Friday, November 14, 2008

Norwegian Musicians on Myspace

This week the Sons of Norway culture desk brings you some new Norwegian music that you can sample for free on Myspace.

Valkyrien Allstars consists of three young Hardanger fiddle players from Eastern Norway. Three unaccompanied Hardanger fiddles grinding away at the same time could be excessive under the direction of less creative musicians, but Valkyrien Allstars keep things fresh by blending in elements of blues and jazz to keep things fresh. One of the members also sings, and her throaty, soulful voice fits perfectly in the mix of old and new sounds.

Sami musician Mari Boine has been re-interpreting the traditional music of her people for almost twenty years. Never a strict traditionalist, Boine became an international star with the release of her debut album in 1989 which blended classic Sami joik signing with electronic music and other modern styles. Boine has never stopped pursuing her original vision and has collaborated widely with artists from around the world.

Hanne Hukkelberg is one of our favorite musical discoveries of the last few years. She’s a singer, but beyond that it’s almost impossible to say what genre her music belongs to. Some writers call it jazz, others say it’s alternative or indie, but to our way of thinking Hukkelberg is an excellent case in point of why those genre labels are so meaningless. Her voice is unique, but what really sets her apart is how she uses it – she has this strange, unhurried way of teasing expressive gestures out of a simple phrase or line. Her producer, fellow Norwegian Kåre Vestrheim also makes a major contribution, most importantly by staying out of the way of the vocals, but also by including unexpected sounds to the instrumentation, like the sound of a typewriter clacking in one song, or the sound of a boat passing through water in another.

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