he plays many instruments. We saw him later at a spelmansstämma playing string bass.
The schedule of a usual day was: breakfast at 8, class from 9-10:30, coffee break and refreshments 10:30-11, class 11-12:30, lunch 12:30-2, review 2-3, class 3-4:30, dinner 5:30, and then the evenings activities.
The evening activities were varied. On Monday and Thursday evenings there was a dance. Early in the evening, the teachers played. Later, the students played whatever enough knew in common to keep the party going. At the dances, as everywhere else, the initial awkwardness and self consciousness quickly gave way to sharing of dance and music.
On Tuesday evening many of us went in to Östersund for a large folk music performance at Gamla Teatern, a music hall/opera house built in the late 1800's which is now being operated as a music hall and hotel. There we heard performances by groups from many parts of Jämtland and Härjedalen, and of course, Ulf, Mats, Anders, Agneta, and Anders. Wednesday evening began with the closing activities of the kaukning course. The class members were scattered about the hembygdsgård and did the calls they had learned back and forth, with occasional clanking of cow and goat bells. The setting really was magical. The evening continued with a small spelmanstämma, with music groups from the surrounding region and from Östersund. Friday evening was the "graduation ceremony." The music students played the tunes they had learned and accompanied the dancers as they showed the dances they had learned.
There were three fiddle classes and one "special" class, chosen by Ulf, who did not say how he had made the division. In my class there were 6 fiddlers, a recorder player, and a mandola player. I was surprised at how well the non-fiddlers fit in with the class.
The teaching style of all the music teachers was "I'll play this section of the tune through some times and then you join in when you can." After it seemed that everyone more or less had learned the tune, it was picked apart as necessary. Most of this went on in Swedish, which I understand to some extent, but, if I was really puzzled, it was OK to ask for an explanation in English. The teachers rotated among the classes, so that we had three teachers each day. Ulf and Mats taught from the same list of Föllinge tunes. Anders Hällström, who is from Kalix, up near the Finnish border, taught tunes with a heavy Finnish influence. Agneta Hällström, who is originally from Medelpad, taught Medelpad tunes. Anders Wedlund taught a different set of Föllinge tunes. At first it seemed that we were only going to see each tune once during the week, but as the week went on the tunes started to repeat and we worked on them more and more. One memorable morning Ulf had to take his son to the doctor during the time that he was scheduled to play for dancing. Mats was to teach our class at that time, so he asked if we would like to come play for the dance class with him. We did. What a way to pound the tunes into our heads! During the week, the music students also had a session during which we got to learn some of the dances.
One of the dancers heard that Linda and I were interested in wildflowers and offered to show us a place near Föllinge where many kinds of orchids grow. Of course we accepted and took a quick ride after lunch to see them. Just off a side road 10 yards into the woods there was a board walk through a boggy area (a local nature reserve) where we saw seven kinds of orchids identified, some large enough to stand up and look at and others that required getting down on hands and knees to really see well. The orchids were a delight to see and it was very kind of our Swedish guide to show them to us.
One day a crew from Jämtland television in Östersund came to camp. They wandered about Tunbacken, interviewing the teachers and visiting the classes. They were very interested in the foreigners who came to learn the "old" dances and music. I had the experience of trying to keep my mind on my playing in the fiddle class while having a TV camera in my face and later seeing myself on Jämtland TV for about 10 seconds. Strange feeling.
On Thursday, all of the music classes spent the day at a working summer farm about an hour's drive north of Föllinge. During the morning we played in some cabins up the hill from the cafe/cheese factory. As we were walking across the meadow to get to the cabins, we looked back to see the goats following us up the hill. Pied Piper any one? After our classes we met back by the cafe to play together and to have lunch. After that we were on our own. I tried playing säckpipa with some of the fiddlers and after that, we stood about doing the do you know this tune thing. Surprisingly, I did have a number of Jämtland tunes in common with the others. In the afternoon, many of the dancers came up to the summer farm, some to visit the farm, some to go hiking up a nearby mountain. Since we had left our car in Föllinge and car pooled, it was as Linda said "a little bit out of my depth because I haven't done the car ride shuffle in years and there was a ghastly fear of being left out there in the rain, overnight ...." But everything worked out OK and we both got a ride back to town in time for dinner.
So that's a sampling of our memories of Föllingeveckan 1997. We had a very good time and met a lot of very nice people. We would recommend the week to anyone interested in Swedish folk music and dance who would like to go. We know they would be very welcome.
Mats and Ulf Andersson and Berit Bertilsdotter will all be teaching at the Mendocino Scandinavian Camp this summer. For those of you who are interested in the course in Föllinge, their web site can be reached at:
My Year in Valdres
by Sarah Kirton
This last year I had the wonderful opportunity to fulfill a long-time dream I spent a year living in Valdres studying hardingfele. I lived about 15 minutes' drive northwest of Fagernes, the major town in Valdres. This beautiful area has many lakes and fresh-water fjords, and is a big tourist destination for western Europe in both summer and winter.
I left the US on Fri., Sept. 13th, 1996 and returned Fri., Oct. 31st, 1997. Despite these rather inauspicious travel dates, I had a wonderful time. I'd arranged to study with Olav Jørgen Hegge, who lives at Heggenes in Øystre Slidre, and was fortunate in renting a basement apartment from Edith and Dagfinn Kvale. (Rev. Kvale is the pastor of the Norwegian Seamen's Church in San Francisco.) I lived just north of Røn, in Vestre Slidre, across the ridge from Olav Jørgen. After I arrived I managed to arrange lessons with Harald Røine. I felt very lucky in both housing and teachers. I'll tell you more about the 1st half of my stay (fall and winter) in a future issue; right now I'll cover the spring and summer.
