Monday, September 22, 2008

Not always so Nordic

Well, hurdy heads, you'll have to wait a few weeks for my "next generation of rockin' hurdy gurdy" piece because some of the musicians I wanted to interview are on tour and or traveling right now. One of them was roadtripping from Poland to Germany to see Hedningarna. SEE! I knew there was a link!

Since it is just a few days until Nordic Roots 10 begins, I would take this opportunity to let my mind drift back, back along the paths of Nordic Roots Fests of yore. As I have been Drottningen av Gästfrihet (that's "Queen of Hospitality" to you, Jack) for a number of years now, I sometimes catch glimpses of things the larger audience does not. Little details to savor, like a smooth piece of beach glass in the palm of your hand.

Like Mari Boine standing utterly alone in front of a full length mirror, swirling her red cape about herself. So contained, so dignified.

Or Hoven Droven giggling with glee as they planned the acoustic bluegrass tune they would play on borrowed mandolins and banjos after Nick introduced them as the world's loudest Nordic band. You gotta know that just made (bass player) Pedro's day as he really is in a bluegrass band back home in Sweden. Of course they DID blow the speakers later that night once they were back at their amplified instruments.

There are of course, some members of Hoven Droven, who are active in the KISS fan club in their spare time back home in Sweden...

We had a question about the three finger salute after last week's post so I'll be sure to get to that today, OK? So you know how metal fans "fly the horns" to show they are really rockin' out? Folk music fans can put up the three finger salute, because a lot of traditional music, say a polska for example, is in 3. Or as Pedro Blomberg, Hoven Droven's bass player told me after Turbo came out , it means "Love , peace and three beats."

And I know "what happens in the Green Room stays in the Green Room", but there was that time at an afterparty when ...oh never mind.

Funny how some of my most precious NRF memories don't star any of our Scandinvian pals at all; they feature American old time fiddler Bruce Molsky. One time a young Norwegian folk-metal band named Gåte was here opening for Hoven Droven. They were loud and rocked and other than giving me a hard time about our political system after the show, I thought a lot of fun. So Bruce had been at the festival that weekend, playing with Ellika Frisell and Solo Cissoko (see video below of those two) He was persuaded to pull out his fiddle afterwards in the green room. You shoulda seen the metal guys! They loved it! The bass player was trying to keep time and clap along and Bruce just said "Man, you're slowing me down!". Everybody lost it, and cheered like crazy when he finished the tune.

Another year it seemed like every famous Scandinavian fiddler in the world was here at the Cedar that weekend and Bruce had come up to jam with Ellika during her set.
All the fiddlers wanted to jam after the concerts, so they went over to one of the bars at Seven Corners and took over the whole upstairs. After the bar closed, everybody straggled over to the hotel lobby across the
street and just sat on their instrument cases, rather at a loss. Once again, Bruce was persuaded to pull out his fiddle and he played us some sweet slow tunes to send everybody off for the night. Then he set down his fiddle and did "Man of Constant Sorrow" as a field holler. If there is a man who can make a field holler sound holy, in a sterile hotel lobby at 3 in the morning, Bruce Molsky is that man.

Not mention, that he is probably the only Appalachian old-time fiddler who can do the "ultimate dueling fiddles" trick with Hoven Droven's Kjel-Erik Erikson!

1 comment:

mrs. yam said...