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In the middle of a lovely summer featuring lots of Danish trad music

27 Jun

Jensen, Bugge & Høirup at Science Museum of Minnesota – it’s not often you see this many dinosaurus skeletons – not in Denmark anyway.

I am struggling a bit with my jetlag these days, and that is not my favorit thing to do, to be honest with you. Fortunately there is a reason for my condition, I just arrived in Copenhagen after two weeks of touring in the US Midwest, with the trio Jensen, Bugge & Høirup.

There we played a number of quite diverse concerts, partly as trio and partly with our two good friends and colleagues the 85 year old fiddler and two row accordion player Dwight ‘Red’ Lamb from Iowa, and the South Dakota fiddler Bill Peterson – both people that I respect a lot, and with whom I have performed several times.

The journey first went to the American-Scandinavian festival Nisswa-Stämman in the rich Minnesota, and then to a few quite diverse venues in South Dakota, and in the relative poor Iowa, including the ‘Danish’ town of Elkhorn. Those are the guys with the Danish windmill, known in Denmark from a couple of really funny TV shows about making Danish food in the US, created by the famous Danish chefs and brothers Adam and James Price.

Mette Kathrine in the green room with her 14 month old son Emil, sleeping while 85 year old Dwight is watching. There is about 15 minuts left before we go on stage to do a short set as part of longer concert with a lot of Scandinavian bands.

 

The trip turned out to be a good mix of happy meetings with lovely people, good music and exciting experiences (like when one night my hosts and I met a huge black bear in their garden). And then of cause we had Mette Kathrine’s 14 month old son Emil with us, and that was pretty cosy, but also quite a challenge. A little fellow like Emil doesn’t necessary understand that mommy also has a job to answer for – and how does a band deal with that?f

We returned to Copenhagen on June 18th, and now, as I said before, I am struggling to find my own circadian rhythm before I travel to Canada on July 9th, one more time together with the Danish fiddler Kristian Bugge.

Scandinavian String Alliance is getting ready for a 3 weeks tour in Canada from Vancouver BC to Prins Edwards Island.

This time we will be touring with the pan Scandinavian trio Fru Skagerrak for 3 weeks on the Canadian West and East coast with our project Scandinavian String Alliance.

We will be visiting a number of venues and festivals in Canada, and I am looking forward to test our common repertoire, and it will also be interesting to spend so much time together for the first time.

We will visit quite a number of venues and festivals, and we are looking forward to test our very new common repertoire, as well as to discover how it is to spend this much time together for the very first time. Will it work as we have planned? How will our audience receive us? Will this be something that we will all wish to build on?

We will know much more about all this when we return home in the very end of July – right now I am just super busy rehearsing our new repertoire, and preparing yet another journey across the Atlantic Sea.

Skandinavian festival in Minnesota celebrates 20th anniversary – with Danish guests

29 Mar

Nisswa-Stämman is a small exclusive folk music festival that runs every year in June. It’s happening in the little town of Nisswa, situated in the North American state of Minnesota, also known as ‘Land of 10.000 Lakes’.

I did visit the festival for the first time in 2007, together with the Danish violinist Harald Haugaard. We were the first Danish band playing at the festival, and I really liked it there.

Later, in 2016, I visited the festival with the trio Gangspil, and now when they are celebrating its 20th anniversary, I have been invited to play with the trio Jensen, Bugge & Høirup, featuring the old Danish-American fiddler and accordion player Dwight Lamb.

When we visit the festival this summer, it will be as part of a tour down through the American MidWest, playing concerts in Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa, which we are very much looking forward to.

Dwight Lamb, who are a descendant after a Danish emigrant, his grand father fiddler Kræn Jerup (Chris Jerup),who emigrated to the US from Jutland in Denmark in 1893, has a huge repertoire of old long forgotten Danish tunes that he actually learned from his grand father, .

Those tunes will be a large part of the repertoire that we will be playing and recording on this tour, but at Nisswa-Stämman we will perform in two variations: One featuring Dwight Lamb and his repertoire, and a slightly different one as the trio Jensen, Bugge & Høirup.

This is going to be good fun, I know that already…

If only I had Wings…

30 Jan

Now it is finally coming, the EP that the Danish singer Mia Guldhammer and I recorded at Nørrebro in Copenhagen in December 2018. Our Danish record company Go Danish Folk Music is releasing the album, and we are super proud of the result.

You can find the album online on Spotify, iTunes or where ever you use get your music..

The album which is titled ‘Havde jeg blot Vinger/If only I had Wings’, after an old song from the island of Fanø, contains 5 songs and tunes. This is the linernotes of the album (EP) in English:

Mia Guldhammer (Vocals, Shruti box, Percussion) & Morten Alfred Høirup (Vocals, Guitars) is a brand new vocal duo from Denmark. They are both wellknown and highly respected for their work in bands like Virelai, Mallebrok, Haugaard & Høirup and Himmerland, bands with whom they have been touring intensely all over the World for many years.