By early March I'd begun to consider it normal to wear 4 pairs of socks. A very thin pair next to my skin, then cotton anklets, next heavy cotton/wool socks, and finally heavy wool boot socks. This both helped my too-big boots fit and insulated my poor tootsies against the basement floor of my apartment (as well as the basement floor of the Valdres Folk Museum, where I spent a lot of my time). Norwegians take their shoes off inside, and while most of them had a pair of indoor shoes they kept at work, I didn't have that many shoes with me. I was looking forward to wearing fewer socks, believe me! It had begun to be a bit warmer, in the 20's (F) instead of between -20 and +10, and while there was plenty of snow left, it often felt positively balmy outside. This time of year is called vårvinter (spring-winter), a perfect description. Valdres is a popular ski area for Europeans as well as Norwegians, and the roads were filled with tourist cars carrying skis.
Easter (in late March in '97) is a major ski holiday. Schools and some businesses have at least a week off. Everyone visits family, or goes skiing, or enjoys a week at the family summer cabin or a campground. Easter is also a time for mystery and crime fiction. There are TV mystery or suspense shows almost every night, serialized mysteries in newspapers and magazines, and even a children's mystery printed on milk cartons. I asked about this tradition, but no one I talked to knew how it had arisen. Last Easter, Fagernes hosted a small plane convention. All the planes were equipped with skis, and landed on the frozen (but quickly thawing) fjord. A week or so after Easter, the ice on the fjords began to break up. This was an early spring by Norwegian standards.
March was also time for the local kappleik. One Saturday in mid-March we spent a lazy day listening to others, being nervous, and taking our turn on stage. The whole thing was a rather low key affair, with local judges and mostly local participants. Many of the participants were children and teenagers. I played, not as well as I would have liked, but OK, and received a score in the middle of the class B point range - about where I figure I belong. I also played with the Vårflaumen spelemannslag. I belonged to the Øystre Slidre Spel- og Dansarlag, who didn't participate, and since Vårflaumen needed some extra hands, and I knew the tunes they'd chosen, I helped fill in. The evening party was the best part. After the awarding of points and prizes, we sat and gossiped and danced and were by turns amused or pleasantly bored until the wee hours.
I'd been terribly lonely in Norway, mostly due to the problem of understanding Norwegian spoken against a background of other conversations. Most of my interaction with others was in groups, so although I arrived there able to carry on reasonable (although not exactly fluent) conversations as long as I could hear clearly, I felt quite isolated much of the time. I think this party really marked a turning point for me. I found I could understand and participate in the conversations at my table without too much trouble, and for the first time, I was able to talk with people I'd just met without straining either my ears or my brain cells too much. This is not as strange as it might sound, since many of the people I met had different dialects. There are six komunes in Valdres, and I had regular contact with people from 4 of them. I'd only been there a couple of months when I realized I could tell where someone had grown up by the way they talked. These differences include tonefall (the way one's voice varies in pitch), pronunciation (different vowels, but also sometimes consonants or even whole syllables deleted - (or added!), and grammar differences. What I first noticed was the tonefall and speech rhythms. Besides the different Valdres dialects, there were also people who spoke Bokmål, which can vary depending upon where they are from. I also met people who had moved from the west coast and used those dialects or a spoken version of Nynorsk. There were also people who spoke Bokmål or Nynorsk with me, but spoke dialect with everyone else. This meant that having a private conversion with someone was quite different from listening to the same person talking in a group. So when I met a new person or someone I hadn't seen for awhile, I usually spent the first sentence or so adjusting to their speech. This was certainly a problem I rarely encountered in Sweden when I spoke only (bad) Swedish. I found the whole business both fascinating and frustrating. And every time I felt I'd made a great stride forward on the language front, and could relax and pat myself on the back a bit, the next few times I tried to carry on the simplest of conversations, I'd encounter terrible, silly, and unlooked-for difficulties. By March I'd started to expect these difficulties after every stride forward, and had begun laying bets with myself as to how I'd be tripped up by the language in my next conversion, and how many days would pass before the god of hubris would deign to leave me alone.
In April last year the spring thaw came in earnest. Valdres turned into a land of millions of tiny waterfalls. There was water dripping off of anything that water could possibly drip off of as the snow melt found its way down to the fjords. (The larger waterfalls were pretty impressive, too.) The animals which had come down from the fjell regions for the winter began to move back up, and I was again treated to sights of moose galumphing through my backyard. One of the funniest things I saw must have happened in late May. The snow was gone, and spring flowers were just beginning to show themselves. I was driving over the ridge to Øystre Slidre one evening when a young moose walked out onto the dirt road in front of me. I wisely stopped the car. She knelt on her front legs in an ever so delicate motion and began licking the dried mud of the road, her rear end sticking way up in the air. I watched, fascinated, for several minutes, and then decided that since I didn't have my camera with me, I'd waited long enough. I honked my horn. No reaction from Miss Moose. I honked again. Not even an ear twitch. A car came from the other direction and honked. No reaction. Ten minutes later, with five of us waiting, she finally scrambled to her feet and stalked off into the pine forest. A few weeks later I was held up for twenty minutes by two moose licking the road there (although they didn't kneel). They must have been after salt, but since the roads weren't salted I wonder just what it was they were tasting. I started carrying my camera every time I drove that road, but never saw another moose there.
Spring was also a time of wildflowers. I've never seen so many wildflowers in my whole life put together as I could see in a single day in Valdres without even hunting them out. The first to bloom were the dandelions. Valdres dandelions are bigger (easily an inch and a half across) and a deeper golden color than any I'd ever seen. They laid such a thick velvety gold carpet across the meadows that it was difficult to see any green. A few days later they all went to seed, seemingly overnight. I was expecting a second crop after awhile, but instead all the other grasses and flowers began growing. I don't remember noticing any more dandelions. Their beautiful gold was replaced by an equally beautiful riot of colors. By late June, the most noticeable of these, the geiterams (Epilobium angustifolium / fireweed) was in full bloom, and remained so until early September. Its tall spiky stalk, covered with near-fluorescent magenta blossoms, was everywhere. But there were many other kinds and colors. The "spring" wildflower season began to peter out in August, and most were gone by September.
