Tag Archives: Norwegian music

Artist profiles: Bjarne Herrefoss

Bjarne Herrefoss

Bjarne Herrefoss was born ‌in 1931. He was a fiddler who could be called legend in his own time. Intensely personal playing style gives him special position the Norwegian folk music community.

Herrefoss grew up in a rich folk music milieu midTelemark, where he was taught and inspired by the most important performers. has performed at countless gatherings concerts for almost 50 years. is known his great charisma free, intuitive interpretations of fiddle tunes.

He won first prize National Contest Traditional four times in the period 19671991.

Bjarne Herrefoss passed away on May 15, 2002.)


* Draumespel (Buen Kulturverkstad BKMC 39, 1993)
* Norsk Folkemusikk 6 (Telemark) (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4066, 1995)
* Meisterspel, with various artists (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7132, 1997)
* Toneflaum, with Hallvard T. Bjørgum and Knut Hamre (Sylvartun SYLVCD 6, 1998)


Artist Profiles: Berit Opheim

Berit Opheim

Berit Opheim (born 1967) is a highly respected and talented folk singer, and is one of the foremost singers of traditional music from western Norway.

She won the first prize in the National Contest for Traditional Music in 1992, 1995 and 1996. During the past 10 years she has participated in many recordings and has toured in Norway and abroad. She has received several awards and is a member of various folk music ensembles.

Opheim sings primarily folk songs from her home town, Voss. Her repertoire spans a wide range, and she has collaborated with jazz musicians and other contemporary musicians. Her first solo release was recorded in one of Norway’s oldest churches, the stave church at Urnes in Sogn.


* Orleysa (Odin NJ 4039-2, 1991)
* Svanshornet, with Orleysa (Odin NJ 4048-2, 1993)
* Dåm, with Oslo Chamber Choir (Kirkelig Kulturverksted FXCD 147, 1995)
* Blå Harding, with Nils Økland (Morild 1, 1996)
* Eitt steg (NOR-CD 9618, 1997)
* Dédicace (Gilles Obermayer GO 005, 1998)
* Spir, with Karl Seglem (NOR-CD 9830, 1998)
* Fryd (Vossa Jazz Records VJ 98004-2, 1998)
* Folketonar frå Hordaland, with Reidun Horvei (Included with a book, Det Norske Samlaget, 1998)
* Bergtatt, with Oslo Chamber Choir (Kirkelig Kulturverksted FXCD 214, 1999)
* Slåttar på tunga (2L 2L46SACD, 2007)
* Norskjazz.No, with Karl Seglem (2009)
* Rós: Songs Of Christmas (2013)
* Aquilonis (ECM, 2014)


Artist Profiles: Arve Moen Bergset

Arve Moen Bergset was born in 1972. He grew up in Vinje, Telemark, an area with a rich folk music tradition. He studied the kveding vocal tradition with Sondre Bratland.

Bergset’s debut was unusual: in 1987, at the age of 15, he performed at the Spellemannpris awards ceremony.

His first solo CD was released later that year, and won the prestigious Spellemannpris award in 1988. The follow-up recording, “Religiøse folketoner” (Religious Folk Songs) was released in 1997, and illustrates his superb development as a kvedar (traditional vocalist), accompanied by the violin and organ.

Bergset is also a member of the group Bukkene Bruse. He is a trained violinist, and has performed as a soloist with various orchestras and ensembles.


* Litle Fuglen (Buen Kulturverkstad (MC) BKMC 8, 1986)
* Arvesølv (Kirkelig Kulturverksted FXCD 68, 1987)
* Fjøllmanntonar, with various artists (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7083, 1993)
* Bukkene Bruse (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4053, 1993)
* Åre, with Bukkene Bruse (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4100, 1995)
* Religiøse folketonar, with Kåre Nordstoga and Geir Inge Lotsberg (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4114, 1997)
* Steinstolen, with Bukkene Bruse (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7145, 1998)


Artist Profiles: Anon Egeland

Ånon Egeland

Ånon Egeland was born in Oslo in 1954. He is one of the few musicians who plays traditional music from the county of Agder. He is first and foremost a Hardanger fiddler (the Norwegian fiddle with drone strings, as heard on Devil’s Tune) but he also plays jew’s harp and two kinds of Norwegian flute.