 Now the two musicians have joined forces, introducing something new on the international folk and world music scene, focussing on the old Danish songs and ballads, mixed with their own newly-composed music – all arranged for two vocals, guitars and ‘shruti box’ – an Indian drone instrument.

  1. En sang jeg fremfører/Bette mand i knibe (‘A song I Perform’/’Little man in a fix’) Trad. Danish 2:52 (ISRC DK-6KA-19-001-01)
  2. Huset ved havet (‘The House by the Sea’) Composer: Morten Alfred Høirup 2:18 (ISRC DK-6KA-19-001-02)
  3. Rundt på gulvet/Dansen (‘Around on the Floor’/’The Dance’) Trad. Danish/M. Guldhammer & M. A. Høirup 4:08 (ISRC DK-6KA-19-001-03)
  4. Sig mig hvor mange har elsket dig (‘Tell me how many has Loved You’) Composer: Don Robertson/Howard Barnes 3:30 (ISRC DK-6KA-19-001-04)
  5. Sorgen/Håbets dans (‘The Grief’/’Dance of Hope’)’Trad. Danish/M.A. Høirup 2:53 (ISRC DK-6KA-19-001-05)

Performed by Mia Guldhammer (Vocals, shruti box) & Morten Alfred Høirup (Vocals, guitars). All songs arranged and performed ‘live’ in the studio by Mia Guldhammer & Morten Alfred Høirup. Recorded by Tobias Elof in Malorka Studio, Dec 2018. Mixed and mastered by Louise Nipper at Soundscape Studio, Dec 2018. Released by Go’ Danish Folk Music (GO0119). Label Code: LC 09240. More info about the duo at: Mia Guldhammer: www.miaguldhammer.dk, and Morten Alfred Høirup: www.mortenalfred.com. Booking: mortenalfred@gmail.com. File under Nordic Folk/World Music    

About the songs:

  1. En sang jeg fremfører/Bette mand i knibe

An old traditional Danish love song about being left by your lover, put together with an old dance tune called ‘Little man in a fix’, or ‘Little man in Trouble’. ‘Goodbye my sweet girl, I wish you and your boyfriend all the best. You are now taking a new lover, but I think that you might very well regret that later, when you think about what you promised to me earlier on’

  1. Huset ved havet

Morten Alfred originally composed this tune for a Danish TV documentary. ‘The House by the Sea’ is not a real ‘house’, it is a ‘mental house’ where you can seek refuge, when you need to be alone to meditate or reflect about your life and your situation.

  1. Rundt på gulvet/Dansen

Rundt på gulvet (‘Around the floor’) is an old traditional song from the Danish island of Fanø, situated in the south western part of the country, not far from the German border. The song is about a young girl who has two lovers, and it starts like this: ‘Oh if only I had wings, and was a little bird, then I would fly to a strange country, where no males are living’. The first of her two lovers is named ‘Joy’, the second is called ‘Dancing’, and she often walks around the dance floor with both, using the very light steps of the youth. The song is being followed by ‘Dansen’ (The dance), a little dance tune composed by Mia & Morten illustrating this powerfull young girl dancing.

  1. Sig mig hvor mange

Sig mig hvor mange (‘Tell me how many’) is a originally an American song, adapted by the Danish Travelers. ‘The Danish Travelers’ were gypsies, cirkus artists, musicians and other people traveling the country especially during spring, summer and autumn, and living in camps in the cities during winter time. This version of the song was first recorded in Denmark around 1959, featuring the great musician Antonius Sambleben singing and playing his guitar. In the song a man is asking his girlfriend how many that has kissed her as tender as he has – but he begs her not to answer his question, because he really doesn’t want to know. He also asks how many has loved her the way he does, and continues: ‘Please tell me how many has hurt you as deep as I have now? How many, I ask you, even though I really don’t want to know…’

  1. Sorgen/Håbets dans

Old Danish song with a lot of verses. We have chosen two, here is a quick translation:

I got a grief so deep

In my young days

It will never leave me

As long as I live.

It is the deepest grief

That any person can feel

It is to love somebody

That you can never get

 

Now I will wish for you

So many good days

As the linden tree carries foliage

And the beech tree carries leafs

As the fish in the sea

As the sand on the beach

As the stars beyond number

In the heavenly hall of joy

This song continues into Morten’s tune Håbets dans, a tune that seeks to inspire hope.

On my way into the new year, with lots of things happening!

23 Dec

My good friend the great Seattle fiddler Ruthie Dornfeld and I, posing for a selfie in December 2018.