May 17th is, of course, Norway's Constitution Day. It's celebrated a lot like an old-fashioned 4th of July here, minus the fireworks, of course. Everybody shows the flag and wears their bunads. Many people also wore patriotic ribbons which were usually similar to the ribbons one wins at a county fair - with a medallion at the top and streamers of red, white and blue. I'd joined the Vestre Slidre Sanglag (choir), and we sang in Slidre's church (Slidredomen) that morning for the special service. Along with patriotic hymns, we chose an old bridal march from Vang to hum. I learned it on hardingfele and played it as an introduction. The sermon could easily have been translated to English and used here - all about the wonderful country we were living in, the wonders and value of freedom and peace, and how grateful we should be for it and that we should guard it always. Afterwards there was a memorial ceremony outside for those who had died in war, and a procession down one hill and up another to the local nursing home. I didn't take part in the procession, since the man I shared a ride with had to run off to help with another ceremony in Røn, where we both lived. Like most holidays, this seemed to be a family affair, and most folks spent the day outside, with picnics and family parties seeming to be a big thing. I ended up at a party sponsored by Øystre Slidre Spel-og Dansarlag. Hardly any of the regular dancers showed up, but instead there was a program arranged for kids who were learning instruments and singing to show their stuff. So there were many proud relatives, lots of food, a very nice informal concert, lots of good conversation, and a bit of dancing. I began to get to know some people I hadn't had much of a chance to talk with before, and had a very good time.
The Øystre Slidre group is very active in arranging cultural dance and music activities. The winter I spent there, they ran a springar course for teens and early twenty-somethings, a singing course for kids who appeared to be between 4 and 8 years old, a langeleik practice group which was also involved in teaching beginners, a spelemannslag which met to play every other week, and twice-monthly dance evenings. I'm sure I've left something out a gammaldans band maybe? In the fall before I left, they gave up the teen dance course, which seems to have been fairly successful, and started a beginning dance course for adults and a beginning hardingfele course for kids. I also attended the Vestre Slidre dance evenings. This group was also a lot of fun, but didn't have the range of programs that Øystre Slidre did. And most disappointing for me, no spelemannslag.
Sometime in late winter I realized how important raffles were as fund raisers. Almost every club used raffles to raise money. Group members usually supplied the prizes, which ranged from house plants and baked goods to ornate fruit baskets (usually the grand prize) and sometimes more extravagant things. Vestre Slidre Sanglag sponsored a sing-along evening of Alf Prøysen songs, and of course we had a raffle. I brought some American style banana bread as my donation. Most events had tables and chairs set up so one could have one's cake and coffee in comfort (there was always cake and coffee), and children came around peddling tickets. Large groups, like the various sports clubs, also had raffles where members took raffle books with them to work or elsewhere. These small numbered notebooks had 20 lines to a page, and the lines were numbered from 1 to 5,000 or whatever. To buy a "ticket" (they actually call them "lots" or "chances"), you simply put your name and phone number on a blank line. It was not uncommon to buy a half-page or more of lots. Prizes in these raffles ranged all the way up to cars and Mediterranean vacations. Øystre Slidre Spel- og Dansarlag held one last fall where the grand prize was an antique tractor donated by one of the members. The news media got hold of the story, and ticket orders were received from all over Norway. I half hoped to win a painting, and bought a page of lots from each of several friends. I was vaguely puzzled about what I'd do if I won the tractor, since I was scheduled to leave only a few days later. When I mentioned this, several people immediately offered to buy my hypothetical win from me. A local woman, the wife of one of the club's officers who had only bought a few lots, won it. There was a lot of good-natured joking about whether or not the draw had been fixed. I did win something once, to my great surprise. It was a certificate for a free CD at the local music store. I felt quite lucky since I had little interest in most of the other prizes.
School in Norway goes almost till the end of June, and Landskappleiken is held around the end of June. Last summer it was in Ål in Hallingdal, right next door to Valdres. I camped out with other members of the spel- og dansarlag. Most young folks had tents, while the more established generations had ornate camping vehicles with attached enclosed tent-porches which often more than doubled the size of the trailer. I'd taken a small 1-person tent with me, and between that and my station wagon, I was quite comfortable in spite of almost constant rain. I've got to admit that my comfort was greatly helped by friends who insisted on loaning me an old foam mattress from a single bed and a camp stove, as well as the time spent on their "porch". I competed in class B hardingfele, and was terribly nervous. I also danced with the Øystre Slidre Dansarlag and played with the Spelemannslag. Both groups did quite well. My days were filled with scurrying from one place to another to perform or watch friends. Evenings were spent at concerts, followed by dance parties, followed by drinks and conversation on a "porch" or in a hotel room. At the end, tired, happy and damp, we all loaded up and drove home. It cleared up about the time we left, and while driving through the pine-forested fjell district between Hallingdal and Valdres I found a bunch of sheep sunning themselves in the road like so many cats. The east- and westbound cars took turns threading their way through them. The sheep were completely unperturbed. Although the road was a "major" highway, it's also open range land, so one always has to be careful.
In mid-July the Kvales arrived on their vacation. They had warned me that they'd need the basement for visiting relatives, so I'd arranged to move to the second floor of the farm just down the road. I had a view many of us would envy at the Kvale's, but the view from my new apartment's windows was breathtaking. I could see up Slidrefjord into Vang and down the fjord quite a ways, too. The only problem was a telephone. There was no line to the second floor, and using their phone was totally impractical. I finally got a cell phone. While expensive, it seemed the cheapest alternative, and it's not as expensive compared to the rest of my expenses as it would be in the US. Otherwise, life was fairly uneventful until Jørn Hilme Stemne in Fagernes at the end of July. I volunteered to help and was assigned to registration. Thursday evening and Friday were spent at a munnharpe (jews harp) course, and most of Saturday I spent writing down people's names and the category they would compete under. I took time out to practice and then compete on hardingfele. I wasn't nearly as nervous as at the Landskappleik, and played much better. Sunday I spent most of the day listening, but I also competed in the Old Instrument category on munnharpe. I'd attended a munnharpe festival and course in the fall and in spite of being inspired to work on it, I hadn't! So in late April I declared my intention to play in the kappleik as a way to scare myself into practicing. It worked. I played two cute little beginner tunes, and actually played OK for a beginner.
