The podcast for everyone who loves the cool north

Deep   Culture

Magnificent and mysterious – the Hardanger fiddle
Come with me on a pilgrimage to the tiny mountain village of Vågå – together with 800 other people. They have been drawn there by one passion, one hunger. To hear the music of the Hardanger fiddle. Delicate and decorative – muscular and feisty. With this podcast, I am doing penance for past sins, having previously believed the Hardanger fiddle to be near-obsolete, a museum piece. And its music unsophisticated. How wrong I was! Hearing the instrument at its mysterious and magnificent best – as played by virtuoso Ottar Kåsa – opened a gateway for me to deep Norwegian culture. It achieves a modern miracle: to be vigorously and unsentimentally alive, while maintaining a musical inheritance. And it also connected up with the deep culture of my own background, on the west coast of Ireland.

Detail of Hardanger fiddle made in 1911–12 by Olav Eivindsen Bakkene, Telemark i 1911-12. The instrument belongs to Telemark Museum. (See also gallery below)
Photo: Bård Løken
Licence: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Twitter: @northbynorway

to Ottar Kåsa for permission to use his recording of Høgsetbenken (a springar after Myllarguten)

00:00 North by Norway
written on GarageBand by Andrew J. Boyle, using the Norwegian folksong ‘I Ola-dalom, i Ola-tjønn’

03:00 Høgsetbenken – springar, after Myllarguten
performed by Ottar Kåsa (Hardanger fiddle)

17:00 An Draighneán Donn
performed by Sorcha Ní Ghuairim
From: Sorcha Ní Ghuairim Sings Traditional Irish Songs, issued as Folkways Records FW06861 (1945)
The Hunt for the King (part 2)

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