Tag Archives: Swedish music

Artist Profiles: Olov Johansson

Olov Johansson in 2010 -Photo by Angel Romero

In 1990 Olov became the first world champion of the nyckelharpa. He began to play the nyckelharpa in 1980 as a fourteen-year old and was named a ‘riksspelman’ (master musician) in 1984. Olov has studied with the legendary Curt Tallroth and Erik Sahlstrom and is presently a teacher at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. He is regarded as one of Sweden’s most prominent nyckelharpa players and is an inspiration for numerous young performers on the instrument.

Apart from his association with celebrated Swedish band Väsen, Olov has also played with groups such as Kronos Quartet, Nordman, Trio Con X as well as solo performances. He has recorded with the chart-topping Swedish rock group Nordman and has played on the albums Early Music (with Kronos Quartet), Till Eric (with the Nyckelharpa Orchestra) and his solo project Storsvarten.

Olov collaborates with Scottish harpist Catriona McKay, a member of Fiddlers’ Bid. Since first working together in 2002 Catriona and Olov have collaborated in the Celtic Connections 2007 concert Fiddler’s Bid International on Olov’s solo album ‘I lust och Glod’ and on Catriona’s dazzling Floe project.

Discography:

* 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)

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Artist profiles: Daniel Sandén-Warg

Daniel Sandén-Warg

Daniel Sandén-Warg was born in 1977 in Østersund, Sweden. He grew up in Karlstad, where he started playing the guitar at an early age, Jimi Hendrix was his idol. Daniel was early discovered as a great talent, for example by Swedish television. Magnus Stinnerbom in the folk music group Harv was the first to make Daniel interested in folk music.

Leif Stinnerbom, the father of Magnus, introduced Daniel to the music of Torleiv H. and Hallvard T. Bjørgum, and he immediately became enthusiastic about the music from Setesdal (Norway). He first taught himself the tunes from cassette tapes, and then sent recordings of himself to Hallvard T. Bjørgum. Hallvard was so impressed that he immediately invited Daniel to Setesdal.

In 1998, Daniel moved to Setesdal. He has learned much from Hallvard T. Bjørgum, and also learned many tunes from archive recordings. In 2005, he got his craft certificate as silversmith. Today, he works as a silversmith and freelance musician.

Daniel shows a unique musicality and has a special ability to acquire various styles of folk music. More than most others, he has managed to master both the rich details, the special use of the scale and the playing technique, which is so special for much of the local folk music in Setesdal.

Daniel has also learned the Setesdal dialect so well that he speaks like a native.

At the national level, he has now become a class A (top) player in the Hardanger fiddle class. He has received first prize in the B category several times at competitions in Agder and Telemark.

There is hardly anybody else who is not originally from Setesdal who has managed to acquire the local folk music tradition so genuinely and convincingly as Daniel Sandén-Warg.

Discography:

Rammeslag, ordinary fiddle and jew’s harp from Setesdal (Etnisk Musikklubb EM29, 2007)
Warg Buen, with with Per Anders Buen Garnås (ta:lik, 2008)
Rammeslag II (Etnisk Musikklubb EM49, 2009)

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Artist Profiles: Bäsk

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.

Discography:

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

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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)

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Artist profiles: Swåp

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.

Discography:

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

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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).

Discography

* 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)

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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.

Discography:

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

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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).

Discography:

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

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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.

Discography:

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)

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