Tag Archives: Norwegian music

Artist Profiles: Unni Boksasp

Unni Boksasp

Unni Boksasp is a traditional folk singer from Nordmøre in the northwest coast of Norway. She now lives in Telemark, in the southern part of the country.

She is an artist with a broad musical horizon, working free-lance both as a solo singer and in different ensembles. The traditional folk songs of Nordmøre constitute her core repertoire, with Manghild Almhjell as her main source. In addition she has, through her mentor Hanne Kjersti Yndestad, learned and worked in-depth with the singing traditions of Telemark.

During the last years she has been working a lot both on arranging traditional music for different ensembles and composing new music based on her own tradition. The bands Æppel pæppel and Brann i Blått (Blue fire), the Swedish/ Norwegian duo Boksasp and Jones duo, and the fairytale ensemble Hopp Helling are all projects where she has been working with both arranged music and theatrical performances. She has also worked with newly written music by well known Norwegian composers such as Henning Sommerro and Henrik Ødegaard.

Unni Boksasp

In the spring of 2005 she graduated from three years of studying at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden. Prior to this she is a bachelor in folk arts from at the Telemark University College.

In May 2004 she was granted a rare two year government guaranteed income for artists by the Arts Council Norway. Since 2006 she works part time as a teacher of traditional singing at the very institution where she started out with folk singing many years ago, The Telemark University College.


* Songs from Havdal – Songar frå Havdal (Talik, 2007)
* Keramello (2010)
* Kvite fuglar (2013)
* Fem små ord (2015)


Artist Profiles: Trygve Seim

Trygve Seim – Photo by Antonio Armentano www.antarm.org

Inspired early in his creative life by Jan Garbarek and by Edward Vesala, Trygve Seim has worked in many modern jazz contexts, and continues to tour with Manu Katché’s group.

In his own music, however, distance from conventional definitions of jazz becomes ever more marked. Investigation of Asian, Middle Eastern and East European music – and especially the sounds of the Armenian duduk, the Japanese shakuhachi, and the Indian bansuri flute – have had their effect on Seim’s music and brought about a redefining of the nature of dynamics. Subtle shadings and textures are part of his diversity, and microtonal phrasing characteristic of his melodic approach.

In additional to his discography as a leader and as a member of The Source, Trygve Seim appears on ECM recordings by Iro Haarla (Northbound), Sinikka Langeland (Starflowers), Christian Wallumrød (Sofienberg Variations), and Manu Katché (Playground). Other recent activities have included extended stays in Cairo, where Seim studied Arabian modes and played concerts with pianist Fathy Salama.

Trygve Seim – Photo by Antonio Armentano www.antarm.org

Seim frequently collaborates with accordionist Frode Haltli, with whom he shares an interest in the expressive potential of acoustic music across all stylistic boundaries, from world folk traditions to contemporary composition. The accordionist joined Seim’s large ensemble for live performances after the release of Different Rivers in 2000, and participated in the recording of later that year, as well as Sangam (recorded 2002-2004). He continues to tour regularly with Seim’s large ensemble. Trygve and Frode have been playing in duo since 2001. Yeraz is the first documentation of their work in this format.

Seim’s ECM debut Different Rivers won the annual prize of the German Record Critics (Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik in 2001).


* Airamero, with Christian Wallumrød, Johannes Eick, Per Oddvar Johansen (ODIN Records NJ 40492, 1994)
* http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00008FHPC?ie=UTF8&tag=musidelmund-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B00008FHPC | Olemanns kornett, with The Source (Curling Legs CLCD 63, 1994)
* The Source: of Christmas, with The Source (Curling Legs CLCD 63, 1996)
* Decoy, with Havard Lund, Njål Ølnes and Audun Kleive (Turn Left Productions TURNCD497, 1998)
* The MotorSource Massacre, with Motorpsycho and The Source (Stickman Records 3RD EAR 0200, 2000)
* Different Rivers (ECM Records ECM 1744, 2001)
* Live In The North, with 1300 Oslo (Curling Legs CLCD 63, 2001)
* The Source and Different Cikadas, with Øyvind Brække and Per Oddvar Johansen (ECM Records , ECM 1764, 2002)
* Sangam (ECM Records ECM 1797, 2004)
* The Source, with The Source (ECM Records ECM 1966, 2006)
* The Source: of Christmas – “Live” (GRAPPA Records GRCD 4215, 2007)
* Yeraz, with Frode Haltli (ECM Records ECM 2044, 2008)
* Purcor (ECM Records ECM 2186, 2010)
* Rumi Songs (ECM Records ECM 2449, 2016)

Web site www.trygveseim.no


Artist Profiles: Transjoik

Transjoik – Photo by Lasse Berre

Transjoik is a Sami group out of Norway. Where tradition and modernity have long been the two sole absolutes of the enigmatic path of the Sami people, Transjoik music represents an alternative route to the future.