After many years of collaboration on other musicians’ projects, this multi-instrumentalist finally released his first solo CD “Ånon” in 1999. The music on the CD is based on the Agder tradition, and Ånon Egeland conveys this message through his own unique “Ånon sound”.

Accompanying Ånon on his tours is Leiv Solberg on mandola and guitar. Leiv has been playing with Ånon for over 20 years, so their work together is nearly telepathic.


* I heitaste slåtten , with Per Midtstigen (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7071, 1977. Reissued on CD in 1999)
* Norske strøk, with Per Midtstigen (Grappa Musikkforlag HK 7014, 1982)
* For borgere og bønder, with Hans Olav Gorset (Norsk Kulturråd/Polygram NKFCD 50025-2, 1989)
* Höök, with Magnus Gustavsson, Mikael Marin, Susanne Rosenberg and Mads Olovsson (Drone DROCD007, 1995)
* Folk Music from Norway, with various artists (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7078, 1993)
* Musikk fra Christopher Hammers tid, with L. Klevstrand, Knut Johannesen, L. Solberg and others (Included with the book “Christopher Hammer Norsk Kogebog 1793” (Hroar Dege Landbruksforlaget, 1994)
* Segner Syng with Ragnhild Furholt (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7128, 1997)
* Norsk Folkemusikk 2 (Agder) (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD4062, 1997)
* Skjemt og sjanti, with Frode Nyvold (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7137, 1998)
* Ånon (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7136, 1999 / USA: NorthSide NSD6037, 1999)


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)
* http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001CISIK8?ieUTF8&tagmusidelmund-20&linkCodexm2&camp1789&creativeASINB001CISIK8 | 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: www.annbjorglien.com


Nordic Vapors

Sinikka Langeland – Starflowers (ECM Records, 2007)

Starflowers is a stunning collaboration between Norwegian folk music composer, songwriter, vocalist and kantele player Sinikka Langeland and jazz musicians. The ambience throughout the album is ethereal and tranquil, full of beauty.

Sinikka Langeland’s concert kantele creates a trance-like effect, along with Sinikka Langeland’s evocative vocals. The jazz musicians add color to some of the pieces. The combination of vocals, kantele and double bass is one of the highlights of the album, together with the exquisite trumpet of Arve Henriksen.

The lineup on Starflowers includes Sinikka Langeland on vocals and kantele; Arve Henriksen on trumpet; Trygve Seim on tenor and soprano saxophones; Anders Jormin on double bass; and Markku Ounaskari on percussion.

Starflowers is a spellbinding and memorable Nordic folk recording showcasing the remarkably expressive vocals and kantele of Sinikka Langeland.

Buy Starflowers in the Americas

Buy Starflowers in Europe


Artist Profiles: Agnes Buen Garnas

Agnes Buen Garnås
Agnes Buen Garnås

Agnes Buen Garnås, born in 1946, is one of Norway’s leading traditional singers. She is a member of the famous Buen family (of Jondalen in Telemark), and has been a pioneer in the efforts to revitalize Norwegian vocal traditions. Her achievements in this area have had a great influence on young traditional vocalists throughout the country.

Garnås has inspired them to seek out their own local traditions, and has brought many young singers onto the stage. Her collaboration with Jan Garbarek on Rosensfole has become a classic in its genre. Her warm, lovely voice finds its mate in Garbarek’s soundscape.


Det spelar og syng i familien Buen (1975)
Når klokkune gjeve dur (1976)
Folk Music of Norway (1977)
Nordafjølls (1983)
På gamle tufter, with Sondre Bratland (Kåre Nordstoga, Guttorm *Guttormsen, Knut Buen, Halvor Håkanes, Warren Carlstrøm and Finn *Kvalem (1985)
Jul med Rupesekken (1985)
Stem våre understrenger, with Knut Buens (1988)
Draumkvedet, with Inger Lise Ulsrud and Knut Buen (1989)
Tusseliten og Trippeliti, with Finn Kvalem, Guttorm Guttormsen, Knut Buen and Olav Snortheim (1989)
Rosensfole, with Jan Garbarek (ECM, 1989)
Twelve Moons, with Jan Garbarek (ECM, 1992)
Høgdepunkt frå Landskappleiken (1994)
Med blanke ark (19940
Attersyn, with Knut Buen (1995)
Stev og slått, with Knut Buen (1996)
Det syng, with Anne Marit Jacobsen, Halvor Håkanes, Eli Storbekken and *Sinikka Langeland (1997)
Langt inn i hugheimen, with Knut Buen (1997)
Ljos og skugge, with Knut Buen (1998)
Soltreet (2002)
Han rider den mørke natt (2002)


Artist Profiles: Adjagas


Norwegian act Adjagas is a yoik group formed in 2004 by Sara Marielle Gaup and Lawra Somby, both from a long line of Sami ancestry. A yoiker is a singer or a chanter with a Sami origin, and it represents a very historically important part of the musical history of Northern Europe.

