Tag Archives: Norwegian music

Artist Profiles: Rusk

Vocalist Unni Løvlid – Photo by Geir Dokken

Rusk was a Norwegian folk music trio from the Solør and Finnskogen area in Norway, near the Swedish border. The band featured vocalist Unni Løvlid, fiddle player Vegar Vardal, and accordionist Frode Haltli, raised in Våler i Solør, in the heart of this forested region.

Their first CD Rusk contains traditional dance music, traditional songs and psalms from the mysterious woods of Finnskogen with new arrangements.

On Rusk II, the trio recorded Norwegian ballads that frequently recount tragic tales, Swedish ballads, self-composed material, and even a version of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” that was popularized by the legendary Johnny Cash.


* Rusk (2002)
* Rusk II (Grappa/Heilo, 2006)


Artist Profiles: Rita Eriksen

Rita Eriksen

Rita Eriksen is one of Norway’s best vocalists. In addition to her own career, she is frequently used by Norwegian musicians.

In 1996 she released the album Tideland with the well-known Irish singer Dolores Keane on the Kirkelig Kulturverksted record label. This was a CD that was very well received and showed that Rita Eriksen is also a master singing Norwegian traditional folk music. Rita is known for her ability to express different directions in her singing.

Rita Eriksen is half of the duo Eriksen, the other half being her brother Frank. Eriksen has released several albums, including Two Blue (MajorStudio MSCD 1113, 1992), The Water Is Wide (MajorStudio MSCD 1118, 1994) and Alt Vende Tebage (BMG Norge 743213281122, 1995) that established themselves amongst Norway’s best selling artists. The record sales in Norway concerning these three records has now passed 125,000.

Eriksen received the Spellemannsprisen (the top Norwegian music award) for Two Blue and was nominated for both The Water is Wide and Alt Vende Tebage. Eriksen is frequently played on Norwegian radio.

In 2001, Eriksen began to tour as guest vocalist with Vamp, one of Norway’s leading folk groups. She also collaborated with the Tramps in 2002.

In 2009 Eriksen released a Christmas album titled Velkommen inn.

Her album Øyeblikk (Moments) came out in 2014. Rita wrote most of the songs and lyrics herself.


* Two Blue (MajorStudio MSCD 1113, 1992)
* The Water Is Wide (MajorStudio MSCD 1118, 1994)
* Alt Vende Tebage (BMG Norge 743213281122, 1995)
* Tideland, with Dolores Keane (Kirkelig Kulturverksted, 1996)
* Blamandag (MajorStudio MSCD 1142, 1998)
* From the Fountain (Odeon/EMI, 2005)
* Hjerteslag (BigBox, 2008)
* De Aller Beste (Best of..)(Sony/BMG, 2009)
* Velkommen inn (BigBox, 2009)
* Øyeblikk (MayB Records, 2014)

Web Site www.ritaeriksen.no


Artist Profiles: Mari Boine

Mari Boin Ohoto by Ola Røe

Mari Boine (aka Mari Boine Persen) was born November 8, 1956 in Karasjok, Norway. She is feasibly the most famous Sami artist in the world. This remarkable singer has been an effective spokeswoman for Sami culture, both in her music and in interviews. As she explained: “I used to think men oppressing women or governments oppressing people realized what they were doing and were just cynical. But then I realized that often they are unaware and are filled with fear. I feel I have to find my way to their hearts to let them know what they are doing. It’s the only way to change things. That’s why I feel my music is important.”

Our first relationship is to nature. You are part of nature, not the master of nature. This also gives us a strong sense of solidarity – you are about other people. Money is not important and power is not important. It’s more your personality, the human being that is important.”

Mari Boine’s music is directed by her robust and passionate voice, plus a few carefully selected instruments from people all over the world, notably the native South Americans. Most characteristic is her drum. She uses an African drum, but the combination of drum and voice goes back to ancient Sami culture and pre-Christian shamanism.

The colonizers brought Christianity and told the Sami they had to forget their primitive religion – and music was part of that religion. A lot of people of my parent’s generation don’t accept the music, they say it’s devil’s music and what you sing when you’re drunk – the colonizers also brought alcohol. When I started to use a drum some people got worried and said, ‘Is she a Shaman?’ So I decided I couldn’t use a Sami drum.”

I think your voice is a mirror of your soul and how you feel inside. When I began I was singing pop songs and ballads and didn’t sing from the heart. Over the last ten years I’ve been fighting this feeling of being inferior to Norwegian or western people and my voice got stronger as I decided I wouldn’t let anyone oppress me and that I have a value as S?mi. Western culture makes a distance between you and your body or heart. In Sami culture you think of everything as a whole.”