In late July and August almost everyone disappeared to their summer cabins. By this time I'd realized that holidays are what Americans would consider surprisingly intense family-times, and that I would be lucky to see anyone. So I had planned a few projects to occupy my time. What started as a project to just drive around, explore the Valdres back-country, and take pictures of beautiful and interesting sights soon turned into a project to photograph all the different types of låverosor (Barn roses /decorations) that I could find (see the box on pg. 5 and the drawings on pgs. 5, 6, and 7.).
During September, I tried to finish up all my projects, so I spent much time at the museum staring at notes I'd made months before that said things like "find out about so-and-so" or "listen to more of this guy."
One highlight of September was another munnharpe festival in Fagernes. They had asked some munnharpe players from the Republic of Yakutsk in Siberia to come, and ten of them showed up, ranging in age from a little girl of eleven to a man who was easily in his 70s or older. They speak a language related to Turkish and are ethnically one of what we think of as the nomadic horseman tribes of Mongolia. The munnharpe is their national instrument, and their munnharpe tradition emphasizes telling stories or setting moods by recreating the sounds of nature. Rain, wind, flowing water, galloping horses and bird calls were all important parts of their music. Most of the music was improvised around a set outline. (eg. Start with wind, add rain, then a horse approaching and receding into the distance.) The munnharpe is also used to accompany song and dance. It was quite fascinating. Since my time was relatively free, I volunteered to help take care of them the week they were in Valdres, and although only one of them spoke any English, we had a lot of fun together. At the dance on the last evening of the festival, they suddenly decided to give me one of their munnharpas. So we had a private little ceremony off in the corner, complete with a video camera. One of the men obviously liked to make everything formal and official, and he gave an impromptu presentation speech. The woman who spoke English translated, and according to her, he began, "Dear Sarah, we know that you are American, but you're really nice anyway." I'm not sure anymore what else he said, because I was so busy trying to keep a straight face. For my part, I'm very glad to have met them. Siberia no longer seems a cold and lonely place populated by people who are completely foreign to me, but warm and friendly and filled with laughter and kind people.
October was filled with packing and saying my farewells. I had begun to feel like a part of the community and really didn't want to leave. But one does have to go back to real life eventually. By the end of the month I had packed and mailed what seemed like a thousand packages to myself, said all my goodbyes and was on my way home to a rainy California winter.
Låverosor (Barn roses /decorations) are not only very similar to the Pennsylvania Dutch hex signs, but were actually inspired by them! Northern Valdres is the only region in Norway where these are found. It seems that a Valdres man was living in Kansas City around the turn of the century, working for an architect, when he became aware of this tradition. He was so captivated that when he returned to Valdres he created one for himself and hung it on his barn. His neighbors liked it, and made up their own designs. There aren't that many of them in Valdres, I would guess that only 1 of every 8 barns has one, but they are very interesting. The thing I found most interesting is that if a road is isolated, there probably won't be any låverosor on it. The more traffic, the more rosor, and the more ornate they are. And if one barn has an especially nice one, so will most of the other barns in the immediate area. I got the feeling that there was either a bit of competition, or else it was a "neighborhood beautification project." Much to my surprise, I found more than twenty distinct designs. Four or five designs account for probably 80% of the rosor; the rest are quite individual. The most common design is five (sometimes only four) hearts whose points meet at the center of the circle. They are usually put up to cover the round ventilation holes at the peak of the eaves.
Although most låverosor have a heart-based pattern, one often doesn't notice it at first. The hearts are often outlined in thin white strips of wood, and the heart itself is formed by the background of the louvers on the barn's ventilation hole. The overall impression is often one of wheel spokes, until one looks more closely. Sometimes there is no indentation at the top of the heart, so they really are wheel spokes. There are, of course, other designs besides. On this and the following pages are drawings of 6 different designs.
a) Copied from the one at Hagali, the farm where I spent the summer and fall. The shaded parts are actually the background - the barn-red louvers of the ventilation hole showing through the white pattern. This was probably the most common design in Valdres, but many of the modern ones are fat and clumsy looking.
b) Another wide-spread design. it usually was white (black here) against a red barn. The indentations at the top of the heart were sometimes left out. Either way, the impression was usually that of graceful "fish-shapes" swimming towards each other.
c) I found several of these around Heggenes, but nowhere else (although there might be others). Most were white against red, but a very striking one was red against black louvers, set on a natural pine barn.
d) There were a number of these in northern Vestre Slidre and Vang. This one was the oldest and most graceful. It and the barn were both painted red. The pattern of holes appears lacelike from below, something that doesn't show up in a drawing. it reminds me of clothespins for some reason.
e) This one is on highway E16 in Øye, Vang. I didn't find any others of this pattern. The barn was red, the rim white, and the inner cross and circle, green.
f) Another one-of-a-kind, as far as I could tell. The barn was red, the spokes and rim white, and the scallops green. From the ground, the holes gave it a very delicate, lacy appearance.
"And now come the musicians with violins, bagpipe, oboe and drum...."
On the Drum Traditions in Värend(1)
by Magnus Gustafsson
translated by Wes Ludemann(2)
The musicians get orders to hold themselves ready to blow so loudly that it rings out in the surrounding villages. Thereafter the bridal procession proceeds to the church on horseback. Outriders, older, honorable men, are forward in the point, followed by the musicians with violins, bagpipe, oboe and drum out in front of the bridegroom, who is accompanied by the priest. Along the whole way is heard the resounding playing, and it is only the bride's crown that keeps the excited horses from galloping...
