Artist Profiles: Annbjørg Lien

Annbjørg Lien – Photo by Angel Romero, 2010

Annbjørg Lien (born 1971) is one of Norway’s most famous Hardanger fiddle players. She has courageously presented Hardanger fiddle folk music in new musical contexts, in combination with guitar, flute, percussion and electronic instruments.

She comes from a musical family, and studied Hardanger fiddle with her father in addition to classical violin at Ålesund Music School. Annbjørg later studied privately with other fiddlers, including Hauk Buen of Telemark.

Several symphony orchestras have engaged Annbjørg as a guest soloist to perform compositions written for the Hardanger fiddle, such as Geirr Tveitt’s “Tri fjordar”. She has made many television and radio appearances, including a TV special in memory of King Olav V.

In addition to pursuing her solo career, she is a member of the popular group Bukkene Bruse. She is strongly devoted to traditional music. Using music from her home district, Sunnmøre, as a basis, she plays music arranged for unusual combinations of instruments and writes her own material.

Lien has a way of infusing new hues and new life into folk music, and has gained an international reputation. She creates modern folk music with broad appeal, has toured all over the world, and has collaborated with folk musicians from many countries. In 1998 she was the first folk musician to receive a government-sponsored grant to establish her career abroad.

In 2007 she participated in the CD and DVD from String Sisters titled Live. The String Sisters is a collaboration of the Celtic music world’s top female fiddlers; Annbjørg Lien, Catriona Macdonald from Shetland, Liz Carroll and Liz Knowles from the United States of America, Mairead ni Mhaonaigh (Altan) from Ireland and Emma Härdelin from Sweden.
On March 10 of 2008 she released Waltz with me. The album features Bruce Molsky, Mikael Marin, Christine Hanson and Kirsten Bråten Berg.

In 2010, Annbjørg made a duo recording titled Alle Vegne with folk singer Sondre Bratland.

“Khoom Loy”, released in 2012 has a world music focus. It’s a tribute to a ritual in Asia: releasing lanterns in remembrance of the dead, or as a prayer for a good life. “Khoom Loy” is the Thai name for these lanterns that are made of rice paper and bamboo. Annbjørg is joined by six musicians from Nepal as well as her band.

The 2015 album “Drifting like a bird” is a CD version of a commissioned work she composed for the North Sea Festival in Farsund in 2013, about life at sea and on land around the North Sea Basin. The album features Annbjørg Lien on vocals, chorus, Hardanger fiddle, nyckelharpa; Roger Tallroth on 12-string guitar, bowed guitar, choir, irish bouzouki, tenor guitar, terz guitar, ukulele; Anders Løfberg on cello, bass, backing vocals; Tori Wrånes on vocals, accordion, backing vocals, ship`s bell; Cathy Jordan on bodhran, bones, vocals; Bjørn Ole Rasch on backing vocals, Hammond B3, harmonium, kalimba, mellotron; and Rune Arnesen on backing vocals, drums, percussion.


* Eg er liten eg, men eg vågar meg (Grappa Musikkforlag (MC) PNK 8215, 1983)
* Annbjørg (Kirkelig Kulturverksted FXCD 88, 1989)
* Bukkene Bruse, with Bukkene Bruse (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4053, 1993)
* Felefeber (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4081, 1994)
* Åre, with Bukkene Bruse (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4100, 1995)
* Prisme (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4113, 1996)
* Steinstolen, with Bukkene Bruse (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7145, 1998)
* Baba Yaga (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4158, 1999)
* Aliens alive (Northside NSD 6068, 2002)
* | Waltz With Me (Compass Records, 2008)
* Come Home (Grappa, 2009)
* Alle Vegne (Kirkelig Kulturverksted FXCD 358, 2010)
* Khoom Loy (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7250, 2012)
* Drifting like a bird (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD7292, 2015)

Web site:

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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