Her debut album Jaskatvuoda manna was released in 1985, although her breakthrough came in 1989 with Gula Gula.

Mari also collaborated with various international artists, among them Peter Gabriel on One World One Voice (1990) and Jan Garbarek in 1991/1992.

She has written commissioned works for both Vossajazz (1994) and Telemarksfestivalen (2005).

She composed the music to, and had the only role in, Mona J. Hoels short film Vuolgge mu mielde bassivárrái (Bli med meg til det hellige fjell) (1995).

Mari also wrote the music for the German film adaptation of the Hans and Greta fairytale (2005).

In 2003, Mari Boine was presented the Nordic Council Music Prize.


* Jaskatvuoa maá Etter Stillheten (1985)
* Gula Gula Hør stammødrenes stemme (1989)
* Salmer på veien hjem, with Ole Paus and Kari Bremnes (1991)
* Møte i Moskva, with the band Allians (1992)
* Goaskinviellja Ørnebror(1993)
* Leahkastin Unfolding (1994)
* Eallin Live (1996)
* Bálvvoslatnja Room of worship (1998)
* Odda hamis Remixed (NorthSide, 2001)
* Gávcci jahkejuogu Eight Seasons (2002/NorthSide, 2003)
* Idjagieas In the hand of the night (2006)
* Kautokeino-opprøret (2008)
* Čuovgga Áirras / Sterna Paradisea (2009)
* Gilve gollát – Sow Your Gold (2013)

web site: http://www.mariboine.no


Artist profiles: Majorstuen

Majorstuen in 2009

Majorstuen is an ensemble of virtuoso fiddlers who play Norwegian roots music. All of them play the fiddle (violin), although they occasionally will use the cello or viola. There are no other instruments and the sound is completely acoustic.

Majorstuen has released three albums, and was awarded the top Norwegian music award, the Spellemannprisen, for their debut album. In 2005 they won the Hilmar Alexandersen Music Prize.

Since 2001, Majorstuen has been touring Norway, Germany, France, Spain, Slovenia, Azerbaijan, Israel and Canada, including performances at Førde International Folk Music Festival, Bergen International Festival, Festival d’Ile de France, Celtic Colours and TFF Rudolstadt.

Majorstuen at WOMEX 2008 trade fair hall – Photo by Angel Romero

The line-up in 2009-2010: Andreas Ljones: fiddle, viola; Gjermund Larsen: fiddle, viola and cello; Jorun Marie Kvernberg: fiddle; Synnøve S. Bjørset: fiddle and viola; and Tove Dalbakk: fiddle and cello. A sixth musician, Ragnhild Furebotten: fiddle, went on leave in 2007.

The lineup in 2015 included Jorun Marie Kvernberg on fiddle; Andreas Ljones on fiddle; Synnøve S. Bjørset on fiddle; Anders Löfberg on fiddle and cello; and Tove P. Hagen on fiddle and cello.


* Majorstuen (2L, 2002)
* Jorun Jogga (MFC, 2004)
* Juledrøm (MFC, 2006)
* Skir (Majorstuen Fiddlers Company, 2010)
* Les Boréales compilation (Buda Musique, 2012)
* Live in Concert (Majorstuen Fiddlers Company, 2012)
* Kvitre (Majorstuen Fiddlers Company, 2015)

Web site: www.majorstuen.biz


Artist Profiles: Leif Rygg

Leif Rygg

Leif Rygg was born in 1940 in Voss, in western Norway. He’s one of Norway’s leading Hardanger fiddle players.

Rygg began playing the fiddle at age of nine. He was inspired and motivated by his teachers: Lars Skjervheim, Sigbjørn Bernhoft Osa Anders Kjerland.

Leif Rygg won the first prize at the National Contest for Traditional Music four times between 1977 and 1996. He has performed in concerts in Norway and abroad, and has participated on a number of recordings, both under the auspices of his own music publishing house, “Spelarhaugen Folkemusikk,” and on other labels.

Rygg holds the position of county-employed musician in Hordaland, and is connected with Ole Bull Academy Voss. He also teaches international hardanger fiddle workshops.


