For the last two decades, the Førde Folk Music Festival has maintained a position as Scandinavia’s leading folk/ethnic/world/crossover festival. This week sees the festival’s loyal and steadily growing audience and a considerable international delegation congregating at the western-Norwegian festival for four days of sunshine and a seemingly endless supply of vibrant music.
The Førde Folk Music Festival is now in its 20th consecutive year, and holds a position as Scandinavia’s key folk/ethnic/world/crossover festivals. Over these twenty years, 4500 artists representing 120 countries have performed at the festival stages of Førde. The artists represent a unique musical diversity; a diversity that in turn represents a vital component of the world’s combined cultural capital. It is the festival’s governing principle to offer its audience the opportunity to experience this fantastic cultural wealth and to give voices from all countries and cultures a stage and a chance to be heard. The Førde Festival is to create a setting ripe with new experiences, new knowledge and deep, profound insight.
The Norwegian folk music scene is represented by a selection of strong ensembles and performers that range from solo artists to large bands of fiddlers. Traditional Hardanger fiddle music is contrasted by more eclectic and experimental sounds resulting in a highly representative and inspiring encounter with Norwegian folk music.
MIC Norway has selected some of this year’s most exciting performers and projects, interviewed some of them and profiled others. Here’s an overview of what we feel is the most interesting events at Førde ‘09:
Gjermund Larsen is a rare folk musician. A young fiddler of brilliant renown on the folk musical circuit. At Førde, Larsen is set to perform in a variety of settings, making him one of the festival’s busiest performers.
Eivind Buene + The Norwegian Soloist’s Choir
One of the undisputable highlights of this year’s Førde Festival is a much anticipated commissioned work penned by Norwegian composer Eivind Buene, performed by the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir and featuring soloists Gjermund Larsen and Berit Opheim Versto.
Stian Carstensen plays music like most of us breathe; like an innate thing, something he can do it in his sleep. He can take up any instrument, it seems, and intuitively treat it like a natural extension of his own body and mind.
Synnøve S. Bjørset
Celebrate the bright nights in the picturesque Jølster region with fiddler par extraordinaire Synnøve Bjørset.
With no less than three appearances fiddler Sturla Eide is in for a hectic stint at the Førde Festival.
Frikar/The Snuff Grinders
By fusing traditional Norwegian Halling dance with hot Brazilian capoeira, dance company Frikar has created ‘The Snuff Grinders’; a breathtaking tour de force of genre-defying acrobatic stunts.
Accordionist and composer Gabriel Fliflet brings his unique folk music club night Columbi Egg to Førde. The original club concept in Bergen is one of the biggest scenes for folk music in Norway, also renowned for bringing in musicians from all over the world and creating a vibrant hot-spot, not just for folk musicians but for music lovers in general.
Gigs not to be missed
The 2009 Førde Festival programme is incredibly rich and diverse. We had a difficult time selecting the Norwegian artists to be highlighted in this publication, and an equally difficult time selecting a list of gigs not to be missed at this year’s Førde. See what gigs MIC Norway recommends.