- interview with the Danish violinist Henrik Jansberg
The five musicians on stage are bathed in soft, coloured light. The audience are listening intently. The concentration is broken now and then when folk shout their appreciation of a particularly well-executed musical finesse. For the crowd at Shetland Folk festival this is new music, and they are enjoying it immensely.
The Jansberg Band from Denmark are different, but not too different. The instrumentation - violin, guitar, mandolin, drums and double bass – is not new to this audience. The music draws on recognizable traditions not unlike the Shetlanders' own, but the listeners feel the breeze through the vast Scandinavian conifer forests, smell the green Nordic meadows and see the elfin girls dance.
The 35 year-old composer and player Henrik Jansberg leads on violin. Suddenly, he and the band move from an old Danish polska to one of his own fast tunes, and the audience reward the change with a roar of approval. The Danish quintet are raising the roof.
- the Vikings are coming!
We are in a small music venue in the Icelandic capital, Reykjavik. It's hot, and it's full of people talking, drinking, laughing and listening to the loud, intense music.
On stage is a huge, long-haired, bearded man with piercing eyes. He sways back and forth as he beats a little goat-skin drum and, in a powerful, evocative voice, sings of Valkyries, the Asa faith and Norse winter rituals. Alongside him, three sweaty musicians are bent over their panoply of electric lyres, rattling percussion, frame drums, overtone flutes, and bowed and jaw harps, backed by a solitary electric bass.
- it's Danish music and yet not!
"Basco is a fiddle-scraping, box-belting, guitar-swinging, trombone-packing folk/roots band with an energy that has been compared to that of a bunch of sixth-graders on camp. It's members met at the Carl Nielsen Academy of music in Odense, Denmark, and now play in all kinds of music of bands, both at home and away from home. So what they play in Basco is Danish music, and yet not..."
FIOLMINISTERIET (The Fiddle Ministry)
- Greatest hits of the 1700s set for violin, viola, cello and voice.
We meet one early spring evening in the pleasant little café in the foyer of a small hotel in Flensborg, on the German-Danish border. A fairly large group of Danish musicians and people from the international music business are talking animatedly when the street door opens and in step a trio of smiling young women carrying their musical instruments. An aura of success and self-confidence surrounds them. That's because this is the young Danish trio Fiolministeriet (The Fiddle Ministry), and they are breaking through on the German folk music scene at this very point in time.
- traditional Danish music with all the stops out
Picture a typical summer festival somewhere in Europe. It is getting late, the sun has gone down, and the audience gather in front of the main stage. No-one knows exactly what is going to happen now, and people are curious. Finally, the compere introduces the next performers, a band from Denmark, and out on stage comes nine young men with saxophone, trombone, trumpet, guitar, keyboard, double bass, drums, accordion and violin. "How many of you have never, ever heard traditional Danish music?", shouts the fiddler to the audience, and a forest of hands shoots up. "That many? We'll have to do something about that! Ladies and gentlemen: it's party time!".
- traditional and contemporary Danish music for fiddle and piano
Denmark comprises the Jutland peninsula and 406 islands, big and small. The third biggest island, Funen (Fyn), lies between Jutland and Zealand and is home to about a half million of Denmark's 5.5 million inhabitants.
Funen is best known as the birthplace of fairy-tale author Hans Christian Andersen, of the great composer Carl Nielsen, and for its vibrant folk music scene. Situated in Odense, Funen's main city, is the The Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Southern Denmark, offering Denmark's only diploma course in folk music. Round Funen are dotted music venues of all descriptions, and no fewer than four folk music festivals: Strib Winter Festival, Faaborg Folk Festival, Odense Folk Festival and the Hoejby Gathering. It is on this beautiful island that the story of the young Danish fiddle and piano duo Rannok has its beginnings.