Transjoik are two percussionists, one guitarist and a keyboard player. Four highly individualistic musicians who, besides playing a unique brand of music, also use their voices in such a way that defies description! Guttural chants, subterranean murmur and supernatural screams are some of the expressions that have been used in an attempt to describe Transjoik’s vocal renditions.

The music is rooted in the traditional Saami joik or yoik, but Transjoik has transformed this into a unique style. Based on old joik wax recordings, Transjoik have developed a modern, yet timeless, evocative musical environment. The music can be hypnotic, exciting, vital and powerful. To many it also has a sacred, religious or supernatural dimension. If one had to classify this music, the terms ambient, trance and techno would come to mind. World music could also be used unambiguously. At any rate, Transjoik have taken this genre to new heights.

Transjoik – Photo by Ole Hesledalen

Joiking is one of the oldest musical forms in Europe, but it has a strong and durable energy that ensures its lasting presence. It describes people, nature, the environment, and transmits a primitive force that stimulates both body and soul. Transjoik have developed the joiks, mixed them with elements from our daily urban life, and created something that is fascinatingly unique.

Transjoik released their third album Meavraa in 2002. Meavraa is an old South Sami expression that means “the vocal sound of the shaman calling for his helping spirit.”

In 2005, Transjoik’s CD, Uja Nami, was nominated for Spellemannsprisen, the most important Norwegian music award.

Transjoik toured Norway and Germany in 2008, including projects together with Sher Miandad Khan, Susanne Lundeng and Mari Boine.

Band members: Frode Fjellheim, Tor Haugerud, Nils-Olav Johansen, and Snorre Bjerck.


* Saajve Dance (Idut, 1994)
* Mahkalahke (Warner, 1997)
* Meavraa (Warner, 2000)
* Remix Project EP (Transjoik 2003)
* Uja Nami (Vuelie, 2004)
* Bewafá (Vuelie 2005)

Web site www.transjoik.com


Artist Profiles: Tone Hulbækmo

Tone Hulbækmo

Award-winning Norwegian artist Tone Hulbækmo was born in 1957 in Tolga in Østerdalen. She’s a vocalist with broad repertoire, ranging European medieval and renaissance music to Norwegian folk modern songs. Hulbækmo bases her vocal style on old traditions Østerdalen that she has modernized given personal twist.

She’s also active as an instrumentalist, composer and arranger. Tone Hulbækmo has given new life into the Norwegian harp tradition, and developed her own style. In the group Kalenda Maya she plays medieval renaissance music from Spain, Italy, France, Germany and Norway.

Tone Hulbækmo has collaborated with folk musicians all corners of globe, leading to exciting musical combinations and tours throughout world. Hulbækmo introduces Østerdalen electronic loops as well as fiery dance rhythms.


* Kåmmå No (1983, reissued in 1999 by Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7024)
* Medieval and Renaissance Music, with Kalenda Maya (Grappa Musikkforlag PSC 1017, 1985)
* Svevende Jord (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7040, 1986)
* Langt Nord i Skogen (Kirkelig Kulturverksted FXCD 78, 1989)
* Norske Middelalderballader (Kirkelig Kulturverksted FXCD 82, 1989)
* Folk Music from Norway (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7078, 1993)
* Norsk Folkemusikk 3 (Hedmark) (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4063, 1995)
* Konkylie (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4095, 1995)
* Pilegrimsreiser, with Kalenda Maya (Kirkelig Kulturverksted FXCD 184, 1997)
* Jol, with Hans Fredrik Jacobsen (Via Music VCD 375, 1998)
* Wizard Women of the North, with various artists (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7138, 1998)
* Kyrja (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7147, 1999)
* Nordic Woman (Grappa Music, 2012)
* Stifinner (Heilo Records, 2016)


Artist Profiles: Tindra


Tindra consists of Åshild Vetrhus (vocal), Jorun Marie Kvernberg (fiddles) and Irene Tillung (accordion). The trio plays both traditional tunes as well as their own compositions based on Norwegian traditional music.

Tindra collaborated with acclaimrd Polish trio Kroke and with Georgian composer, singer and pianist Russudan Meipariani.


