Over 200 music professionals and 27 music acts were part of the inaugural Nordic Folk Alliance conference that took place April 10-12 in Gothenburg, Sweden, at the Waterfront Hotel.
Although the showcase section was focused on the Nordic countries of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland, delegates from Estonia, Canada, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States also took part.
Nordic Folk Alliance marks Folk Alliance International’s first formal international expansion. The Nordic Folk Alliance was overseen by representatives from Export Music Sweden, Music Norway, Music Finland, and Tempi (Denmark’s Roots Music office).
Åke Lundström, Folk Alliance International’s Nordic Representative stated, “It was really a great event, and I think that we succeeded in having the folk music community from the Nordic countries, in a professional level, talk with each other and work together.”
Groupa plays its own brand of modern Swedish folk music. Since 1980, the band has been in the vanguard of the Nordic roots music scene: deeply rooted in tradition, yet always embracing modern instrumentation and improvisation. In the music of Groupa, you find a composed picture of the traditions of yesterday, the whims of today, and the possibilities of tomorrow.
Groupa’s music emanates from the band’s three personalities’ innermost passions. Groupa draw much of their musical inspiration from ‘hallingar’ (a specialty of the Nordic folk song form that could be called a celebratory holler) as well as waltzes and polskas, both traditional and newly-composed. All these elements contribute to the rhythmic drive that gives their music its own tone and color.
Over the years, many important figures in the Nordic music scene have worked with Groupa, including Ale Moller and Lena Willemark from Frifot and the Nordan Project, Hallbus Totte Mattsson from Hedningarna, and Gustav Hylen from Hoven Droven.
In 1991 they were awarded the top Swedish music award for their album Manskratt. The jury’s verdict read: “For pulling the old woolly feeling off folk music with a curious smile!”
In 1992, the band’s founder, Mats Eden, was appointed the Composer of the Year at the “Musik vid Siljan” festival. The band won its second Swedish award (equivalent to the Grammy in the US) in 1996 for their album Imeland.
In 1998, NorthSide marked the band’s achievements with Fifteen Years, a 70-minute collection of some of their finest moments and their first North American record release.
Their blending of old folk melodies, contemporary improvisational style and creative instrumentation has influenced a whole generation of musicians.
Groupa are: Mats Eden on fiddles and accordion; Jonas Simonson on flutes and bass saxophone; and Terje Isungset on percussion.
Av Bara Farten (Amigo Music, 1983)
Vildhonung (Amigo Music, 1985)
Utan Sans (Amigo Music AMCD 721, 1988)
Manskratt, with Lena Willemark (Amigo Music AMCD 725, 1990) Imeland (Amigo AMCD 73, 1995)
Fifteen Years (NorthSide NSD615, 1997), retrospective compilation Lavalek (Europe: Xource/ North America: NorthSide NSD63, 1999)
Fjalar (Xource 134, 2002)
Frost (Footprint FRCD4, 2008)
Hedningarna – Kult (Silence Records SRSCD-4771, 2016)
Throughout the years, Swedish band Hedningarna taped a lot of great material during recording sessions that never made it to an album. Kult is a collection of previously unreleased material, spanning two decades, 1992 and 2006. The 20 songs were mixed by producer Dag Lundqvist.
Hedningarna became a sensation in the 1990s with its fantastic mix of Nordic folk and beautiful Finnish female runic singing. The group attracted tens of thousands of followers beyond Scandinavia, including Spain, far to the south.
The Hedningarna lineup changed throughout the years and the CD booklet helps the listener figure out who was around at a given time. Two members remained as the essence of Hedningarna throughout all these years, multi-instrumentalists Anders Norudde and Hållbus Totte Mattsson.
On Kult you’ll listen to a wide-range of traditional acoustic instruments and vocals. The song mix is remarkable, featuring irresistible up-tempo pieces as well as mesmeric songs.
Hedningarna has influenced numerous folk musicians in Scandinavia and beyond and you can see why on Kult.
Frigg specializes in the rich folk heritage from Finland and Norway. The musicians combine elements of their respective folk traditions with touches of American Appalachian bluegrass and country & western music.
The seven-piece band contains three young Järvelä, two sons and a daughter of the most famous fiddle family in Finland, whose fathers and uncles founded JPP, and two Larsen brothers, members of a comparable Norwegian Hardanger fiddle clan. The traditional sounds are then boosted with innovative arrangements, and combined with mandola, cittern, double bass, guitar and dobro.
Frigg has been impressing festival audiences in Scandinavia and creating a phenomenal sensation among listeners and fellow musicians. Their debut CD, Frigg, was co-produced by Timo Alakotila.
With Oasis, the Finnish/Norwegian string band returned with a great new set of inventive tunes. Using traditional music as the starting point and their family ties to the great Finnish fiddle ensemble JPP, creating remarkable string music that incorporates elements of bluegrass and other American folk influences.
While a few compositions on their second CD, are given some expanded instrumentation, the highlight remains strong tunes, such as the hauntingly beautiful title track, and the crowd-pleasing “Fantomen,” that was very well received when the band appeared on the American public radio program “A Prairie Home Companion” on October 1, 2005.