Tag Archives: Hardanger fiddle

Interview with Sver’s Olav Luksengård Mjelva

Scandinavian band Sver will be touring North America this month. The ensemble includes musicians from Norway and Sweden. Sver will be presenting its new album Reverie, a set of musical pieces that combine acoustic Nordic folk, bluegrass influences and powerful beats through the use of a drum set.

Sver’s discography includes Sver ‎(Kvarts, 2007), Fruen (ta:lik, 2010), Snakka San & Sver ‎(Playground Music Scandinavia, 2014), Fryd ‎(Folkhall Records, 2015) and Reverie ‎(Folkhall Records, 2018).

Fiddler Olav Luksengård Mjelva talked to World Music Central about Sver and the upcoming tour.

Sver – Photo by Tom Gustavsen

Sver includes Norwegian and Swedish musicians, how did you all meet?

Leif Ingvar (accordion) and myself grew up in a small mining town in Norway. We started playing together when we were around 15. We had some ideas about getting a guitarist to join us, and that happened around 2005. Then it’s a lot of coincidences, but in short, we met Jens and Anders through the Ole Bull Academy, the music college in Norway, and then Adam, the guitarist, joined us later.

The members of the band live in different cities and countries. How do you coordinate tours, rehearsals and recordings?

We usually decide some dates for rehearsing, say 2-5 days. When it comes to touring, it really doesn’t make a big difference living in different cities. We meet up where we are going to play, anyway.

How has your style evolved throughout the years?

I would say we have gotten a bigger and more “epic” sound throughout the years. In the beginning we were focusing very much on arranging traditional tunes in a folk-rocky way. These past few years we have written more tunes ourselves, which suits the setting better. We also are thinking more about making music for big venues and festivals now.

Sver live – Photo by Anbjørg Myhra Bergwitz

Your sound combines traditional acoustic instruments with powerful, rock style drums. Do you reach any other audiences beyond the folk music circuit?

I feel that we reach out to all kinds of people. I would describe our music as acoustic folk-rock. There is a lot of energy in the way we play, but many “traditional” folk musicians also seem to find our music entertaining. So I guess — and hope — there is something to like for everyone!

In your recordings you incorporate Scandinavian folk music plus other influences like Celtic music and American bluegrass. Where do you get your inspiration from?

That’s a good question. We all have played so much Scandinavian music, so even if we would try to play an American bluegrass tune, it would probably sound Scandinavian.

Tell us a little about your latest album Reverie.

This is my favorite of our albums. The arrangements have a big range, from the large, epic tunes to the pounding, bluegrass-y tunes. We also got to work with some great people at Hedgehog Music in Sweden, and I´m very happy with the soundscape of the album.

Sver – Reverie

You will be touring North America in September. What’s the lineup and what material will you be playing?

The lineup is myself on fiddle and hardanger fiddle, Anders Hall on fiddle and viola, Adam Johansson on guitar and Jens Linell on drums. We will mostly play music from our two latest albums, Fryd and Reverie. Hope to see you there!

Sver 2019 Tour Dates:

Sept 5 – Portland, OR – Nordia House
Sept 6-8 – Sisters, OR – Sisters Folk Festival
Sept 9 – Olympia, WA – Traditions Café
Sept 10 – Bellingham, WA – Wild Buffalo
Sept 11 – Seattle, WA – Triple Door
Sept 13-15 – Montreal, Quebec, Canada – La Grande Rencontre (with Moira Smiley 9/15)
Sept 17-18 – Cambridge, MA – Club Passim (SVER and Friends 9/17; with Moira Smiley 9/18)
Sept 19 – Glens Falls, NY – The Folklife Center, Crandall Public Library (with Moira Smiley)
Sept 20 – New Haven, VT – Epic Little Folk Festival, Tourterelle (with Moira Smiley)
Sept 21 – Shelbourne, VT – Shelbourne Farms Harvest Festival (11:00am)
Sept 21 – Hamden, CT – Best Video Film and Cultural Center (8:30pm)
Sept 22 – Bryn Athyn, PA – (House Concert)

headline photo: Sver live by Anbjørg Myhra Bergwitz


Hardanger Fiddle Beauty from Benedicte Maurseth

Benedicte Maurseth – Benedicte Maurseth

Benedicte Maurseth – Benedicte Maurseth (Heilo, 2019)

This self-titled album features exquisite solo performances on the hardanger fiddle by Norwegian fiddler and composer Benedicte Maurseth.

