Over the past 15 years Harald Haugaard has established himself as one of Denmark’s most well-known and recognised musicians. His virtuoso fiddle playing combines playful ease with a rich and melancholic sound. His compositions are contemporary, whilst remaining deeply rooted in the rich soils of the Danish musical tradition. In both composition and performance, Haugaard has shown himself to be an inquisitive and innovative artist who is continuously searching for something new. He brings a contemporary flair to the traditional Danish music in which he is clearly rooted.
Helene Blum has thrilled audiences throughout Europe, and from Canada to Japan, with her intensely expressive, crystal clear voice. Her artisticfocus embraces both traditional roots and innovation. Using ancient songs and ballads as a base, she reinvents them with contemporary expressions and mixes them elegantly with newly written songs, including her own. She is deeply rooted in Danish music traditions, but at the same time not afraid to challenge them.
By the age of two, she already wanted to play the violin, and all through her childhood her musical talent grew strong while playing with her three sisters. She played mainly piano, but also cello and violin, and from an early age sang the ballads and hymns that form her distinctive tradition.
She is touring all over the world in her own name and with the Helene Blum & Harald Haugaard Band and her latest album “Men med åbne øjne” was pointed as one of ten best folk albums of the year by the British news paper The Telegraph.
“Exuberant and rhythmic, somehow both wild and innocent, delivered with captivating melodic clarity and an irresistible playfulness,” says The Boston Globe about Hanneke Cassel’s playing. Such charismatic fiddling has brought Hanneke Cassel many honors and awards.
She is the 1997 U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion, she holds a Bachelor of Music in Violin and performance from Berklee College of Music, and she has performed and taught across the U.S., Scotland, Sweden, China, New Zealand, France, England, and Austria.
Julia Lacherstorfer was raised and infected with folk music in Bad Hall, Upper Austria.
Inspired by her parents folkmusic group “Kremsmünsterer Bock- und Leiermusik” and her grandfather’s accordion music, she desperately wanted to learn the violin by age 6.
2003 she moved over to vienna to study music education psychology, and philosophy and also jazz and improvised music, and her musical visions started to materialise more and more: Retrieve long-forgotten traditional tunes and incorporate them in her own music, discover rare gems from all over the world and become familiar with them. Play music with people and create small worlds.
2011 she founded her bands ALMA and “Ramsch und Rosen” and is touring with them all over the world as a fiddle player, singer and composer, and gives workshops in the fields of folk music, improvisation and yodelling.
ALMAs debutalbum “Nativa” was awarded with the “Bestenliste des deutschen Schallplattenpreises” in 2013.
“Julia Lacherstorfer is an incredibly versatile sound artist. Her musical oeuvre is characterized by a complete absence of stylistic boundaries. Abounding creativity and multifaceted curiosity are the ingredients of her musical energy and account for perpetual repositioning. However, her distinctive musical mindset is not subject to zeitgeisty world music vagueness but deeply rooted in the traditional Austrian music. She takes the allegedly familiar, homely and kitschy sounds to pieces and redefines her native music in a skillful and refreshing manner.”
(Renald Deppe, “Strenge Kammer”. Porgy&Bess 2013)
One of Shetland’s top fiddlers, Kevin is a long-standing member of leading bands Fiddlers’ Bid, Boys of the Lough, and Session A9. Kevin is also a member of the recently-formed Nordic Fiddler’s Bloc, a fiddle trio which combines Shetland, Swedish and Norwegian fiddle traditions to produce a diverse and invigorating sound. Kevin has been featured on 12 albums and has appeared on television and radio programmes worldwide.
Antti Järvelä grew up in a small town of Kaustinen, Finland, in a family where the traditional fiddling has been carried through several generations. He started playing the fiddle from the age of four and soon adapted the local dance fiddling style directly from his grandfather. In Kaustinen Music College Antti also started to learn the double bass, which soon became his main instrument. After studying bass at the famous Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, he decided to make music his profession. Antti works as a full-time freelance musician and teacher all around the world, carrying on the energy and fun he’s got to experience with folk music. He is the founder of the Finnish-Norwegian powerfolk string band Frigg and a member to such bands as Baltic Crossing, JPP, Troka, Kings of Polka.
Leo Svensson is a most experienced Swedish musician and teacher. He is
raised on the southern part of Sweden “Skåne” and has been performing
with a long line up of Swedish musicians.
Leo has studied at the Royal Academy of music in Copenhagen as well as
the Academy of Music and Drama in Gothenburg and has been around
contemporary classical music, electronika and improvisation. The
traditional Swedish music is the core of his playing and he performs
with a very distinct and original style.
He has recorded and toured with great artists such as Sofia Karlsson, Bowing 9, Lena Willemark, Mikael Marin from Väsen and Helene Blum.
Lykke Søndergaard grew up with traditional music as well as classical and rhythmic music, and combined classical training with a passion for traditional music. She graduated from The Carl Nielsen Academy of Music in Odense as a music teacher specialized in violin and traditional music.
Lykke teaches a lot of kids and young people and founded two youth string orchestras. She started several larger school projects, is working as folkmusic adviser and is engaged in keeping traditional music alive.
She has played concerts both on the danish folk and rhythmic scene and plays in different constellations.
Her primary artistic work is in the trio Nord-Spor,playing both traditional music from the region Himmerland, nordic and own music. Lykke works in in different collaborations on getting the music out new places and to new audiences.
Pete Cooper plays, teaches, composes, records and writes about fiddle music and is director of the London Fiddle School. He is best known for his book/CD The Complete Irish Fiddle Player (1995), published by Mel Bay, and four collections for Schott: Irish Fiddle Solos (2004), English Fiddle Tunes (2006), Eastern European Fiddle Tunes (2007) and American Old Time Fiddle Tunes (2009). He brings a relaxed, good-humoured approach to his workshops and concerts alike, and also sings, backing himself on fiddle or mandolin. He performs as a member of Anglo-Old Time trio Rattle on the Stovepipe, in a duo with cellist Richard Bolton, and solo. Pete travels widely to teach and perform, including trips to China (2004), India (2007) and Japan (2008, 2010).
With a background in the Danish traditional folk music Karen Mose combines her strong musical roots with her drive for musical innovation in an original mix of old and new danish songs.
Karen Mose, who is also known from the Danish group Phønix, made her debut as a solo artist with the critically acclaimed album ”Vingefang” in February 2011. The songs on the album is partly old songs, that Karen learned from her family, partly new songs from her own hand.
The atmosphere exudes forest and ocean and is based in the Danish and Scandinavian Folk tradition. The words are in Danish and circle about sorrow, hope and yearning.
May 2011 Karen recieved the “Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik” for “Vingefang”.
The connecting thread is Mose’s voice, a superbly sensitive instrument.Chris Nixon, fRoots
Already at this point, it is clear that it is lined up to be the best Folk Album of the year.