JENSEN & BUGGE
- specialists in Danish musical dialects
It is early on a winter's morning somewhere in mainland Denmark, the fields and woods are snow-covered, the sun is barely up. In the gloom, a clutch of children with
schoolbags huddle by thebus-stop, waiting for the bus that will take them to school. Two of the bigger children, a boy and a girl, eye each other discreetly in silence. Not that they do not know each other: they have been neighbours for some years. Mette and Kristian attend different schools, but go to a weekly folk-dancing class, and they have sometimes danced together. Mette relates, many years afterwards, that they knew each other, but were too shy to talk. "...so we stood there beside each other at the bus-stop every school-day for ten years without a word." Kristian adds with a wink, "Mette has been doing her best since then to make up for that silence." "Boys were not so interesting at that age," is Mette's riposte, "...but that has changed, too."
music from a small Danish island to the whole world
Out in the Baltic Sea, south of Sweden, north of Poland, lies the small, rocky Danish island of Bornholm. Known for its unique natural beauty and for its hospitable inhabitants, Bornholm's 588.5 square kilometres are home to 42,558 people. Bornholm is famous for its fine clocks, its blown glass and its outstanding pottery made from local clay, as well as its culinary specialities, in particular the island's smoked herring, which are eaten on bread, with a raw egg yolk and chives on top, and a good glass of snaps alongside. Less well known is the vibrant, diverse and exciting living folk music tradition on the island of Bornholm.
New Scandinavian folk music improvising over that Nordic sound
When the Dueholm sisters, Anne and Christine, were 9 and 14 years old respectively, they started playing music in public with their father, who played violin and piano, and their mother, who played electric bass. The little family band called themselves Duerne (The Doves), and they played locally for private functions, then music venues and festivals around Denmark and abroad. Anne played saxophone and Christine played the drums, and the repertoire was based on their father's favoured music, a popular mix of folk music and jazz. Christine recalls fondly their annual trips to southern Norway, where the family band were a hit at the little music festival known as Lillesands Days. "What happy memories I have of those days: summer, sun and masses of music," relates Christine. For 12 years in a row the family performed at this festival, giving the sisters a taste for the special Nordic tone that their father was so taken with.
- Die Geschichte von eine einzigartige Grossstadtband aus Dänemark.
Kopenhagen hat sich in den letzten 10 Jahren als ein nordisches Kraftzentrum für Klezmermusik entwickelt, eine Musik die aus die jüdische Musiktraditionen hervorgewachsen ist. Die Klezmer-Genre hat zeit den 70’er Jahren generell eine Revival erlebt, und gedeiht bestens in ganz Europa, die USA und Süd-Amerika.
In Kopenhagen beschäftigt sich besonders jüngere Musiker mit die Klezmermusik, so auch die Band: Klezmofobia, die ihre art von Klezmer als “New York Klezmer” bezeichnet, also jüdische Musik die sich in die Grossstadt unter einfluss von neue musikalische Genres weiter entwickelt hat.
Text: Morten Alfred Høirup
Es ist ein Sommer Vormittag auf dem Wattenmeer-Insel Fanø im süd-westen dänemarks. In die kleine Inselstadt Sønderho sitzt der junge Klarinettist Bjarke Kolerus in ein kleiderschrank ähnliches Kleinraum, mit Kopfhörern bekleidet, blasend auf seiner Klarinette. Erst neulich hat er vorzeitig seine Studien an der Klassische Hochschule für Musik in Esbjerg beendet, weil er, wie er es selbst formuliert: “Nicht die erforderte Disziplin für die Klassische welt besitzt, dafür aber eine grosse Lust auf musikalische selbstbestimmung”
The story of a unique big city band from Denmark.
In the last ten years, Copenhagen has become the northern hub for klezmer music, a style that has its origins in the Jewish music tradition. Klezmer has seen a decided revival since the 70s, and is in rude health in Europe, USA and South America. In Copenhagen, loads of musicians, many of them young, are playing klezmer these days. A case in point is the band Klezmofobia, who call their brand of music New York Klezmer, in other words, Jewish music that has rubbed shoulders with all sorts of other music styles in the big city.
- the Love Goddess' Songs
By Morten Alfred Høirup
In the past decade, Danish singer Stine Michel (born in 1973) has recorded a handful of albums, won a Danish Music Award and given hundreds of concerts for children and adults throughout Denmark and Sweden.
Stine Michel writes the songs, both words and music, and her story-telling, - both fairy tales and more everyday epics - her dancing, and her musicianship always move and engage her audiences. Stine is supported by a team of accomplished musicians, who arrange and accompany her concerts on Swedish key harp, acoustic guitar, bass and percussion.
The next couple of years will see Stine Michel tour Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia with Freya's Songs, a cycle of songs and tales about the Nordic love goddess Freya, set in a modern context. But it all started many years ago when a very young girl rode out on her chestnut horse.