Saturday, 2 July 2011

Great music and new music (for some): Valkyrien Allstars

One of the "national musical instruments" in Norway is Hardingfele (Hardanger fiddle). It has an extremely distinct sound and I think it almost always does something to the listener. It has four strings like a normal fiddle or violin, but also 4 or 5 sympathetic strings, meaning the also make sound, though you don't play directly on them.

When I was a kid, I would hate it. I would literately put my fingers in my ears all the way up until I was far into my twenties. Then something changed. I started connecting it to my Norwegian identity, or maybe I had all along and just not realized. The last years I have realized there is something quintessential Norwegian about it. When ever there is a Hardanger fiddle starting and there are Norwegians around, you see them tap their fingers on the table or move their feet a little or clap. There is something that awakes in us. But more about that later. Let's get to the song.

In 2008 I discovered this amazing band, Valyrien Allstars, who play a kind of Norwegian quite modern folk-rock-pop using often old songs and Hardanger fiddles and other fiddles. It's just an amazing sound. The Norwegian music tv-program on NRK, Lydverket, did a great series with bands playing concerts in strange places. This is a part of the series. Valyrien Allstars is playing live at Valkyrien, a pub on the west side of Oslo. I wonder where they took their name from? Anywaaays.. Such an electric performance!

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