* Bjølleslåtten, with Knut Buen and Kåre Nordstoga (Buen Kulturverkstad BKCD 6, 1994)
* Høgdepunkt frå Landskappleiken (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7103, 1994)
* Lengt (Spelarhaugen Folkemusikk SFCD 1, 1995)
* Norsk Folkemusikk 7 (Folkemusikk frå Rogaland og Hordaland) (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4067, 1995)
* Nøringen, with Knut Hamre ‎(Heilo HO 7005, 1980)
* Meisterspel, with various artists (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7132, 1997)
* Vossaspel (Talik TA160CD, 2017)


Artist Profiles: Lars Underdal

Lars Underdal

Lars Underdal was born in 1971 in Vinje in Telemark (Norway), has studied with several fiddlers and at the renowned Ole Bull Academy in Voss. He has performed at a number of folk music competitions and at concerts in Norway and abroad. His performance style is vibrant and emotional.

His album “Gullfakse” is a fine selection of fiddle tunes from Telemark, in the tradition of such legendary fiddlers as Myllarguten and Gibøen.

Lars Underdal also performs folk music as a member of the groups Fire Feler (Four Fiddles) and Blåmann Blåmann.


Fjøllmanntonar, with various artists (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7083, 1993)
Gullfakse (NOR-CD 9827, 1998)
I boks


Artist Profiles: Knut Hamre

Knut Hamre

Knut Hamre was born in 1952 in Granvin, in Hardanger. He is one of Norway’s leading Hardanger fiddlers, and has created a distinctive mode of expression. His fiddle playing was influenced primarily by two teachers: Anders Kjerland from Granvin and Eivind Mo from Telemark.

Hamre himself has also been involved in teaching young fiddlers for many years, in addition to pursuing an active career as a performing artist, with solo concerts in Norway and abroad.

He won the first prize at the National Contest for Traditional Music for the first time in 1974, and has since won several more times. He is the only person to win that many first prizes in modern times. He was also awarded the King’s Trophy in 1981. His powerful and lyrical interpretations of fiddle tunes have made him a central figure in the West Coast tradition, and in addition to the awards already mentioned, he has received a number of grants.

In 2000 Knut Hamre received the Anders Kjerland Memorial Prize. In 2017 he was appointed commander of the Order of St. Olav for his oustanding work in Norwegian folk music.


* Nøringen, with Leif Rygg (Grappa Musikkforlag (MC) HK 7005, 1980)
* Norwegian Folk Songs Grieg Op. 66 &72, with Geir Botnen and Reidun Horvei (Simax PSC 1102, 1993)
* Fargespel (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7092, 1993)
* Høgdepunkt frå Landskappleiken (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7103, 1994)
* Norsk Folkemusikk 7 (Rogaland og Hordaland) (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4067, 1995)
* Meisterspel, with various artists (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7132, 1997)
* Devil’s Tune, with various artists (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7139, 1998)
* Toneflaum, with Bjarne Herrefoss and Hallvard T. Bjørgum (Sylvartun SYLVCD 6, 1998)
* Å, with Steve Tibbetts and guest artists Turid Spildo, Marc Anderson and Anthony Cox (Hannibal/Rykodisc HNCD 1438, 1999)
* Håstabøslåttar, together with Åse Teigland and Frank Rolland (1999)
* Rosa – Botnen, with Benedicte Maurseth (Heilo, 2006)


Artist Profiles: Knut Buen

Knut Buen

Knut Buen, born in 1948, is one of Norway’s most outstanding Hardanger fiddle players. He has composed many new dance tunes and been instrumental in introducing the into contexts. Buen’s artistry achieves its peak of expression when he plays dance tunes, where he is inspired by the interplay between player and dancer.

Under his record label, Buen Kulturverkstad, he has been responsible for releasing over 100 recordings of and books on Norwegian folk music. Among these are recordings in the traditions of Myllarguten, Mosafinn and Fykerud.

He manages the concert hall Tuddal Amfi and the Tonehallen exhibition hall, located in his home town of Tuddal in Telemark. He also does folk art and paints in the rosemaling style.

Buen Kulturverkstad has one of the largest collections recorded folklore and folk music in Norway. Buen received numerous honors, including first prize at National Contest for Traditional 1983 1986, a lifetime grant from Norwegian Government, Royal Order St. Olav, Knight Class, 1999.