Most of the pieces on Benedicte Maurseth are traditional tunes recreated by Benedicte Maurseth. They are transformed into mesmerizing chamber folk performances highlighting the simple beauty of solo hardanger fiddle.

Buy Benedicte Maurseth


Artist Profiles: Åse Teigland

Åse Teigland

Åse Teigland was born in 1975. She comes from Utne in Hardanger. She is one of Norway’s talented ardanger fiddle players, and plays with authentic feeling and elegance.

Åse Teigland studied with several well-known fiddlers, including Knut Hamre, Stein Versto and Leif Rygg. She studied at the Folkemusikakademiet in Rauland (1994-96), Bergen University College and the Ole Bull Academy at Voss (1998-2000).

She has collaborated with Knut Hamre, Frank Rolland, Synnøve S. Bjørset, Anne Hytta, and Alexander Aga Røynstrand.

Åse Teigland’s repertoire consists primarily of traditional songs and tunes from Hardanger and Voss.


Dansarsteinen ‎(NORCD, 1998)
Håstabøslåttar ‎(Heilo, 1999)
Stille ‎(NORCD, 2008)
Soli ‎(ta:lik, 2010)
Granvin – Spelarhola ‎(ta:lik, 2014)


Artist Profiles: Vegar Vårdal

Vegar Vårdal

Vegar Vårdal performs on the regular fiddle and the hardingfele (hardanger fiddle), the Norwegian fiddle with sympathetic strings. He performs both solo and with groups, for concerts and dances for many types of organizations and events.

He has performed numerous concerts and tours both in Norway and abroad. He has appeared as a studio musician in numerous radio and TV programs, and has also made many recordings.

Vegar offers performances based on themes taken from folk music, folk dance and Norwegian folk culture. He also teaches Norwegian folk music or dance to groups or individuals, and gives lectures.

He has had experience in teaching from the elementary school level up to the university level.

He was a member of Rusk.


* Norske turdansar (Norwegian Figure Dances) I, II and III
* Hueknuden Danseslåttar frå Vest-Agder (Dance Tunes from West Agder)
* Danseslåttar frå Finnmark (Dance Tunes from Finnmark)
* Pols i Rørostraktom (Pols in Røros)
* Wizard Women of the North
* Rusk (Heilo HCD7179)


Artist Profiles: Valkyrien Allstars

Valkyrien Allstars – Photo by Geir Dokken

Norwegian band Valkyrien Allstars plays new music based on traditional Norwegian tunes.

The band’s vibrant sound is characterized by the soulful and powerful vocals of Tuva Syvertsen combined with three funky hardanger fiddles, bass, drums and collective improvisatio. The group was awarded the “Folk Music Artist of the year” in Norway in 2009.

Band Members: Tuva Syvertsen on vocals and Hardanger fiddle; Ola Hilmen on vocals and Hardanger fiddle; Erik Sollid on vocals and Hardanger fiddle.


* Valkyrien Allstars (Heilo/Grappa, 2007)
* To Måner (Heilo/Grappa HCD-7240, 2009)
* Ingen Hverdag (Heilo, 2011)
* Farvel Slekt Og Venner (Heilo, 2014)


Artist profiles: Synnøve S. Bjørset

Synnøve S. Bjørset – Photo by Photo by Vegard Fimland

Synnøve S. Bjørset is one of the leading performers of traditional Hardanger fiddle music today. At her concerts she presents a collection of little-known tunes and recreations of familiar Norwegian standards, playing a wide range of scordatura (cross-tuning) tunings.

She regularly performs with fiddle group Majorstuen. Over the past few years, her performances have won her a series of awards.


* Marylands (Heilo, 2001)
* RAM (NorCd, 2001)
* Kalvik Klassisk (2002)
* Majorstuen (2L, 2003)
* New North (Ozella/NorCd, 2004)
* Hardanger Fiddle (NorCd, 2004)
* Majorstuen, with Majorstuen (2L, 2002)
* Jorun Jogga, Majorstuen (MFC, 2004)
* Juledrøm, with Majorstuen (MFC, 2006)
* Slåttar (ta:lik, 2009)
* Jølster 2012 (ta:lik, 2012)


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)