Sara Marielle Gaup, born in 1984, is from Guovdageaidnu/Kautokeino, whose musical heritage was passed down to her from her parents and generations before that. She began singing at a very early age, and it was through continued musical education at SMG she developed her unique sense of performance and perfected her singing voice.

Lawra Somby, born in 1981, was taught the great gift of yoiking from his father, Ande Somby. Lawra started performing on a variety of stages in 1997, and he has performed his music both solo as well as with his father Ande, making him a an experienced singer with a strong stage presence.

Yoik is not about making stories about people, animals, situations or landscapes. Yoik is the young woman, the eagle, the grass field by the river they are recreations of a moment, a sense, a memory how the wings of a bird slowly touches your chin, the smell of a fireplace and and how it evokes memories. The yoik is about bringing memories into the light of day, making them available and inviting new people into this special world

Samiland, also known as Lapland, is the territory at the very northernmost parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland, spreading into Russia.


Adjágas (2005)
Mánu Rávdnji (2009)
Nordic Woman (2012)


Norwegian World Expressions

Various Artists - Norway
Various Artists – Norway

Various Artists

Norway (Music Export Norway MENCD 015)

I find that most of the Norwegian music that gets to World Music Central’s hands is of extraordinary quality and this sampler distributed last year at WOMEX 2008 is no exception.  Norway World and Traditional, 2nd edition, released by Music Export Norway to promote Norwegian music productions, begins with what is one of the best tracks on the album. The duo Adjagas puts a different twist on traditional Sami [wiki:joik], by adding blues and electronic elements. The group is formed by Lawra Somby (male vocals) and Sara Marielle Gaup (vocals). “Joik is a rich tradition, and the repertoire of traditional joik is almost inexhaustible,” says Lawra Somby in an interview with Christian Lysvåg. “Still, we wanted to create new joiks, not just present traditional ones in a novel musical context. And I was actually surprised at how different the joiks we made turned out. It is important to stress that the joik itself, and certainly my version of it, is a matter of receiving an expression, and mediating the inner voice that a human experience has in itself. A strange fact is that sometimes the joik comes first, and then you realize to what feeling or experience the joik pertains afterwards. These things are hard to explain, but it is the way our music comes to life, and it was the way I conceived the material I contributed to our album.”  The album’s title is Adjagas. A new album is in the works.

Aw-Ofsdal-Sereba brings together Becaye Aw, Kouame Sereba and Steinar Ofsdal, a world music group that brings together musicians from Mauritania, Norway and the Ivory Coast. Their style is melodic and mesmerizing. Fulani musician Becaye plays and tunes the guitar in the West African style. Kouame plays dodo, an ancient mouth bow. Steinar uses the xun,   a Chinese terracotta wind instrument, used in China for more than 6300 years.

Diom de Kossa is an Ivorian master drummer, dancer and vocalist based in Oslo. His fiery style combines West African drums , call and response vocals and electric guitar. Touba is de Kossa’s CD, available in North America.

Tango’s tentacles have spread far. I knew Finland has a thriving tango scene, but I was not as familiar with Norwegian tango. Electrocutango is not your usual tango, as the name implies. Ity is the project of multi-instrumentalist Sverre Indris from Oslo, who creates a thrilling mix of chill out sounds with bandoneon tango melodies. The cut on this compilation is from the CD Felino.

The sampler turns traditional with the soft a cappella style of Ingvill Marit Buen Garnås and male vocalist Jon Anders Halvorsen, who sing in the Telemark tradition of Norway. Ingvill Marit Buen Garnås has two recordings available, På Grønalihei” (Nyrenning, 2003) and Gåtesong (Etnisk Musikklubb, 2005).

