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.
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]
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.
Mike Block is a pioneering cello player, singer, composer, and educator, hailed by Yo- Yo Ma as the “ideal musician of the 21st-Century”. Passionate about cross-cultural collaboration through music, Mike is committed to inspiring individuals and connecting communities. At home in a wide range of musical styles, through a multi-genre approach to composition, performance and education, he seeks to inspire audiences and empower musicians to find joy in the full world of music. Acclaimed by the NY Times for his “vital rich-hued solo playing”, Block’s solo performances offer a rich mixture of core classical repertoire with original compositions.
Mike is member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble (SRE) , having joined in 2005 while a student at The Juilliard School. Touring extensively throughout the world with SRE, he has been featured as cello and vocal soloist, contributed arrangements and compositions, and earned a Grammy Award in 2017 for their album, Sing Me Home.
As an innovator, Mike is among the first wave of cellists to adopt a strap in order to stand and move while playing. With The Block Strap, Mike was the first standing cellist to perform at Carnegie Hall. The NY Times characterized the performance as, “Breathless … Half dance, half dare.” As an educator, Mike is passionate about creativity and collaboration, and is the founding director of Silkroad’s Global Musician Workshop, and the Mike Block String Camp.
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.”