It is always a very special experience for me to look back on the year that past, and forward to the year that is coming – and often one can find plenty of time to do just so, during the days between Christmas and new years eve.

Podcasts about Danish folk & trad music
I have a lot of really exiting things happening these days. I am looking back on an inspiring teamwork with good colleagues developing radio and podcasts about the Danish roots, folk & trad music scene in Denmark. You can follow the results of that cooperation at RadioFolk.dk, and on iTunes and Spotify, where you will find podcasts like ‘Katten i Sækken – en podcast-serie om den danske folkemusikscene lige nu’ (‘The Cat in the Bag – a podcast series about the Danish folk music scene right now’) and ‘Spillefolkenes Hemmeligheder – en rejse i dansk folkemusik’ (The Secret of the folk musicians – a journey in Danish roots, folk and trad music’). Finally you can listen to Folk Live’, a show hosted in English and featuring Danish bands recorded at Tønder Festival – and fortunately there is more to come.

This summer we started a association called ‘Mediehaven’ (The Media Garden) which will be running the media platform RadioFolk.dk. Mediehaven will at the same time be working on strengthing Danish roots, folk and trad music in the medias in Denmark and around the world, and I am very proud to be the chairman of that association – this is a cooperation that I expect a lot from.

The fact is that  RadioFolk.dk’s facebook page is now the largest folk music media in Denmark, and probably the largest media in the world, focussing on the Danish roots, folk and trad music scene. More than 3.000 followers are getting their daily information and inspiration from that page. You will find it here!

Traveling with music
When we speak live concerts, a lot is happening in 2019, and I am planning to tour with different musical constellations in Denmark, Germany, Canada and the US.

Mia Guldhammer and I just went to the studio to record a handful of songs for making videos, and for iTunes and Spotify.

Amongst the newer things happening is my very inspiring cooperation with the great Danish singer and tradition carrier, Mia Guldhammer, and my renewed musical partnership with my good old friend and colleague, Seattle violinist Ruthie Dornfeld, with whom I have been playing in American Café Orchestra for many years.

Mia and I are working hard to develop our repertoire, and will be doing our first concerts in Denmark and Germany during 2019.

Together with Ruthie – whom I have known and worked with ever since the eighties – I will be performing in Denmark, Germany and the US, during 2019, and that of cause, I am also looking very much forward to.

The cooperation with accordion player Mette Kathrine Jensen and violinist Kristian Bugge in the trio Jensen, Bugge & Høirup, is somewhat influenced by the three of us being so busy with other projects, but we are looking forward to a number of concerts in Denmark in 2019, and a tour in June featuring the old Danish-American violin and accordion legend Dwight Lamb, in the American Midtwest – right in the middle of Trump land.

Scandinavian String Alliance is – from left to right: me, Kristian Bugge (DK), Anna Lindblad (S), Elise Wessel Hildrum (N) & Maja Kjær Jacobsen (DK)

And then of cause there is the Scandinavian String Alliance, a project where Kristian Bugge and I along with the pan Scandinavian trio Fru Skagerrak to tour in Canada during July 2019 – and there is a lot more to tell about, but I will make sure to write about all that in this blog during the next few month.

Finally I will wish you all – family, friends, colleagues and associated – a Merry Christmas, and a Fantastic New Year – I’ll see you all out there!

Jensen, Bugge & Høirup touring Denmark in the autumn

7 Oct

From the left: Kristian Bugge (fiddle), Mette Kathrine Jensen Stærk (accordion) & Morten Alfred Høirup (guitar, vocals)

We are so much looking forward to tour our beautiful country during the first 10 days of November.

The tour will consist of a healthy mix of workshops, dances and concerts, and we are all excited to present some new material for the audience around the country..

The tour will actually begin in Växjö in Sweden and then proceed to Denmark where we will be visiting venues in the cities as well as at the country side in Jutland and on Zealand.

You will learn more on the trio’s official website – we are looking forward to see you!

Here you have a video from the Musik over Præstø Fjord Festival where we played for a dance-concert in 2017 – dance concert in this case means that the music has been arranged for listening as well as for dancing, so that the audience are sitting on benches in the back and along the wall to listen, while others are moving on the floor.

The secrets of the folk musicians – a journey through Danish folk music

6 Oct

Photos: Mikkel Bech and Franseska Mortensen (www.franseska.dk)

It’s happening – finally! on November 14th Tempi – Roots Music of Denmark – an organisation promoting Danish folk music – are inviting for a reception celebrating the new podcast serie “Spillefolkenes Hemmeligheder – en rejse i dansk folkemusik” (The secrets of the folk musicians – a journey through danish folk music”).

The podcast has – at the moment – six episodes in which I am interviewing some pretty significant characters from the Danish musicscene. I ask them about the essens of their work, and together we explore some of their craft’s deepest secrets.

