Olav Luksengård Mjelva Comes to Moers

by Olav Luksengård Mjelva –

I am a norwegian folk musician from the old mining town Røros. I started playing the fiddle when I was six and after a few years I joined the traditional fiddlers in my home town. 25 years later, I´m playing and touring more than ever, and I have to admit that I´m very happy with that.

It all started with traditional music, and that is still the music I know best. But for me it has always been important to take the traditional music into new settings, like in my bands SVER and The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc, and that´s maybe one of the reasons I´m coming to Moers this year.

I play the violin and the norwegian hardanger fiddle. The hardanger fiddle is quite unique in several ways. First it´s the instrument itself which looks spectacular with a lot of ornaments and 9 strings. There are 4 top strings, (like on a normal violin, but the strings are usually tuned a bit higher and/or in different tunings) and 5 sympathetic strings.

Then there is the music. Most traditional fiddle tunes in Scandinavia consist of 2-3 parts which are repeated, and the tunes are often played together with other musicians. The traditional music for the hardanger fiddle is solo music. The tunes are usually put together from many small motives (2-4 bars), and there´s a lot of space for individual interpretations. A tune can be played very different by two fiddlers from the same place. So when I´ve learned a tune, often from an older fiddler or a recording, I can listen to other fiddlers playing the same tune and find variations and improvisations I like and put them into the tune.

sofia ale-3-sTrondheim Jazz Orchestra with Olav Mjelva (third from left) and Sofia Jernberg (fourth from right)

For me, the thought of coming to the Moers Festival together with Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, makes me really glad. You see, norwegian folk musicians don´t usually get to play with such fantastic jazz orchestras 🙂 There has been quite a few collaborations between folk musicians and jazz musicians, but I´ve never heard the hardanger fiddle music in a setting like this.

The arrangers, Zethson, Jernberg and Grenager, have really done a great job finding the core of the fiddle music and arranging it for the orchestra. The idea from the beginning was that the orchestra would amplify the original melodies, and I think they´ve made it very interesting and unique. I hope you will like it! See you in May!

Beste hilsen,

Olav

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