This description of a resounding bridal procession is taken from Samuel Krok's famous talk given to Småland's Nation(3) in Uppsala in the year 1749 on the subject "Customs of the inhabitants of Urshult parish." Few parishes were granted such a privilege, one of ancient origin, as to be allowed to pour out their lively folk life and music. The conclusion commonly drawn from Krok's description is that during the first half of the 1700's, bridal music in Värend was played on violins, oboes (shawms) and drums. Instrument combinations of this sort inevitably direct our thoughts to an old custom granted by law to the people of Värend:
All maidens, maids and widows shall have drums and pipes provided for their wedding, just as if they took to the field [of battle], so that for all time their knightly exploits shall remind them, that up to this day they have had this tradition when it was [elsewhere] prohibited and denied by His Royal Majesty's canon law... [Runa 1843, book 4, pg. 16, R. Dybeck]
The above perhaps could be considered merely as customary Rudbeckian(4) romanticism on the trail of the ubiquitous Blända saga, but the fact is that some time during the 1600's there was established the right for brides in Värend to "requisition drums four in number and playing from Kronobergs Regiment." Gunnar-Olof Hyltén-Cavallius states in Wärend(5) och Wirdane that "the drum in Wärend in bygone days was used for dancing" and describes how a farmer in the village Eriksås in Konga härad (6) in the year 1614 had gotten "a fjärding(7) of German beer" and how they thereafter "drank and beat on the drum." Hyltén-Cavallius also cites another source from 1615, when a large banquet was held in Uppvidinge härad:
Then the banqueting people gathered, mostly young people, however, and had for themselves a drummer and danced and had pastimes...
A threat to the custom of drum music in Värend arose
during Karl XI's time. The new canon law of 1686 explicitly forbade the use of all military music at weddings:
No bridal procession may come to the church with drums, shooting or any kind of unseemly noise; if that happens, a fine shall be paid according to the regulations....
It appears that the church initiated prohibition regarding drum music at weddings soon took a more general meaning and came to include drum-playing in all contexts. At the same time a large royal law commission worked on a new proposal for marriage and inheritance codes. Against this threat to the musical traditions in Värend, the former regimental clerk Petter Rudbeck from Husby, inspired by a local legend, created the completely fabricated story of a Värend woman named Blända and her like-minded "amazons," who in a deadly battle against the Danes on the classical battlefield Bråvalla Heath defended their home village with force and cunning(8), and how, for their efforts, the people of Värend were granted a number of privileges. Rudbeck sent a written account of this story to Field Marshall Erik Dahlberg, the man behind the large and imposing illustrated work Suecia antiqua et hodierna (Sweden ancient and modern). A number of the copperplates in the Suecia work are adaptations of Rudbeck's written accounts to Dahlberg. This contact with Dahlberg gave birth to a grandiose idea of Rudbeck's - to write a great work on Småland's ancient history. In this connection he was certainly influenced by his famous uncle, Olof Rudbeck, who's work Atlantica was the strongest written expression of Sweden's nationalism and Geatism(9). The result was a large manuscript - Forna Ridghiöta(10) eller Smålandska Antiquiteter (Ancient Götaland or Antiquities of Småland), where considerable space is devoted to Bråvalla Heath and the crafty women of Värend lead by Blända. The contacts with Dahlberg also came to mean that Rudbeck's putative expert knowledge promptly became used in a matter having political import, which contributed to the attention soon directed to Rudbeck and the historical writing about Blända. His intention to document for posterity Småland's early greatness, and to protect an existing customary law against the expanding power of the state and its tendency towards standardization showed itself to be successful. The story about Blända was accepted as established historical truth, and in a letter from 1693, Erik Dahlberg was able to communicate Karl XI's decision that Värend would be allowed to keep using drums at weddings, and that the king would later work out a detailed resolution. Thus the customs lived on in the luster of Blända's exploits, unmolested by standardizing laws and ordinances. This legend also had wider significance - the visions it conjured up became forces acting independently in different contexts with feedback to a number of popular traditions - from drum playing to the dress of the Värend women.
Even though Karl XI's formal resolution appears never to have been executed (it wasn't until 1773, that Jon Bengtsson of Ströbya, a farmer and member of Parliament, got Gustav III to issue a new resolution), it was not long before the royal privileges had an effect on the peasant use of drums. Not only did people in Värend continue to use drums to the same extent as before the canon law prohibition of 1686 - the privilege also conjured up a quite special halo around the drum. In addition to Krok's famous depiction, there is a whole series of sources from the end of the 1600's clear up to 1900, in which one can follow the development of the drum as a popular musical instrument in Värend. In the oldest sources the instrument appears principally to have been used only at weddings. This ceremonial status was also expressed early in tapestry painting in southern Sweden, where, for example, Clement Håkansson and Abraham Clementsson illustrated the tapestry "The Wedding in Kana" with ensemble combinations typical for the time such as violin, shawm and drum. The same spirit also permeates Bengt Nordenberg's famous pictures "Wedding in Värend" and "Bridal Finery from Värend" - with horse-mounted wedding musicians playing shawm and drum.
As previously observed, the whole tradition has a military touch, as indicated in two sources:
The ancient right of Värend women on their wedding day to have before them in the bridal procession the playing of horns, drums and pipes has been maintained for as long as the large weddings were celebrated and satisfied in the manner, that according to ancient reasons, brides in Värend possessed the right to requisition number of four drums and playing from Kronobergs Regiment, against free entertainment at the wedding estate during the wedding. That appears to have been considered as such a long-sanctioned thing, confirmed by Royal Communication about the Värends' right entitlement, that any memorandum of it is not needed to be introduced into the regimental protocols, for it does not occasion any cost for the state... [A Qvistgaard in EU 39523, Frieri och bröllop III, pg. 775.]
