Friday, October 3, 2008

Raucous, Soulful Northern Realms

Maybe I was a fiddler in a former life. With ancestors in Norway, Scotland, and Ireland, it's entirely possible. (Though I'm not sure about former lives: are we constrained to particular genetic pathways or specific geographical regions?) But how else to explain the hold that 'contemporary-traditional' music from Northern European countries has on me?

The Lotus Festival opened last night with its Northern Realms concert, featuring the groups below. At the end of the night they all shared the stage to play 3 tunes – a case of that immediate, intense 'file sharing' musicians have maintained for centuries, whenever two or three are gathered together. Here were over a dozen...and it was raucous, soulful, witty and transcendent.

I've pulled the info below from the Lotus Fest website. If you click on the video links, you too can be transported.


Waltz with Me is the brainchild of Norwegian Hardanger fiddle virtuoso Annbjørg Lien, whose cohorts are fiddler Mats Edén, cellist Christine Hanson, and old-time fiddle master Bruce Molsky, The music of Waltz with Me crosses cultural and genre boundaries, moving from bluegrass, to Celtic, to Swedish fiddle music with ease and grace. Sponsored by Women of Lotus and IU West European Studies Center, Friends of Old Time & Celtic Music.
Artist website


Julie Fowlis

Julie Fowlis’s precise, lilting voice and mastery of Gaelic folk songs have earned her a list of awards as long as your arm, including BBC Radio 2’s Folk Singer of the Year for 2008. A native of North Uist, Scotland—where the majority of residents speak Gaelic as their first language–she sings in Scottish Gaelic, making ancient songs of the Hebridean Islands accessible to audiences around the world. She plays whistles, pipes, and other instruments, too. Her live performances move from tragic ballads, to light airs, to lilting, nonsensical “mouth music,” offering audience a rare listen to beautiful music from a rugged, ancient way of life. Sponsored by Women of Lotus and IU West European Studies Center, Friends of Old Time & Celtic Music.
Artist website | Video



The seven young musicians of Frigg play exquisite, lyrical string music rooted in Finnish and Norwegian traditions, with a hint of North American and Irish folk twang. The group contains three young Järveläs, two sons and a daughter of the most famous fiddle family in Finland, whose fathers and uncles founded the Finnish fiddle ensemble JPP. Frigg’s traditional sounds are supercharged with innovative arrangements, and combined with mandola, cittern, double bass, guitar and dobro. These Lotus fan favorites appear for one night only at this year’s Lotus Festival (Thursday). Sponsored by Women of Lotus, IU West European Studies, and IU Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center.
Artist website | Video

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