Lukkeleg vaking (ta:lik records 2006)
Den kvite hjorten, with Helge Jordal (Ta:lik, 2009)
Moder Norge (Ta:lik, 2011)
Tindra & Kroke – Live in Førde (Ta:lik, 2011)


Artist Profiles: Terje Isungset

Terje Isungset – Photo by Emile Holba

Terje Isungset was born in 1964. He is regarded as one of the most creative, uncompromising and distinctive percussionists in Norway. He has spent many years developing his own unique mode expression, crafted instruments himself, using materials found in natural surroundings.

Isungset performs throughout the year with various bands from Norway and other European countries, including Swedish band Groupa.

Isungset has made a major contribution on various folk music CDs. The many years he has spent working to create a genuine, rhythmic dimension in his music have enabled him to develop a distinctly individual musical identity built on Norwegian sounds.


Terje Isungset – Photo by B. Furuseth


In additional to conventional percussion, Isungset has experimented and performed with glass and ice percussion instruments, ice horns and other creations.




Orleysa (Odin NJ 4039-2, 1991)

Rom, with Isglem (NOR-CD 9102, 1991)

To steg, with Isglem (NOR-CD 9204, 1992)

Juv Utla (NOR-CD 9309, 1993)

Svanshornet, with Orleysa (Odin NJ 4048-2, 1993)

Rit, with Karl Seglem (NOR-CD 9410, 1994)

Haugtussa, with Lynni Treekrem and Ketil Bjornstad (Kirkelig Kulturverksted FXCD 159, 1995)

Brodd, with Utla (NOR-CD 9514, 1995)

Okuta Percussion (Osika Eucd 1343, 1996)

Null g, with Isglem (NOR-CD 9615, 1996)

Tya, with Reidar Sk?r and Karl Seglem (NOR-CD 9717, 1997)

Reise (NOR-CD 9724, 1997)

Trad, with Niss Kerstin Hallgren (Amigo AMCD 739, 1998)

Spir, with Karl Seglem (NOR-CD 9830, 1998)

Jol, with Hans Fredrik Jacobsen (Via Music VCD 375, 1998)

Lavalek, with Groupa (Xoucd 125, 1999)

Dans, with Utla (NOR-CD 9935, 1999)

Bergtatt, with Oslo Chamber Choir (Kirkelig Kulturverksted FXCD 214, 1999)

Floating Rhythms (Via Music, 2000)

Iceman Is (All Ice Records, 2002)

Middle of Mist (NorCD, 2003)

Igloo (All Ice Records, 2006)

Two Moons (All Ice Records, 2007)

Ice Concerts (All Ice Records, 2008)

Hibernation (All Ice Records, 2009)

Winter Songs (All Ice Records, 2010)

World Of Glass, with Arve Henriksen (All Ice Records, 2014)

Meditations (All Ice Records, 2015)

Terje Isungset & Stian Westerhus (All Ice Records, 2015)

Isslottet (All Ice Records, 2015)

Oase, with Sissel Vera Pettersen (All Ice Records, 2016)

Web site: www.isung.net


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: Susanne Lundeng

Susanne Lundeng – Photo by Ingvil Skeie Ljones


Susanne Lundeng was born in 1969 in Bodø, Nordland County, Norway. She studied violin at the local music school, starting at the age of nine. She has been involved in important efforts to collect traditional tunes from older fiddlers in her region. Her work was especially significant since many of the fiddlers were quite advanced in age, and have now passed away.

Lundeng has been highly praised and is greatly respected for her work. Her music showcases her involvement in the rich tradition of the northern area of Norway. Lundeng is known for her energetic playing style and her ability to communicate with her audience.




* Havella (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7067, 1991)
* Drag (Kirkelig Kulturverksted FXCD 140, 1994)
* Norsk Folkemusikk 10 (Folkemusikk frå Nord-Noreg og Sameland) (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4070, 1995)
* Ættesyn (Kirkelig Kulturverksted FXCD 178, 1997)
* Vals Til Den Røde Fela (Kirkelig Kulturverksted, 2000)
* Forunderlig Ferd (Kirkelig Kulturverksted, 2004)
* Aejlies Gaaltije, with Frode Fjellheim (Vuelie, 2004)
* Nattevak (Kirkelig Kulturverksted, 2006)
* Waltz For The Red Fiddle (Laika, 2010)
* Mot (Kirkelig Kulturverksted, 2011)
* Wire and String, with Rolf Wallin (Simax Classics, 2011)
* Flåte, with Hammer & Hersk (Norway Music, 2013)
* Et steg ut (Kirkelig Kulturverksted, 2014)

web site: www.susannelundeng.no


Artist Profiles: Steinar Ofsdal

Steinar Ofsdal – Photo by Miriam Johanne Ofsdal Berg

Steinar Ofsdal was born in 1948 in Oslo, Norway. He has a varied musical background and is regarded as one of Norway’s top flute players.

