Tuesday, March 27, 2012

American Folk Music in Norway? Ja!

American folk music has fans around the world, and Norway is no exception. Last week I had the pleasure of chatting with Erlend Viken, a member of Earlybird Stringband (pictured here), one of Europe's most sought-after bluegrass groups.

Viken (second from left), a renowned folk fiddler in the Norwegian tradition, began exploring old-time and bluegrass music in his youth. While a student at Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, he started playing American folk music with classmates, and the Earlybird Stringband was born. Since forming in 2005, the band has been performing concerts and festivals throughout Europe and has released two albums, both of which have been nominated for the prestigious spellemannsprisen (Norway's grammy equivalent).

I chatted with Viken at length about what attracts him to American folk music, how the band approaches music making, and how Norwegian influences might find their way into their tunes. You can read more about Viken and others in the July issue of Viking, when we dig into the topic of American folk music in Norway. Until then, enjoy this clip of the Earlybird Stringband.

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