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. Anyway, here’s a MIC shortlist of concerts by domestic acts that we’ll be attending:
Norway Now! Einar Olav Larsen Trio
Fri 3 July 12.30-13:30 - Café Concert, Festsalen Cutting-edge, swinging folk music with a hint of nostalgia. Inspired by fiddle virtuoso Hilmar Alexandersen’s interplay with pianist Sturla Hallås, fiddle player Einar Olav Larsen, pianist Daniel Trustrup Røsssing and bassist Audun Larsen create a vibrant melting pot of styles with influences from traditional Nordic folk music and ragtime.
Norway Now! Skáidi/Seglem & Høgemo
Fri 3 July - 17:00-18:00 - Haarklousalen
Skáidi is a union of two top performers with wildly differing backgrounds; Steinar Raknes – arguably one of Norway’s best jazz double bassists – and Inga Juuso – one of the nation’s foremost female joikers (a performer of the ancient Sámi chanting vocal style). With Skáidi, Raknes and Juuso have managed to derive elements from their respective styles and genres and have literally created a new, raw, coherent and groundbreaking form of expression.
Norway has spawned quite a plethora of distinctive musicians that have made it their enterprise to merge musical traditions - often from their respective home regions - with contemporary expressions, world music and improvisational jazz. Karl Seglem looms prominently among these and he is unquestionably one of the great innovators and visionaries of Norwegian music, reinvigorating both Norwegian traditional genres and jazz with his unwavering will to fuse expressions, pursue crossover ventures and embrace new instruments, sounds and perspectives. At the Førde festival, Seglem teams up with longstanding musical partner, Hardanger fiddle master Håkon Høgemo. The two focus on traditionals from the Sogn region, revitalizing the area’s strong musical heritage in an intimate duo setting.
Intro Folk - Sat 4 July - 12:00-13:20 - Haarklousalen
A unique chance to experience the young up-and-coming top performers on the Norwegian folk music scene. The Intro-Folk launch programme for young talents is a competition staged by the Norwegian Concert Institute in collaboration with the Norwegian Traditional Music Agency and the Norwegian National Association for Traditional Music and Dance. Its aim is to support the careers of the best young folk music performers. The semi-finals of the competition are to be held in Førde and fiddler Marie Forr Klåpbakken and vocal ensemble Eplemøya Songlag are set to compete for a spot at the finals to be held in Oslo later this year.
Sver - Sun 5 July - 21:30-22:30 - Barthold Bar
Vital Swedish/Norwegian quintet Sver offers a smorgasbord of energetically super-charged dance tunes mated with extrovert stage presence and humour. The outfit consists of Hardanger fiddle/viola/fiddle players Olav Luksengård Mjelva and Anders Hall, guitarist/Jew’s Harp & mandolin player Vidar Berge, accordionist Leif Ingvar Ranøien and percussionist Jens Linell. Sver’s repertoire is inspired by the traditional music of the mountainous Røros area in central Norway. Additional impulses from the culturally rich regions of Hallingdal and Hardanger can also be traced in Sver’s cornucopia of vital dance music. 2007 saw the ensemble releasing its first outing which garnered a string of highly positive reviews in Scandinavian media. A few review excerpts: “Extremely danceable. Positivity fused with futurism... Clean energy, brought directly to us from the mountains. A treasure trove of folk music...”