* Bjarnekvad og Knuteslåttar, with B. Øverbø (Buen Kulturverkstad MC 10, 1976)
* Sebyggje og teledøl, with Torleiv H. Bjørgum (Buen Kulturverkstad MC 007, 1979)
* Telemarkspel (Buen Kulturverkstad MC 11, 1981)
* Slåttesull og Fanitull (Buen Kulturverkstad KBMC 1, 1986)
* Imellom fjelli blå, with Bjarne Øverbø (Buen Kulturverkstad (MC) RUPE 02, 1983)
* Nordafjølls, with Agnes Buen Garnås (Buen Kulturverkstad (MC) RUPE 03, 1983)
* Jul med Rupesekken (Buen Kulturverkstad (MC) RUPE 7, 1095)
* På orgel og hardingfele, with Kåre Nordstoga (Buen Kulturverkstad (MC) BKMC 1, 1985)
* På gamle tufter. with S. Bratland, K. Nordstoga, G. Guttormsen, A. Buen Garnås, H. Håkanes, W. Carlstrøm and F. Kvalem ( Buen Kulturverkstad (MC) BKMC 2, 1985)
* Stem våre understrengjer, with Agnes Buen Garnås, Kåre Nordstoga, Erik Stenstadvold and Guttorm Guttormsen (Buen Kulturverkstad (MC) BKMC 22, 1988)
* Grieg Slåtter Op.72 with Einar Steen Nøkleberg (Simax Classics PSC 1040, 1988)
* Spel til dans 2 (Buen Kulturverkstad (MC) BKMC 30, 1989)
* Spel til dans 4 (Buen Kulturverkstad (MC) BKMC 32, 1989)
* Det spelar og syng i familien Buen (Buen Kulturverkstad (MC) BKMC 44a, 1991)
* Myllarfela, with Hauk Buen (Buen Kulturverkstad (MC) BKMC 41, 1991)
* Myllargutens minne, with Hauk Buen (Buen Kulturverkstad BKCD 2, 1992)
* Håvards draum (Buen Kulturverkstad BKCD 3, 1992)
* Fykerud’n (Buen Kulturverkstad BKCD 4, 1992)
* Høyversdagen (Buen Kulturverkstad (MC) BKMC 55, 1992)
* Bjølleslåtten, with Leif Rygg and Kåre Nordstoga (Buen Kulturverkstad BKCD 6, 1994)
* Attersyn (Buen Kulturverkstad BKCD 11, 1995) Samspel (Buen Kulturverkstad BKCD 12, 1995)
* Spel til dans (Buen Kulturverkstad BKCD 10, 1995)
* Stev og slått, with Agnes Buen Garnås (Buen Kulturverkstad BKCD 15, 1996)
* Huldrejenta (Sogespel 1) (Buen Kulturverkstad BKCD 17, 1996)
* Myllarfyken (Nottespel 1) (Buen Kulturverkstad BKCD 18, 1996)
* Langt inn i hugheimen, with Knut A.U. Snøås (BKCD 19, 1996) Fjelltrampen (Nottespel 2) (Buen Kulturverkstad BKCD 20, 1997)
* Ljos og skugge/Slått og Raga, with Guttorm Guttormsen and Shri Lal Sahajpal (Buen Kulturverkstad BKCD 21, 1997)
* Der og da (There and Then) (Buen Kulturverkstad BKCD 23, 1999)
* Spelemannsprøva, recordings from 1965 to 1976 (2001)
* Myllargutens draum, draumen om det store spelet, recordings from 1972-1997 (2001)
* Hjartekvad, text and tone poems (2005)
* Hardingrock – Grimen, with Vegard Sverre Tveitan and Heidi Solberg Tveitan (2007)


Artist Profiles: Karl Seglem

Karl Seglem in 2010 playing saxophone – Photo by Angel Romero


Karl Seglem was born in 1961 in Årdalstangen in Sogn. He’s one of the most important contemporary tenor saxophonists in Norway.

With the group Sogn-A-Song, the trio Utla and the duo Isglem, Seglem has consistently broken through musical boundaries with his wide range of musical perceptions and daring improvisational style.

Seglem’s influences include Norway’s rich folk music traditions and jazz, combined with his own sense of expression make his music a modern soundscape that gives equal weight to improvisation and composition. His saxophone tone is innovative in its use of breath, resonance and syncopation.

He also plays the Norwegian ram’s horn. Seglem’s music has a wide scope, ranging from folk to free form and world beat, inspired by and invoking Nordic nature. In addition to his many CD releases, he has composed several major works and has performed them in public.


Karl Seglem in 2010 playing Norwegian ram’s horn – Photo by Angel Romero


Seglem was awarded the Edvard prize in 1998 for his piece “Tya.”

Seglem has toured extensively throughout Norway and abroad.