He has worked within several musical genres in addition to folk music. Throughout the years he has collected instruments from all over the world, and his solo CD features compositions tailored specifically to these instruments. Ofsdal has collaborated with many other musicians, and is a member of the group Bukkene Bruse.


* Bukkene Bruse (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4053, 1993)
* Åre, with Bukkene Bruse (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4100, 1995)
* Seljefløyta, with Hallgrim Berg and Hans Fredrik Jacobsen (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7131, 1997)
* Steinstolen, with Bukkene Bruse (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7145, 1998)
* The Stone Chair, with «Bukkene Bruse» (North Side, 1999)
* Oslo-viser (Tylden & Co, 2000)
* På Stengrunn (Grappa 2001)
* Den fagraste rosa, with Bukkene Bruse (Grappa, 2001)
* The Loveliest Rose, with Bukkene Bruse (North Side, 2002)
* Sjøfløyta (Heilo, 2004)
* Spel, with “Bukkene Bruse” (Heilo, 2004)
* Kaké, with Aw-Ofsdal-Sereba (2004)
* Live at Sioux Falls, (Grappa GRCD4237, 2006)
* Sviv (Musikk & mystikk MMCD0801, 2008)
* Fjellfløyta/Vårfløyta (Musikk & mystikk MMCD0802, 2009)

Web Site: www.ofsdal.no


Artist Profiles: Sinikka Langeland

Sinikka Langeland – Photo by Dag Alveng

Born in 1961 to a Norwegian father and a Finnish mother from Karelia, Langeland was given a Finnish name, Sinikka, and felt the influence of two nationalities and cultures from the beginning. She lives in Finnskogen, 120 km north of Oslo, close to the border of Sweden. Finnskogen, the ‘Finnish forest,’ was first populated by Finns in the 17th century.

After an early education in classical music Sinikka started to look at contemporary folk music and the singer-songwriter genre, but this was soon displaced by an interest in older forms, intensifying as her research continued and underlined by a wish to “create an original music rooted in my own area, taking account of local possibilities and looking back into history to find out more.”

She highlights that her specific musical journey has “always been about searching. I love folksong but I’m not exclusively a traditional folk singer. There were always influences coming from other places, too.”

At 20 she changed from guitar to kantele, the Finnish table harp. She plays the 39-string concert kantele, with its five-octave range. “At first it was just an experiment – I thought it would be fun to have a Finnish instrument for one or two songs. But I became completely fascinated by it.” Meanwhile she was expanding her repertoire to include rune songs, incantations, ancient melodies from Finland and Karelia, as well as little known medieval ballads and religious folk songs.

Sinikka Langeland

Her work has flowed in several directions simultaneously. She gives, for instance, solo performances with voice and kantele, and she gives duo concerts in churches, together with organist Kare Nordstoga, in which old folk songs and Easter hymns are placed alongside with J.S. Bach’s transformations of the same sources. And, since the early 1990s, she has been working and recording with jazz musicians as part of her ensembles.

Swedish bassist Anders Jormin has been a regular colleague for more than a dozen years, joining her for the first time on the recording ‘Har du lyttet til elvene om natta’ (Grappa, 1995). Sinnika also played regularly with drummer Markku Ounaskari, a backbone of the Finnish jazz scene.

Sinikka’s songs often focus on the relationship between people and nature as it is expressed in traditional and modern poetry. Her CD Starflowers (ECM, 2007) includes her versions of the poems of Hans Borli (1918-89) and is performed with a remarkable ensemble that opens up the songs to improvisation. In its interweaving of folksong, literature, and Nordic jazz it may be considered a typical ECM production, but it is also a consistent extension of the work Sinikka has been developing over the last decades.


* Langt innpå skoga (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4074, 1994)
* Har du lyttet til elvene om natta? (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4107, 1995)
* Det syng, with Anne Marit Jacobsen, Halvor Håkanes, Eli Storbekken and Agnes Buen Garnås (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4123, 1997)
* Strengen var af røde guld (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4136, 1997)
* Lille Rosa (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7156, 1999)
* Starflowers (ECM, 2007)
* Maria’s Song (ECM 2127, 2009)
* The Land That Is Not (ECM, 2011)
* The Half-Finished Heaven (ECM Records, 2015)
* The Magical Forest (2016)

Web Site: www.sinikka.no