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Musical gold

Nils Økland


Nils Økland’s recent solo release on the acclaimed ECM label tells something of his stature not just in Norwegian music but as an internationally respected musician and composer.

nils �kland nov 04 foto: lars o.Nils Økland is a remarkable fiddle player, performing on both Hardanger fiddle, violin, and viola d’amore, who operates at the interface between Norwegian folk music, improvisation and contemporary music. Always bearing a strong element of improvisation, characterized by utmost sensitivity and a unique sense of presence, his music has won an international audience and made him a sought-after musician for various collaborations with other musicians. In addition to heading his own projects, he is the leader of the Harald Hårfagre Chamber Orchestra in Haugesund. He has been engaged as a soloist by various orchestras and ensembles in most Europeancountries, and held premier performances of several solo works for Hardanger fiddle and orchestra. Composing film scores, ballet music, theatre music for plays and performances, and commissioning works for various festivals and concert institutions, he is well experienced in creative processes that involve different artistic expressions. Økland has contributed on numerous recordings, amongst others with late jazz legend Bjørnar Andresen. He was also a regular member of the Christian Wallumrød Ensemble. His debut album Blå Harding contains his own compositions, which is also the case for the later albums Straum and Bris, both released on Rune Grammofon. On his recently released solo album “Monograph” (ECM records), Økland makes the most of the ‘drone’ qualities of the viola d’amore and the Hardanger fiddle (he plays both old and modern models) as well as an old violin from 1700, in a recital of subtle and melodic invention.

“Whatever Nils Økland touches turns to musical gold. He is one of the most sensitive and ground-breaking fiddlers around today.” (Fiona Talkington, BBC Radio 3) “A musician who has played in just about every style from punk rock to chamber music, Økland draws here on the traditional music of his homeland adding just a hint of the baroque for good measure. These are tunes that tell of a time when the music of the court and that of the tavern were as one. Dolorous and at times overwhelmingly sad, it speaks of the quiet everyday bravery of live and sustenance wrest from the sea and hewn from the land. It is music of such grace and beauty and expresses a profound sense of a people and of a landscape and a commitment to a heritage that is truly inspiring. What a very fine record, indeed” (Duncan Heining, Jazzwise)

Discography: 2009:
Nils Økland: ”Monograph” (ECM)
2004: Nils Økland: ”Bris” (Rune Grammofon)
2000: Nils Økland: ”Straum” (Rune Grammofon)
1996: Nils Økland: ”Blå harding” (Morild)

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