Tag Archives: Swap

Artist profiles: Karen Tweed

Karen Tweed

Karen Tweed was born in Willesden, London, UK in 1963. She has Irish and English roots. Tweed is an accordion virtuoso known for her work with The Kathryn Tickell Band (1990-1993), The Poozies, Roger Wilson, Sally Barker and her insatiable appetite for Irish sessions. Tweed has also recorded two releases with Ian Carr, Fyace (Fyasco) and Shhh (Hypertension).

She was a member of Anglo-Swedish band Swåp 1997-2005.

Partial Discography:

The Palm Of Your Hand, with Roger Wilson (1987)
Beating The Drum, with Sally Barker & The Rhythm (1992)
Signs, with The Kathryn Tickell Band (1993)
Chantoozies, with The Poozies (1993)
Drops Of Springwater (1994)
The Silver Spire (1994)
Irish Choice Tune Book (1994)
Courage, Love and Grace, with Pete Morton (1995)
Dansoozies, with The Poozies (1995)
Shhh, with Ian Carr (1995)
Fyace, with Ian Carr(1997)
Swåp (Amigo, 1997)
New Directions In The Old, with Roy Bailey (1997)
Come Raise Your Head, with The Poozies (1998)
Sic, with Swåp (Amigo, 1999)
Half As Happy As We, with The Two Duos Quartet (1999)
Infinite Blue, with The Poozies (2000)
Coda, with Roy Bailey (2000)
Raise your head: A Retrospective, with The Poozies (2001)
May Monday, with Timo Alakotila (2001)
Mosquito Hunter, with Swåp (2002)
One Roof Under, with Andy Cutting (2002)
Faerd, with Faerd (2003)
Changed Days Same Roots, with The Poozies (2003)
Each Step on the Way, with Tony Hilliard (2005)
Du Da, with Swåp (2005)
Gastbud, with Morten Alfred Hoirup and Harald Haaugaard (2005)
Essentially Invisible to the Eye (2012)


Artist profiles: Swåp


Swåp is a transnational band featuring two Swedish and two British musicians; two men and two women; a combination of Nordic folk fiddling and traditional Celtic music. Their music moves effortlessly from Swedish polska to Irish jig, from Swedish “vals” to British waltz, with swinging arrangements, memorable original compositions, grace, respect and passion.

Band member Ian Carr describes the band’s sound: “When Karen and I learn a Swedish tune off Ola and Carina, we hear it in our style, which is miles away from the way traditional Swedish music sounds in the hands of a real Swedish musician; just as when Karen and I teach an Irish tune to Ola and Carina, the same thing happens: the music changes.”

All four members of Swap are active composers and prominent in the English and Swedish roots music scenes.

The four original musicians were: Karen Tweed on piano accordion; Ian Carr on guitar; Carina Normansson on vocals and fiddle; and Ola Backstrom on vocals and viola d’amore.

Karen Tweed left the ensemble in 2007.


Swåp (Amigo, 1997)
Sic (Amigo, 1999)
Mosquito Hunter (2002)
Du Da (2005)


Artist Profiles: Ola Bäckström

Fiddler Ola Bäckström was born in 1959 in Dalarna, Sweden. He is known for his work with The Simon Simonsson Kvartet, Den Fule (Quake NSD61), Boot (Virvla NSD639) and Traton (with Carina Normansson and Maria Jonsson).

Ola plays the viola d’amore”, a non-standard version of the Baroque instrument”, which has 5 playing strings and 4 resonating strings. The fiddle head features a dragon head carving”, a replica of an old Swedish fiddle. The inking on the side copies a Stradivarius violin.

Ola Bäckström formed Anglo-Swedish band Swap in 1995 along with British musicians Karen Tweed (accordion) and Ian Carr (guitar) and Swedish artist Carina Normansson (fiddle, vocals).


Ola Bäckström (1994)
SWÅP (Amigo/Northside Records, 1997)
Sic (Amigo/Northside Records, 1999)
Mosquito Hunter (2002)
Du Da (Amigo/Northside Records, 2005)
Boggdansen (2005)


Artist profiles: Ian Carr

Ian Carr

Ian Carr is a Welsh guitarist known for his work with Kathryn Tickell, The Old Rope String Band, Simon Thoumire, Syncopace and has guested on recordings by John McCusker, Kate Rusby, Gordon Duncan and several others. He is a member of Anglo-Swedish band Swap and Alan Kelly Gang. He recorded two albums with accordionist Karen Tweed: Fyace and Shhh.


Hootz! , with Simon Thoumire (Black Crow Records, 1990)
Shhh, with Karen Tweed (1995)
Fyace, with Karen Tweed (1997)
Swåp (Amigo, 1997)
Sic (Amigo, 1999)
Mosquito Hunter (Amigo, 2002)
Step on it!, with Niklas Roswall (Drone Music, 2003)
Du Da (2005)
Timber!, with Maria Jonsson and Mikael Marin (Nordic Tradition, 2007)
He Thinks He`s Invisible, with Simon Thoumire (Foot Stomping, 2013)


Land of Fiddlers

Frigg - Oasis
Frigg – Oasis


Scandinavia is a land of excellent fiddlers. In the past months, a new batch of recordings featuring top folk violinists from the Nordic countries ha appeared in record stores.

Frigg’s latest offering is Oasis. The Finnish band specializes in the folk songs of Finland and Norway, with a bit of bluegrass added for spice. Even though the fiddles play the leading role, Frigg also uses wind instruments, bagpipes and other elements. The song selection ranges from lively dance pieces to delightful melodic compositions.


Swåp - Du Da
Swåp – Du Da


Swedish band Swåp presents a captivating combination of Celtic music with Swedish folk on Du Da. The Swedish and British musicians that form the band explore these sounds with the help of accordion, fiddles and guitars.

One of the stars of contemporary Nordic folk music is Swedish group Väsen. The virtuoso instrumentalists perform their new brand of Swedish folk music throughout Europe, North America and Japan. It is in Japan where the brilliant trio recorded its most recent offering, a live album.


Väsen - Live in Japan
Väsen – Live in Japan


Live in Japan portrays three excellent musicians playing smoking live versions of Swedish polskas, bluegrass-influenced tunes and other folk styles using fiddle, nyckelharpa (Swedish hurdy-gurdy) and fiddle. The double set includes a DVD with a documentary about the group.


Rusk II
Rusk II

From Norway comes Rusk II, featuring the vocals of Unni Lovlid, the accordion of Frode Haltli and the hardanger fiddle of Vegar Vardal.

The song selection includes folk songs from Sweden and Norway, ranging from pols dances and hymns to drinking songs and even a tribute to Johnny Cash. Nevertheless, the ambiance is not merry, but rather evocative and melancholic, with a chamber music ensemble feel.