At the wedding it was customary to celebrate the festivities for three days with great feasting: the youngsters then amused themselves with dance, and the regimental musicians remained and provided dance music...[S Johansson: Wärendssdräkten förr och nu, pg. 18]
It was probably also the military drummers living in their home villages who were central to this tradition during the late 1600's and during all of the 1700's. They were usually the most knowledgeable and competent musicians in their communities. Their skills were entirely learned by ear. The rhythmic patterns of various signals, reveille, tattoos and drum rolls were transmitted from an older to a younger generation of drummers through the use of spoken rhymes. This practice lasted until the middle of the 1800's before it became more common to write down the drum parts using musical notation(11). During the 1700's the names of many drummers bear witness to these spelling and rhyme principles. In the Livkompaniet(12) of Kronoberg's Regiment, for example, there was a drummer with the name "Rumpilipump."
The older folk drums preserved from Värend are markedly homogeneous in size and shape. The approximately twenty drums found so far are all of the so-called "two skins type" (drum heads on top and bottom). Some are skillfully made and beautifully painted with umber and Parisian blue in triangular friezes, while others are more rustic and entirely unpainted. None of the instruments can be dated with certainty, but a rough approximation indicates that most were made during the period 1650 - 1800. All of the drums are made of oak using a bent-
wood technique(13). They are made using two broad splints which are fastened together on the inside by a small pine splint. The dimensions vary somewhat, but on the average the body is about 350 mm high, with a diameter of about 430 mm. Drum heads that have been preserved are without exception made of shaved calfskin. These are tensioned with laces passed through different shapes of leather braces(14). Some drums are equipped with snares, i.e., gut strings strung across the face of the drum to make the "ringing sound." The simplest construction consists of twisted sinew strings that can be tensioned with a simple forged screw arrangement. In some cases the strings have bird-wing quills attached. A drum from Älghults parish was found with crudely turned drumsticks of maple (or possibly ash). Some of these drums are called "wolf drums" or "search drums" in regional or old homestead museums. For the most part these designations probably have their basis in an exotic view of the instrument. In any case they must have had secondary functions, for no one would build such an advanced instrument, with complicated bent wood and tensioning apparatus, merely to make noise.
In Sigurd Eriksson's book Byalag och byaliv (Village laws and life) are several photographs of drums mostly from northern Småland and Närke. These show a number of similarities to the Värend drums. Here we find drums that have an entirely different function - to signal the start of village meetings. It is possible that this official status made it possible for the instrument to exist longer in these quarters of the land in spite of the drum prohibition of 1686. Possibly some of the Värend drums were also used for this function. This use would explain an important problem concerning the kind of wood used in making the instrument. As previously stated, all of the drums are made of oak, a kind of wood which until the end of the 1800's was surrounded with various rules, prohibitions and proscriptions. In principle, it was impossible in the 1700's for a taxed peasant to fell an oak tree on his own land. This kind of wood was reserved for the Crown and the Navy. The peasant could, however, request that an exception be made for special reasons. A hypothesis is that such exceptions would be granted if it concerned the status of the drum in the village (parish), either as a ceremonial instrument at a wedding or simply as a village drum. The choice of oak can perhaps also be explained by tradition and practice. The older military drums of the 1600's were made of oak using the bentwood technique. In great likelihood these functioned as models for the peasant drums.
In most regiments the wooden drums disappeared around the end of the 1700's, and were replaced with instruments of the brass family. Remarkably enough, it appears that the old wooden drums existed for an especially long time only in the Kronoberg Regiment:
Furthermore one was compelled in 1760 to use money from the armament funds to buy new brass instruments for the companies' drummers instead of the old wooden drums, which for a long time have been quite useless...[I. Sandahl in Kronobergs Regemente, Regementets musik pg. 248]
In some cases these old military drums were transferred out to the villages directly to a civil enterprise. This appears to have been the case with a drum from Västra Torsås parish, which is beautifully painted with three crowns and a griffin with a crossbow.
Towards the end of the 1700's, the structure of regulations governing society began to loosen and the drum was used more freely for dances, in playhouses and at seasonal festivals. It was not unusual for a fiddler and a drummer to provide dance music. There are good grounds for accepting that the older polska music originally was best suited to this instrument combination. The advanced and gallant 1700's polonaise, which with time became so common in Värend, was probably not so suitable for drum accompaniment. This leads to speculation about what principles of playing technique generally applied to playing a drum for dancing at this time. Some conclusions can be made by looking at the drumming traditions in western Norway.
The drum has had a prominent place in a region of Norway from Nordmøre to Hardanger in Vestlandet. In many cases people in this region have danced to just drum playing. In these drum tunes, the melodic rhythm is stated by an underlying drum roll, which is usually divided into quintuplets. There is reason to believe that a similar fundamental playing style likewise occurred in Värend. A constant drum roll, with the melodic rhythm accented with extra force was laid over the polska melody as played on the fiddle, shawm or clarinet. Subdividing the rhythm into triplets rather than quintuplets was probably more common in Värend. The overall effect of the drum accompaniment mirrored a general practice in Central European art music during the 1600's and 1700's of playing underlying trills with all notes.
There exist a whole series of sources that illustrate the use of these trills. In an interview, the musician August Frisk from Vederslöv reminisced about the renowned musician Johan Dahl (1841-1921) [Svenska låtar, Småland, pgs. 78-87] from Odensjö in Skatelöv parish who played for many years with the drummer "Johan i Ströby" for dances in Nöbbele:
Dahl och Johan played for the dancers at the inn for many years. Johan had an old wooden drum and sometimes he played a triangle. When Dahl played old tunes the drum droned.....[M Gustafsson, "Nöbbele Gästgiveri," 1981.]
