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.
Dawn hails from Mabou, Cape Breton and has been playing fiddle, and step dancing for almost 30 years! As a passionate advocate and supporter of the arts it comes as no surprise that music has been at the forefront of her life, surrounded by it through an infusion from her parents, her relatives, and living in the vibrant community of Mabou. Her long standing involvement as both a Cape Breton Gaelic style fiddler and step dancer, and as Artistic Director of the Celtic Colours International Festival are proof of that. She credits many influences on her playing, but cites Natalie MacMaster, Stan Chapman and Fr. Angus Morris as having the greatest impact through their playing and teaching.
Dawn is often seen performing alongside musical sister, Margie. Together they have performed and taught in various corners of the world, together or with fellow musical friends Kenenth MacKenzie and Jason Roach.
Additionally, Dawn serves on volunteer boards and makes it a point to volunteer her musical skills to many worthwhile local charities.
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.”
Coming out of West Jutland growing up near the Tidal Sea, Andreas Tophøj as a young boy left home and came across the thriving Danish folk music taking place on the isle of Fynen in the late 90’ties. Ever since being hooked on the music, he has been an important part of sharing it with audiences and generations of folk musicians to come. Through he’s own music with such bands as Basco and his duo with Rune Barslund, and through his commitment to teaching kids in sevaral influencial and important settings, he has made a substancial impact. His contribution in various ways passes on traditions and goes to shape the folk music of tomorrow.
Being one of the most busy and disederated Danish violinist and ”spillemænd” he has performed, composed and created music in theaters, movies, concerts halls, festivals on television and contributed to dusins of recordings. He has toured North Amerika and most parts of Europe. His beautifull, strong and vibrant playing derives not only from Danish traditions but also draws on American and Scandinavian inspirations.
His diverse style of playing, being both melodic, serene and rocking heavily like a steam lokomotive, has brought Andreas two nominations for ”Musician of the Year” at the Danish Music Awards, and awarded him and his bands ”Album of the Year” twice, as well as ”Track of the Year”. Over the years Basco has been featured as soloist with ”The Danish Radio Big Band” and ”The Military Orchestra of his Royal Highness – Prins Henrik”.
Since his studies at the Carl Nielsen Academy of Music (Odense, Denmark) and Berklee of Music (Boston, USA) Andreas him self has been a highly requested instructor, teacher and some places artistic director at important musical and cultural instutions such as MGK South, The southern Danish school of folk music talents, The Folkbaltica Ensemble and several fiddle schools through out Scandinavia.
Martin Strange Lorenzen
Martin Strange Lorenzen is a unique clarinetist and dancer specialising in the Danish tradition. Educated at Syddansk Musikkonservatorium in Esbjerg, Martin is considered to be one of his generations most fierce and skilled dance musicians. Known for his uncompromising sound, unrelenting drive and strong presence in bands like Mads Hansens Kapel and Mynsterland, Martin has made himself known in and outside Denmark as an ambitious and charismatic “wind-fiddler”, with a particular goal: Making dance music great again!
[Photo by: Ivan Riordan Boll]