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Er det runir

Svein Westad, Halvor Håkanes, Anne Svånaug Haugan & Svein Stensaker

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Medieval ballads and old tunes in new arrangements.

This CD-album is the result of collaboration between three folk musicians and one jazz musician. The musical material is drawn from Norway’s oldest folk music. The tunes are, for the most part, selected from traditional Hardanger fiddle repertoire of Tinn, in the region of Telemark. We have adapted them to Jew’s harp and langeleik and find that playing together with the Hardanger fiddle opens a new world of resonances and exciting harmonies.

The vocal material consists mainly of ballads and hymns, and is accompanied by various instruments. Among these is the Medieval Kravik-lyre. Svein Westad explores the possibilities this Norwegian lyre offers, playing both melody and accompaniment. This has never before been done for a commercial recording. Halvor Håkanes and Anne Svånaug Haugan contribute solo and as a duo, creating suspenseful dialogues. Percussionist Svein Stensaker enhances the rhythms, providing new dimensions and expanding the music’s spatial feeling with his gentle, but powerful, accompaniment.

The rhythmic aspect is central in this production. Drums and Hardanger fiddles were once commonly heard together, as we find documented in Numedal in the 1700s. Medieval ballads were originally song-dances, and certainly must have been performed rhythmically. The tunes on the CD have stories associated with them. The ballads are epic-lyrical, telling dramatic tales of love and life and death. Story-telling is thus an essential element in the music.

The album’s title, Er det runir, is taken from the refrain in Runarvisa (The Rune Ballad): Er det runir sille me vinne (With the runes we will win). Runes were magical signs/markings for defense against evil forces. Runes together with music represented forces of good and restoration. We hope to do the same with our old tunes and new arrangements. Welcome into our musical universe!

For more information enter the web page of Etnisk musikklubb


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