Tag Archives: Sweden

Artist Profiles: Bäsk


Bäsk was a brilliant acoustic trio of three Swedish masters: Jonas Simonson on flute; Sten Källman on saxes and percussion; and fiddler Hans Kennemark.

Bäsk brought fresh arrangements to the acoustic trio sound, taking melodies designed for solo fiddle and arranging them for a trio. The instrumentation changed from fiddle-flute-soprano saxophone to fiddle backed by bass and baritone sax.


Bäsk (Xource Records, 1999)
Släkt ‎(Xource Records, 2002)


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: Roger Tallroth

Roger Tallroth at Forde 2010 performing with Vasen – Photo by Angel Romero

Roger Tallroth was born on November 21, 1958, With his specially tuned guitar (A-D-A-D-A-D), Tallroth has developed a distinctive sound of his own. In addition to the guitar, he plays the Swedish bouzouki and octave mandolin. Roger received his first guitar when he was thirteen. Since then he has studied at Sjovik Folkhogskola and Orebro College of Music and is presently a teacher at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. He has given numerous seminars around Europe and the United States.

Roger is best known as a member of the band Väsen. He has performed together with Nordman, Annbjorg Lien and the Gunnel Mauritzson Group among other artists and has also participated in several stage and theater productions.

Roger’s discography includes Nordman (with Nordman), Felefeber and Prisme (with Annbjorg Lien), Siluette (with the Gunnel Mauritzson Group), The Horse and the Crane by Ale Moller and Kat Kombat (Kombat). He also appears on the Annbjorg Lien recording Baba Yaga (2000).


* Vilda (Drone DROCD004, 1992)
* Essence (Auvidis Ethnic B6787, 1994)
* Levande (Drone DROCD009, 1995)
* Spirit, compilation (NorthSide NSD 6004, 1997)
* Whirled (Northside, 1997)
* Varldens (Europe: Xource/MNW XOUCD118 / US: NorthSide NSD 6006, 1997)
* Gront (Europe: Xource/MNW XOUCD126 / USA: NorthSide NSD 6041, 1999)
* Live at the Nordic Roots Festival (NorthSide NSD 6065, 2001)
* Trio (NorthSide NSD 6077, 2003)
* Keyed Up (NorthSide NSD 6080, 2004)
* Live in Japan (2005)
* Linnaeus Väsen (Northside Records, 2007)
* Mike Marshall & Darol Anger with Väsen (Adventure Music, 2007)
* Väsen Street (Northside Records, 2009)
* Brewed (Northside Records, NSD7100, 2017)


Artist Profiles: Peter Puma Hedlund

Peter Puma Hedlund – Photo by Karl Nordgaard

Peter Puma Hedlund is one of leading exponents of the nyckelharpa in the world today. A composer and one of the main forces in the revival of the nyckelharpa and its music, he is a well respected and sought after instructor as well as performance artist on this unusual traditional folk instrument. Peter’s CDs are released on the independent label RPM Music which he started together with Rita Leydon a Swedish born American who also co-produces Peter’s instructional DVDs.

“What sets Peter apart from the rush of younger Swedish harpa players is that he’s not trying to appeal to anyone, Leydon explains, he simply remains true to his roots and his music while at the same time expanding and evolving. The music is so lovely and his skill at presenting it is so exceptional that it needs no embellishing no dressing up no gimmicks.”
The nyckelharpa is a traditional Swedish instrument that has been played in one form or another for more than 6 years and just barely escaped extinction in the mid-1900s. Interest in the nyckelharpa and its music has exploded all over the world in recent years primarily in the USA but also in Japan France England Canada and Italy.


Vägen (RPM Music, 2003)
Another Way (RPM Music, 2003)
Resonans (RPM Music, 2006)


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: Mikael Marin

Mikael Marin (left) with Vasen at Forde Festival in 2010 – Photo by Angel Romero

Mikael Marin is a violist who became a national fiddler in 1983 and was chosen to play in a world orchestra under the direction of Leonard Bernstein in 1989.

When not performing with one of Sweden’s leading contemporary folk music bands, Vasen, Mikael composes, produces and arranges music for artists such as Mikael Samuelsson, Nordman and The Kronos Quartet.


Hemlig stod jag (1991)
Timber! (2007)
Mot Hagsätra (2008)
Småfolket (2011)
Force majeure (2011)
Skuggspel (2013)
Tiden (2016)

With Vasen:

Olov Johansson: Vasen (Drone DROCD001, 1990)
Vilda (Drone DROCD004, 1992)
Essence (Auvidis Ethnic B6787, 1994)
Levande (Drone DROCD009, 1995)
Spirit, compilation (NorthSide NSD 6004, 1997)
Whirled (Northside, 1997)
Varldens (Europe: Xource/MNW XOUCD118 / US: NorthSide NSD 6006, 1997)
Gront (Europe: Xource/MNW XOUCD126 / USA: NorthSide NSD 6041, 1999)
Live at the Nordic Roots Festival (NorthSide NSD 6065, 2001)
Trio (NorthSide NSD 6077, 2003)
Keyed Up (NorthSide NSD 6080, 2004)
Live in Japan (2005)
Linnaeus Väsen (Northside Records, 2007)
Mike Marshall & Darol Anger with Väsen (Adventure Music, 2007)
Väsen Street (Northside Records, 2009)
Brewed (Northside Records, NSD7100, 2017)


Artist Profiles: Jonas Simonson

Jonas Simonson – Photo by Kristin Lidell

Jonas Simonson has a unique and profoundly personal approach to playing the flutes along with the bass saxophone. He began with classical training but converted to Swedish Folk Music and hasn’t been the same since.