* Poems for trio (NOR-CD HCRCD 49, 1988)
* Sogn-A-Song (NOR-CD 9101, 1991)
* Rom, with Isglem (NOR-CD 9102, 1991)
* To Steg, with Isglem (NOR-CD 9204, 1992)
* Utla (NOR-CD 9205, 1992)
* Juv, with Utla (NOR-CD 9309, 1993)
* Rit, with Sogn-A-Song (NOR-CD 9410, 1994)
* Brodd, with Utla (NOR-CD 9514, 1995)
* Null g, with Isglem (NOR-CD 9615, 1996)
* Prosa, with Jon Fosse (NOR-CD 9616, 1996)
* Tya, with Reidar Skår (NOR-CD 9717, 1997)
* Spir, with Sogn-A-Song (NOR-CD 9830, 1998)
* Dans, with Utla (NOR-CD 9935, 1999)
* Daa, with Henriksen, Seglem, Isungset (2000)
* Nye Nord (2002)
* Fire, with Isglem (2003)
* Song, with Utla (2003)
* Femstein (NorCD, 2004)
* Budda og reven Singie (NorCD, 2005)
* Reik (NorCD, 2005)
* Urbs (NorCD, 2006)
* Spelferd – a playful journey DVD (NorCD, 2008)
* NORSKjazz.no (NorCD, 2009)
* Skoddeheimen (NorCD, 2009)
* Draumkvedet (NorCD, 2009)
* Ossicles (NorCD, 2010)
* NyeSongar.no (Ozella Music, 2013)
* Som Spor (NorCD, 2014)
* Waves, with Christoph Stiefel (Challenge, 2015)
* Laerad The Tree (NorCD, 2015)
* Live In Germany (NorCD, 2015)
* WorldJazz (NorCD/Ozella, 2015)
* Nordic Balm (NorCD, 2016)


Artist Profiles: John Ole Morken

John Ole Morken

John Ole Morken, born in 1979, is a native of Holtålen County in the region of Røndelag, Norway. Holtålen, located south of Trondheim and bordering on Røros, has rich music and dance traditions whose history dates back more than 200 years.

In the 1990s, at a time when many feared for these traditions, an eager young fiddler named John Ole Morken turned up, with a burning interest in visiting old-timers to learn their tunes and tales.

John Ole showed unusual energy and spontaneity in his fiddling, and he comprehended the old playing style. Many welcomed his interest. He quickly became an active participant at local and regional fiddle gatherings, concerts and competitions.

Prizes and scholarships from national, regional and local cultural administration and organizations rewarded his talent and provided encouragement.

Since the late 1990’s, Morken has had the endorsement of Bjørn Aksdal of the Rff-Center (Center for the Norwegian Council for Folk Music and Folk Dance) in Trondheim. He has cooperated with Aksdal and the Center in a number of research projects and productions focused on traditional music and dance history in Norway, especially the Holtålen/Røros/Gauldalen region.

John Ole Morken

In his home community, Morken’s work has resulted in revival of old tunes and stories that had nearly been forgotten. His knowledge, enthusiasm and participation in various music and history clubs have stimulated interest in local, traditional culture among young and old.

Morken has also put in time as a student: He has earned a Bachelors degree in music from the University of Trondheim (NTNU) and has completed fiddle-studies at the Spelemannsskulen at Ole Bull Academy in Voss.

{{ :john_ole_morken_2-250.jpg|}}Excellent results at Norwegian folk music competitions – as solo fiddler, as member (and generator) of a multitude of groups and as leader for several fiddler clubs – attest to young Morkens’ quality and development as a fiddler and as a musician over
the years.

John Ole is often seen sharing the stage with Hardanger-fiddler Lajla Renate Buer Storli, with whom he lives in Lofthus, Hardanger.

John Ole Morken

On John Ole Morken’s debut, Slåtter fra Hessdalen, Haltdalen og Ålen, we meet an experienced, philosophical 28-year-old in late summer, 2007. He invited musician friends – Jørgen Nyrønning, Olav Mjelva, Tore Reppe, Ivar Schjølberg – and producer Bjørn Aksdal to participate in recording sessions at Bent Jacobsen’s log-cabin studio in Os, south of Røros.

John Ole has been a teacher in fiddle and guitar since 2000. He has also presented workshops in folk music and rock.

John Ole has several musical projects: the folk rock group Morka, a group called Rim, JoJo and Lajla-John Ole project.


* Slåtter fra Hessdalen, Haltdalen og Ålen – Traditional Norwegian Fiddle Tunes from Sor-Trondelag (2008)

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