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Hamre, Knut


Hardanger fiddler and music teacher, born in Hardanger in 1952

Knut Hamre is one of Norway’s leading Hardanger fiddlers. He is an interpreter of the Hardanger tradition, a rich source of well-preserved old tunes. According to Hamre, his most important teacher was Anders Kjærland. Hamre has won first prize in the National Contest for Traditional Music, in the elite category A for Hardanger fiddle, an impressive seven times. He was a member of the first folk music group in Hordaland County, and served as official county musician there from 1992 to 1994. He was involved in collecting material for the folk music archives of the Hardanger Museum of Cultural History from 1984 to 1993. He is a highly respected teacher, and has been involved in promoting activities in music schools and the Hardanger fiddling association among children and young people. Knut Hamre has toured all over Norway since 1975 and has participated in festivals and concerts throughout the world. He has collaborated with artists from a number of different genres, and has released recordings both as a solo artist and together with others. His collaboration with Hallvard T. Bjørgum and Bjarne Herrefoss, for instance, resulted in the record Toneflaum, which received a Spelemannspris (Norwegian Grammy) in 1998. He has also worked with Swedish musicians Mats Edén and Tina Quartey since 2002, and they have toured together in Sweden, Norway and the USA. Knut Hamre recorded the album Å (1998) in the USA with Mark Anderson and Steve Tibbetts. In the ensemble Trio i ein fjord, which was formed in 1988 and released the record Trio in 1992, he plays with pianist Geir Botnen and traditional vocalist Reidun Horvei. Hamre’s collaboration with actor Hildegun Riise, which began around 1990, and in which musicians Sigbjørn Apeland and Benedicte Maurseth also participate, is an example of work where music and lyrics are combined. In 1994 Hamre launched Trio Hardanger together with his former students Åse Teigland and Frank Rolland. Among the recordings this group has released are Håstadbøslåttar (1999) and Trio i Hardanger (2003). In the past few years Hamre and fiddler Benedicte Maurseth have charted new paths in investigating the connection between the oldest Norwegian Hardanger fiddles from the 1600s and 1700s and the instruments used in baroque music. They have begun playing on the oldest fiddles, evoking a deep, warm tone in the music by using gut strings and baroque bows. The result of this can be heard on the CD Rosa i botnen (2006), which could be said to have introduced the concept of “early fiddle tunes”. Because they have used the old style of fiddling, the earliest tunes have regained a dimension they had lost long ago. Since 2006 Knut Hamre has collaborated with Anders Bjernulf of Sweden and Arto Järvelä of Finland in a Nordic folk music trio.


1981: Nøringen, together with Leif Rygg (Heilo)

1984: Slik spelar Knut (Heilo)
1992: Fargespel (Heilo)
1992: Trio, together with Geir Botnen and Reidun Horvei (Simax)
1998: Toneflaum, together with Bjarne Herrefoss and Hallvard T. Bjørgum (Sylvartun)
1999: Håstabøslåttar, together with Åse Teigland and Frank Rolland (Heilo/Grappa)
2003: Trio i Hardanger, together with Åse Teigland and Frank Rolland (Heilo/Grappa)
2006: Rosa i botnen, together with Benedicte Maurseth (Heilo/Grappa)

Awards and grants

1981: The King’s Trophy
1986: Myllargut Award
1993: Edvard Grieg Award
1993: Hilmar Aleksandersen’s Memorial Award
1993-96: Three-year government grant for artists
1998: Spelemannspris (Norwegian Grammy) for Toneflaum, together with Hallvard T. Bjørgum and Bjarne Herrefoss
2000: Anders Kjerland’s Memorial Award

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