Saturday, March 31, 2012

Language Camps Change Lives

This week I've been working on a story for Viking magazine that's close to my heart. I'm writing an article to commemorate Skogfjorden's 50th anniversary, planned for June 22–24. When Concordia College launched its Norwegian language camp back in 1963 with just 19 campers, I'm sure they had no idea how many youth they would inspire, how much fun would be had, and how much norsk would be learned by generations of kids, many of whom—like me—were able to attend thanks to scholarships from Sons of Norway.

The summers I spent at language camp changed my life. I developed a deep interest in Nordic culture (which translated into an appreciation for other cultures as well). I went on to study Norwegian in college and in Norway, and to spend my summers in college working at Skogfjorden. And now, years later, I get to use my interest in all things Scandinavian by editing Viking—a magazine that celebrates Norwegian heritage and culture. This summer, thanks to scholarships from District 1 Sons of Norway and my local lodge, my kids are looking forward to their time at Skogfjorden. Who knows where their language camp experiences will take them?

Over the past 50 years, language camps have popped up in all Sons of Norway districts—including Camp Little America for members in Norway. Is there a child in your life who would benefit from camp? To find one in your district, check out the opportunities listed on Sons of Norway's website.

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

Photo courtesy of Concordia Language Villages.

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.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

As Seen in Viking Magazine

Remember the Mermaid Shawl shown in the September 2010 issue of Viking? If you're like me, you've been meaning to make it ever since it graced our cover. If you live in the Twin Cities, there's good news: You can attend a free "knit-along" on Mon., March 19 at the Yarn Garage in Rosemount, Minn., to create this wardrobe staple—just in time for spring!

In addition to some basic knitting skills, you'll need the Mermaid Shawl pattern (available in Viking or from the Yarn Garage), 400–600 yards of Yarn Garage yarn (depending on shawl variation), and a set of size 9 needles. Participants should come to class with your yarn selected and the first six rows completed. For more information or to RSVP, follow this link, or call the Yarn Garage at 651-423-2590.

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Viking Makes it Modern

"Dust off that teak sideboard," writes Mpls St. Paul Home Editor Melinda Nelson in her upcoming Viking feature. "Your family's mid-century heirlooms are the must-have furnishings of the moment."

Nelson has teamed up with Twin Cities interior designer Holly Bayer to take a fresh look at Scandinavian modern design for our May cover story. Nelson and Bayer combine the old with the new to give mid-century classics a look that is decidedly fresh. It's not your parents'—or grandparents'—Scandinavian modern!

To bring the look together for our photo shoot, Nelson and Bayer turned to some of their favorite local resources. They found the gorgeous sideboard pictured here from Danish Teak Classics, and chairs and accent tables from Spinario Design. Steve Belrose of Belrose & Co. created white pine flooring with a perfect patina for the shoot.

To learn how and where to get the look for your own home, watch for the May issue of Viking! You'll find Nelson's favorite Scandinavian design resources, as well as tips from Bayer on how to add a touch of Scandinavian modern to any decor.

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Viking chats with Susanne Lundeng

Viking recently caught up Susanne Lundeng, a violinist, fiddler and composer who has found her musical path by blending Norwegian folk music with a more contemporary sound. Born in Bergen and raised in the northern city of Bodø, Lundeng has been playing professionally since the age of 20. We couldn't squeeze the whole interview into the March issue of Viking, but you can read the rest of the conversation here:

Viking: How does your Norwegian heritage inspire your music?
Susanne Lundeng: My music is inspired by northern Norway and the type of artists and chorale melodies they have there. So it’s connected in a way. But I also play a lot of traditional stuff, so it’s a mix.

V: How often do you practice?
SL: I practice every day. When I’m traveling, I’m not practicing as much because I travel during the day and play during the evenings. At home I like to get up in the morning and do it. I have two kids, ages 10 and 14, so I get them to school and then I practice.

V: Where did you go to school?
SL: I haven’t studied music. Education for folk musicians didn’t exist when I was young. I only went to school until I was 19.

V: Do you have any albums coming out or tours in the spring?
SL: I will play a little in Russia with some Russian musicians. We try to have projects with Russian people because we share a border with them. I have a trio with two classical musicians, so I will play a mix of folk music and classical showpieces. We call ourselves the Midnight Sun.

V: How often are you traveling during the year?
SL: It can be 120, up to 150 days but not more than that.

V: Do you prefer solo concerts or playing in a band?
SL: It depends. After many years of playing with a band, it was really nice to play solo. But after some time, you miss the band. I like to do both.

You can listen to a clip of Susanne's music here. To read the rest of the Viking interview, check out our March issue!

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.