On “Ya lel atwalak – this never ending night” Renowned Norwegian singer Kari Bremnes sings in English with the lovely and evocative Palestinian singer Rim Banna, who sings in Arabic. Rim Banna’s recordings include The Mirrors of My Soul, This Was Not My Story and Lullabies from the Axis of Evil.

Sound experimentalist, composer and reputable tenor saxophonist Karl Seglem provides a blend of groundbreaking folk-rooted jazz and electronics, using sax, goat horn, percussion and electronics. His CDs include New North, Urbs and Reik.

Norwegian Kirsten Bråten Berg (vocals, jew’s harp), Sweden’s Lena Willemark (vocals, violin, viola), and Danish percussionist Marilyn Mazur join forces on “Varulven” in a mesmerizing exercise of vocals and percussion. their CD is titled Stemmenes Skygge (Heilo).

Chameleonic guitarist Knut Reiersrud is one of the finest electric blues guitarists in northern Europe. On “Is My Living in Vain”, he blends and R&B with echoes of Jeff Beck, Frank Zappa and Prince.

Kvarts is one of the most innovative folk bands in Norway. In addition to Norwegian folk traditions, the band incorporates Celtic and bluegrass influences. Kvarts includfes guests vocalists  Berit Opheim and Sondre Bratland.

Majorstuen represent some of the new blood in the rich tradition of Norwegian fiddling. The line-up of this young fiddle ensemble includes fiddles, viola and cello. Recording include Juledrøm (MFC, 2006), Jorun Jogga (MFC, 2004), Majorstuen (2L, 2002).

The fiddle fest continues with Møldestad, Mjølsnes and Høgemo. All three musicians play the fabulous [wiki:hardanger] fiddle.

For a more traditional apperoach, Jon Faukstad and Per Sæmund Bjørkum present fiddle and accordion dance music.

Spindel is led by two fiddlers Sigrid Moldestad on Hardanger fiddle, fiddle and vocals and Liv Merete Kroken on Hardanger fiddle and fiddle. In their lkiove concerts and recordings they are joined by additional musicians, including Olav Tveitane: cister, guitar, double bass and vocals; Dagfinn Andersen: harmonium, piano and vocals;and Ivar Kolve: percussion and marimba. Discography: Aminje (Grappa 2005) and Spindel (Grappa 2001).

The String Sisters is a supergroup of female fiddlers from various parts of the world. Shetland’s “fiddle queen” Catriona MacDonald got a special commission from the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow. She assemble some of the world’s leading female fiddlers. The Norwegian connection is Annbjørg Lien. The other sisters are: Catriona MacDonald from Shetland, Liz Carroll and Liz Knowles from the United States of America, Mairead ni Mhaonaigh (from the acclaimed Irish folk-band Altan) and Emma Härdelin from Sweden. Härdelin took the place of original member Natalie MacMaster from Canada.

Fiddler Susanne Lundeng combines Norwegian folk, jazz and contemporary instrumental elements.

Terje Isungset, a renowned jazz and folk percussionist, multi-instrumentalist and composer from Norway, provides a minimalist piece titled “Morning.”

One of the most fascinating voices in Norway’s current scene is the hauntingly beautiful Unni Lodlid, who practices a style that I would call dark folk, which has connections with ambient music and even Gregorian chant. Her recordings include Rite and Vita

Klezmer music has expanded from central and eastern Europe to other parts of the continent and now reaches Scandinavia. Urban Tunells Klezmerband presents a Norwegian vision of klezmer music. The group includes Sondre Meisfjord, Morten Michelsen, Tor Petter Aanes, Jovan Pavlovic and Stig Rennestraum.


Dreamy Løvlid

Unni Løvlid – Rite

Unni Løvlid – Rite (Grappa GRCD4223, 2008)

Unni Løvlid creates a dreamy sound that comes from the lands of the north that combines folk and chamber music, minimalism and ambience, generating a hauntingly beautiful sound. Norwegian singer Unni Løvlid, who is also a member of the trio Rusk, uses her voice in several different ways, mixing traditional style vocals with processed vocal sounds, creating fascinating effects.

On Rite, Lovlid presents a new set of ethereal musical poems in which she is accompanied by accordion, synthesizers and samples, percussion, various wind instruments, hardanger fiddle, and the Norwegian National Opera Children’s Choir.

Rite is Unni Løvlid’s first album in three years. Her previous release, Vita (2005), was recorded in the Emanuel Vigeland mausoleum.

Buy Rite