His ornamented and cadence-rich style can be heard with the group Bask a trio with Sten Kallman and Hans Kennermark and in recordings with the bands Den Fule and Groupa.

Jonas Simonson has also worked with SÃ¥ngensemblen Amanda and Kapell Frisell. Also he has performed baroque music with Utomjordiska Theatre in Gothenburg. Jonas Simonson trained at the College of Music in Gothenburg.


Quake, with Den Fule

Bäsk, with Bäsk (Xource/MNW XOUCD 124 in Sweden NorthSide NSD 636 in USA 1999)

Slokt, with Bäsk (Xource/MNW XOUCD 136 2002)


Artist Profiles: Johan Hedin

Johan Hedin – Photo by Märta Hedin

Johan Hedin was born on December 10, 1969 in Trekanten, Sweden. He plays nyckelharpa oktavnyckelharpa (octave keyfiddle), octave mandola and is also a vocalist. He’s a well-known nyckelharpa player who is admired for his way of handling the instrument.

For many years he has worked on developing the keyed fiddle as an instrument for example by making several new models in different registers. He usually plays in small intimate constellations or as a soloist in various contexts.

Hedin has recorded with numerous artists, including Bazar Blå. He is also part of the duo Hazelius – Hedin, along with Esbjörn Hazelius.


Angel Archipelago (1998)
Innersta polskan (2004)
Om du ville människa heta, with Hazelius – Hedin (2011)
Sunnan, with Hazelius – Hedin (2014)

website: www.johanhedin.com


Artist profiles: Hoven Droven

Hoven Droven in 2001 – Photo by Peder Majiet

Hoven Droven’s music is a unique and powerful blend of traditional folk and fierce hard rock where violin and electric guitar duel for the audience’s attention. This combination is complemented by a diverse background created by sax, Hammond organ, drums, percussion and bass.

The band’s name is a slang phrase which means uh “whatever” (at least in the province of Jämtland in northern Sweden). In their case it could just as well mean “things will take care of themselves.” Despite sometimes chaotic organizational methods none of them are able to explain how they have managed to perform on almost every major Swedish television and radio program and in North America. Looking at their individual schedules it’s a wonder that the band can get together to play at all.

Their first Swedish album “Hia Hia” was released in 1995 recorded at Peak Studios with engineer/producer Erik Benholm. Early in 1996 they got together again to record “Grov.” Selections from both of these releases are included on NorthSide’s 70+ minute compilation titled Groove — their first North American record release and one of NorthSide’s first releases.

Summer 1999 saw the band at the Winnipeg Folk Festival where they had 8 people on their feet hands raised high above their heads doing an ancient Swedish mosquito-killing dance. On their return home to Östersund they began recording their newest album.

More Happy Moments with Hoven Droven marks a number of departures for the band. Trumpet player Gustav Hylén left the band to spend more time with his family and set up Home Studios in Revsund where the disc was made. (You can see a “home movie” from the recording sessions on the NorthSide enhanced CD). New member Janne Strömstedt’s organ work now underpins the band’s sound making it heavier and more elegant all at the same time. For this release also the band decided to work with vocalists. On three tracks they are joined by the lovely female voices of Ulrika Bodén and Sofia Sandén (from Ranarim and Rosenberg 7.) Swedish music legend Stefan Sundström can be heard with the band on two of the five extra MP3 tracks which are included on the enhanced CD.
The English translation of the band’s name -helter skelter or, whatever – also happens to describe the band’s relationship to their Swedish roots.

Hoven Droven are:

Björn Höglund (drums and percussion) has toured with Swedish funk-rocker Paulo Mendonca and worships Peter Criss.

Guitarist Bo Lindberg claims he is a star in Japan with his former avant-rock band Myrbein. If the truth be known he’s a music teacher who’s been in almost every band to come out of Östersund in the past 1 years.

Saxophonist Jens Comén is often seen in rock-pop-jazz-big band-punk bands around town displaying his natural gifts (with his instrument).

Pedro Blom is the band’s bassist and plays in other roots music groups. Otherwise he’s a big fan of AC/DC and Mötorhead.

Hoven Droven’s violin-playing front man is Kjell-Erik Eriksson. His original interest in Swedish folk music has taken on a stronger bite and higher volume with Hoven Droven. He also plays traditional acoustic music in the band Triakel.

Janne Strömstedt (Hammond Organ) likes to play everything from salsa to country. In April 2000 Janne made the difficult decision to leave the band: “For a long time I’ve found it difficult to find a good way of combining the particular conditions under which HD is touring with the rest of my life. Unlike most of the others in the band I have a busy everyday life with another job apart from the music. I´m also touring quite a lot with Triakel.”


Hia-Hia (Xource/MNW XOUCD 110, 1994)
Grov (Xource/MNW XOUCD 114, 1996)
Groove, compilation (NorthSide NSD 6002, 1997)
More Happy Moments with Hoven Droven (Home 013 / NorthSide NSD 6043, 1999)
Hippa (Home 020 / NorthSide NSD 6062, 2001)
Turbo (Home 032, 2004)
Jumping at the Cedar, 2-CD live compilation (Home 044 / NorthSide NSD 6090, 2006)
Rost (Westpark PGM-87217, 2011)