Influential Scandinavian Musicians & Their Music
I thought that it would be useful to trace some of the musicians and music that influenced my interests in Scandinavian music. These are however, not the only musicians that have influenced me! I provide a suggested CD recording for each of the influential musicians.
My initial influence was the Folkways ‘Norway’ album in 1991. This collection of old recordings contained vocal music, Hardanger fiddle, regular fiddle, langeleik, seljefløte and langeleik. I was absolutely fascinated by the beautiful and sometimes haunting sounds that I had never encountered before.
The next crucial influential moment happened at the week long Scandinavian music and dance camp that I attended in 1992 (Scandinavian Week at Buffalo Gap). I was exposed to some very accomplished musicians that I still regard quite highly today. Tony Wrethling led the Swedish fiddle workshop playing music from the Gästrikland region in Sweden. His style and tunes have never grown old after all of these years. [recording – Som Förr – KROKO CD 9701]
Leif Inge Schjølberg was the Norwegian regular fiddle instructor that year. He plays music from the Vågå community in the Gubrandsdalen region. The springleik dance tunes which contain an unusual asymmetric rhythm, and haunting melodies hooked me immediately. The music seems not to be from this planet and I mean that in a very good way! [recording – Fele-ljom]
Loretta Kelley is an American who has deeply studied Hardanger fiddle music. Her teaching skills, story telling abilities, resourcefulness and musicianship have been greatly appreciated by those who seek her assistance. She was my first contact when discussing and starting to play the Hardanger fiddle at the Scandinavian camp in 1992. [recording – Amerikaspel ACCD-9603]
In 2000 I studied under Kalle Almlöf at Malungs Folkhögskola in Malung, Sweden. He influenced me greatly – I learned a lot about the technical aspects of playing violin and some very interesting tunes that he taught. The western Dalarna style that he played grew on me during that time. [recording – Kalle Almlöf och Anders Almlöf –GCD46]
Anders Rosén lives near Malung, Sweden and plays clarinet, fiddle and baroque violin. He produces recordings on the Hurv label and influenced me during my time in Sweden and through correspondence. I admire his deep knowledge of Swedish fiddle music. Anders made me aware that a good part of Swedish folk music is a living baroque tradition. [recording – På Vandring med Lejsme Per – KRCD7301]
My appreciation for Swedish music broadened greatly after meeting Magnus Gustafsson and listening to the music of Småland in southern Sweden. He is an amazing resource and, appropriately, he works at the music archive facility in Växjö. He has published informative books of music and has played on many recordings. I really do love the baroque sounding music from Småland, and not just because my Swedish ancestors came from there. [recording- Änglarnas Språk-DROCD 002]
I met Vidar Lande several years ago at a Hardanger Fiddle Association workshop meeting. Vidar is originally from East Agder, Setesdal in southern Norway. He plays traditional music from the Setesdal area on the Hardanger fiddle, the regular fiddle and on a Setesdals-fele (a hybrid of the two). He is an amazing teacher & researcher and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the music in its current and historical contexts. I continue to be inspired to play the Hardanger fiddle when I listen to his recordings. [recording- Norway, Fiddle Music from Agder- UNESCO D 8063] He plays at the beginning of this YouTube clip: Vidar Lande at the HFAA
The influences on me are many and continue to compound over time. This is but a short list of the people that have made the music accessible and very interesting for me.