During the 1800's drum playing spread more generally in Småland, and here and there throughout the whole land. In Gösta Klemming's volume "59 Smålandslåtar," there is a notation about a wedding march from Tuna parish:
The march was used when the bridal pair left the church after the ceremony. The clarinet player with the drummer went ahead of the bridal pair with 6 to 8 bridesmaids following after. Then the bridesmaids, with a quiet smile on their lips, used to sing to the march's first reprise:
Yes we are such good friends,
yes we are such good friends,
we shall never quarrel.
Yes we are such good friends,
yes we are such good friends,
we shall never fight.
This march melody is not unique, but is known in a number of variants throughout Småland. The interesting thing in this instance is that the drum was used at weddings in Tuna parish. This was otherwise forbidden in all parishes in the country, except the Värend parishes which, thanks to the Blända legend, had special permission for its use since Karl XI's time.
The musician Pelle Fors (1815-1908) from Ukna in northern Småland, who later moved to Vikbolandet in Östergötland, was one of the better know musicians who regularly played together with drummers:
The renowned violinist Pelle Fors played the violin and beat on the drum with other players. When he himself played violin at weddings and banquets a drummer kept the beat...(ULMA 1207)
Four old drums have been found in Älghult and Åseda, the two most northern parishes in Värend. Two of these drums are now preserved at Kulturen in Lund. The relatively rich occurrence of the instrument in both of these two parishes could indicate a particularly strong drum culture. This thought is strengthened by a statement in Axel Blomfeldt's Från vaggen till graven (From the cradle to the grave), where the correspondent Algot Jonsson from Möcklashult relates this about his father:
My father and two others from Gödeshult were musicians. They traveled around to weddings and played on violins, clarinets and drums. During the ceremony they each stood on their own side of the parish clerk and played psalms on their clarinets. At the wedding dance they played violin, clarinet and drum. The drums started and kept the dance beat going, then both the other musicians joined in, so that the violin took up the melody and the clarinet player followed and accompanied him. It was said that this was music good for dancing, for it almost drowned out the sound of the dancers' feet.
The Värend drum tradition appears to have survived longest in Vislanda parish. At the end of the 1800's, musicians in this parish began to use the older type of drum playing to accompany the newly introduced accordion. One of the last of these musicians who played on a bentwood drum must have been Karl Svensson, otherwise known as "Kalle in Brånan." He still played the drum for dancing in the 1930's, together with an accordion player and a fiddler. In a sense the whole circle was closed by another musician from the same parish. According to the accordionist Igvar Fohlin (b. 1924) "Urmakarn" (Gunnar Johansson, 1899-1974) learned in his early years to play the drum "in the old style with drum-rolls" from, among others, "Kalle i Brånan." He, however, used more modern drums. When the typical dance bands of the 1930's were formed, "Urmakarn" placed his snare drum on a stand, added a cymbal and a bass drum made of wood and switched from folk music over to playing the more modern music. But probably somewhere deep within him still played an old underlying triplet drum roll....
1) Värend is the eastern part of Småland.
2) All footnotes are by Wes Ludemann.
3) Nation: students' club at the university.
4) Refers to Petter Rudbeck. See next paragraph for an explanation.
5) Wärend is another spelling for Värend.
6) Härad = a district consisting of a "hundred" parishes.
7) A volume equivalent to 15.6 liters.
8) I have not read the Rudbeck account, but an oral recounting of the legend, from Marie Persson I think, was roughly as follows: The men of the village being away in the army when the Danes invaded, the women sent an emissary to the Danes inviting them to a banquet and merriment on the heath. When the Danes arrived, the women were missing, but a large feast was spread out. Eat first, then look for the ladies, decided the Danes. But the food was drugged, and the women came out of concealment and slit the throats of the stupefied Danes. When a later scout reported the carnage back to headquarters, the Danes decided the area was too dangerous to invade.
9) Geat: English word for Göt, an inhabitant of Götaland in central Sweden.
10) "Rid" is derived from the Swedish word "rida" (to ride like a horse). Rid refers to inner Götaland, which could not be reached by sea or boat, but could only be "ridden" through.
11) The system of notation was standardized in drum regulations in 1837.
12) Livkompaniet is the name given to the first company of the Regiment.
13) The technique of bending wooden splints by heating them in hot water. In this context, splint refers to a thin flexible piece of wood.
14) Braces (also called buffs, tugs, pulls, ears), used to vary the tension on laces holding drum heads together, are of two types: a) tab braces, where a strip of leather is folded over and laced together (with rawhide strips) to leave a passage for the drum ropes to go through, laced at a slight angle so that the opening is tapered, with the ends projecting to form a tab, and b) sleeve braces: where the ends of a short piece of leather are laced together (with calfskin trimmings) to form a slightly tapered tube. The Swedish term hylsa suggests a sleeve brace.
More Scandinavian Web Sites
compiled by Wes Ludemann
This is a continuation of a list that I started in the Winter 1997/98 issue of the News. I have not visited most of these web pages. Some addresses I collected from letters on Bruce Sagan's Scandia list server, some from INETMEDIA, and the rest through browsing.
Yahoo in Scandinavia:
I have used the Swedish/English dictionary. Good.
Analysis and news coverage of Finland:
Travel bureau. Home page is in four languages.
Kaustinenfolk music festival (in English):
Norwegian Collection of Folk Music:
Compiled by Hans-Hinrich Thedens, University of Oslo.
Leikarringen of Leif Eriksson Lodge No. 1 (Seattle):
This Lodge has published a book on The Christmas traditions of Norway. Check it out at their web page. Their address is 2245 NW 57th, Seattle, WA 98017.
Information on Sweden:
Global Visitor´s Guide to Sweden:
Nordic pages for Sweden:
For other countries replace "sweden" by the other country's name.
SUNET (Nöjen och fritid/Musik/Sångkörer):
A long list of links to web sites of many choirs.
To rent a stuga (cottage) in the Lake Siljan area:
The first address is to rent a private stuga (Photographs displayed!). The second is for rentals in Holiday Village.
For those of you who attended "NORDLEK 97," and want the
sheet-music for the newly composed "Nordlek-march." (GIF file.)
Musicians and Instrument Makers Forum (MIMF):
Sveriges Växter 2: Käringtand (Lotus corniculatus)
by Wes Ludemann
Käringtand (old woman's tooth) is a more attractive flower than its popular name would suggest. The name comes from the shape and color of its flowers, which resemble the sharp yellow teeth of an old witch. Käringtand shows variation in leaves and blooms. The reddish variation is sometimes called gubbtand (old man's tooth), as the color resembles an old man's snus-stained teeth. Other names for the plant are kattklor (cat claws) and gulhane (golden cockerel). The genus name, Lotus, has been given to a number of plants. It comes from the Greek lotos, which refers to the legendary shrub of the lotus-eaters of mythology. The species name is corniculatus, or horned, as the slender curved tips of the flower bud resemble tiny horns.
Käringtand is a short-lived perennial herb with clump-forming stems. The 5 to 15 cm long stems are narrow and hairless and can lie recumbent or stand upright. Each stem has five blue green leaves, three clover-like leaves at the tip and a pair of stipule-like leaves at the bottom. It blooms in July, with numerous small flower heads clustered at the ends of the stalks. The neat and dainty flowers are generally a saturated yellow, but the large topmost petal can be blood- or brick-red. The slender pea-like seed pods end in a hornlike tips.
The plant prefers lime-rich soils. It grows in landslip areas and on open ridges, as well as in grasslands, in brushy areas and in the lime-rich heaths characterized by the fell-anemone. The plant occurs from sea level up into the low alpine zone, but it is rare in the fell regions.
Belonging to the pea family, käringtand is a valued fodder plant that can, however, be poisonous in large quantities. Its leaves and flowering tops were once used as a source of blue and yellow dyes, and the flowers are said to furnish an excellent honey. Herbalists classify it as an antispasmodic and sedative, and recommend it for the treatment of heart palpitations, nervousness, depression and insomnia. There is no scientific evidence to validate these uses. Since the leaves and flowers contain cyanide, large amounts may cause paralysis, convulsions, coma and even death.
The English language name is the descriptive but cumbersome "bird's-foot trefoil." The term "birds-foot" refers to the slender seed pods that look like a bird's foot, while "trefoil" refers to the three terminal leaves that resemble clover. It has many local names. Some are enchanting, such as "Rosy Morn" and "Love Entangled." Contrasting names are "Devil's Claws," and "Devil's Fingers". The Shetland Islands name of kattikloo obviously derives from the same Norse word as the Swedish name kattklo (cat claw).
Introduced to North America as a forage and fodder plant, käringtand now occurs locally from Newfoundland southward to Virginia and westward to Ohio and Minnesota. It is also found in northeastern Texas, as well as on the Pacific Coast where it was introduced to stabilize earth banks. It makes an attractive invader in lawns, if such is to your taste.
New Recordings from Norway
KJERSTI WIIK - "Strilesølv: folkelege tonar frå Nordhordland (Grappa). Singer accompanied by guitar, piano, and percussion.
STEINGRIM HAUKJEM & HELLIK A JUVELI - "Blåne bak blåne" Old recordings (most from 1966) of two great hardingfele players from Numedal. Released by the Numedal spel- og danselag.
STEINAR OFSDAL, HALLGRIM BERG og HANS FREDRIK JACOBSEN - "Seljefløyta" (Heilo). Treasure chest for those who would like to play seljefløyta. 39 tunes in all.
ODD LUND og ÅSHILD VATNE - "Julefred" (GMCD)
Vatne sings Christmas songs and psalms to the accompaniment of old Norwegian instruments.
ÅSMUND og STURLA (Heilo)
Two young fiddlers who have played a lot together and especially for dancing. Largely tunes from Ålen, north of Røros.
SONGAR frå JELSA
Released by the Folk Music Archive in Rogaland. Various artists participate.
ROMSDAL SPELEMANNSLAG - "I Romsdalstakt" (RSCD) Spelemannslag founded in 1936 with 40 currently active members 12-80 years old.
SVEN NYHUS SEKSTETT - "Grimen" (Heilo)
18 tunes (10 are original compositions): pols, waltz, hoppvals, galopp, halling, and walking tunes.
23 different hardingfele players contribute to this recording
New Recordings from Sweden
TONY WRETHLING & ULF STÖRLING - "Som förr" (Kroko). Tunes for dances from Gästrikland including polskor and waltzes. Tight and driven playing.
VÄSTERBOTTENS SPELMANSFÖRBUND - "50 år" (VSFCD). Compilation of over twenty different music groups from Västerbotten.
MARIA JONSSON & CARINA NORMANSSON - "Änglar" (Tongang). Two of the top women folk musicians in Sweden. 15 tunes (traditional and new compositions) including several songs.
FOLK MUSIC IN SWEDEN - "Visor & låtar från Bohuslän" / "Koraler & bröllopsmusik från Runö" / "Jojk"/"Folkmusik i förvandling." Last releases in a 25 CD set on Swedish folk music.
MAGNUS STINNERBOM & DANIEL SANDÉN-WARG - "Harv" (Amigo). Two outstanding young fiddlers from Värmland. Energetic, intensive playing.
SÅGSKÄRA - "Krook!" (Drone)
Continuation of the themes of "Höök!" with music from the 1700s. Instrumentation includes fiddle, bagpipe, drums, harp, shawm, jews harp.
ELLIKA FRISELL - "Tokpolska" (Giga)
First solo recording for Ellika (with Mats Edén and Sven Ahlbäck on some) who has played with Filarfolket and Den Fule. Bingsjö and Orsa tunes plus original compositions.
OLOV JOHANSSON - "Storsvarten" (Drone, Northside)
Thought by many to be the world's best nyckelharpa player. Here he plays solo and with many musician friends including other Väsen members.