At the reception you can experience music and stories by the singer and tradition carrier Mia Guldhammer, musician, composer and multi instrumentalist Martin Seeberg, and musician, programmer and sound designer David Mondrup. Producer: Morten Alfred Høirup.

The serie, which is targeting listeners that might be curious, but who are not already part of the folk scene, can be heard at www.radiofolk.dk from November 14th – in Danish that is.

The reception is a coperation between Tempi, RadioFolk.dk and Mediehaven, and it is happening in Copenhagen. It is is open for everybody – get more info here!

Scandinavian String Alliance signed by Canadian agency Jensen Music International

20 Sep

Scandinavian String Alliance is (from left): Maja Kjær Jacobsen (DK), Kristian Bugge (DK), Anna Lindblad (S), Morten Alfred Høirup (DK) & Elise Wessel Hildrum (N) Photo: Henrik Jansberg

Scandinavian String Alliance (SSA) is a touring project created by two Scandinavian bands, who are playing and singing traditional as well as newly composed music and songs from Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

The project features the Pan-Scandinavian violin trio Fru Skagerrak and the Danish violin and guitar duo Kristian Bugge & Morten Alfred Høirup, and their very individual ways of presenting the music of their homelands.

But the two acts also join forces as a part of their show of old Scandinavian joking songs and heartfelt love songs, combined with some great traditional dance music and catchy new tunes – all arranged for strings, flutes and voices.

Bob Jensen, leader of Jensen Music International, has Danish ancestors, and he is thrilled about the cooperation:

“I have been following the Danish roots music scene for more than a decade and I have always been impressed with both the calibre and the integrity of the musicians.  Scandinavian String Alliance brings together several of Denmark’s finest performers but also includes wonderful musicians from Sweden and Norway, and is about as great a representation of Scandinavian song, dance and instrumental fare as can be imagined. I feel that packages like this are the best way to bring this music to Canadian audiences.”

Scandinavian String Alliance and Jensen Music International works on a longer tour in Canada during the summer of 2019!

More info at: www.scandinavianstringalliance.com

New duo work with Danish songs through centuries

15 Sep

Mia Guldhammer (Vocals, percussion) & Morten Alfred Høirup (Guitar, vocals). Photo: Jes Paul

Wow! The Danish singer Mia Guldhammer and I actually started a duo that will work with the traditional Danish ballads and old folk songs in general.

That development came as a surprise for me, and I am so excited about it. We are already up and running, introducing our brand new facebook page, a new video and some cool events during the coming months.

Mia Guldhammer is one of our most respected traditional folk singers, at at the same time she is my favorit singer on the Danish folk music scene, so I am just happy.

Mia is touring a lot in Denmark and internationally with, amongst others, playing medieval music with Virela, and folktronica with Mallebrok.

During the coming months, we will be performing at the German Windros Winter Folk Festival, and later in 2019, we will be at the Danish Musik over Præstø Fjord Festival, and at Folk Club Mors in the North of Jutland – and there is more to be confirmed.

You can get more information about the duo Mia Guldhammer & Morten Alfred Høirup on this website, and you can watch a video that my old friend and radio and film music colleague Jes Paul has masterly shot in one take. No editing necessary:

New music and new friends at Windros Festival in Germany

12 Sep

To say it as it is: I had 4-5 great days at the German Windros Festival during 5th to 9th of September making new friends, lots of rehearsing and some really fun concerts, with good musicians and composers that I met for the very first time.

Accordion player Jesper Vinther (Phønix, Ostinat Ekspressen) and I had a couple nice concerts as people was sitting close together listening to the music and the songs (‘Roots Music aus Kjøbenhavn’), and to our stories and explanations. This was our very first concert together ever, even though we have known each other for many years, but Jesper is super professional, so this was ‘piece of cake’, so to speak. A mix of old songs and traditional dance tunes, spiced up with a few of my compositions – all in new arrangements.

I always knew that the big challenge would be the work with the big Windros Festival Orchestra. There was a lot that we had to find time to teach each others, before we were supposed to do the main concert of the festival. But 2-3 days of intensive work did result in an absolutely awesome concert on Saturday night 10pm to 11:20pm, a concert with lots of new music, lots of minor mistakes, and lots of happy, singing, laughing – but also sometimes very serious – people in the audience.

Jesper Vinther og jeg spiller vores anden koncert på Windros Festival. Det er søndag formiddag, og folk er troppet talstærkt op for at høre et sammensurium af de bands som har spillet de foregående dage, og som stadig er på festivalen på det tidspunkt. Ganske som de gør det på f.eks. Halkær Festival.

It was good fun to be allowed to play on good German, English and Scottish coworkers music, but not the least fun when they played on my music, such as ‘Ingelas Waltz’, *The sorrow’, ‘Vindmills’ and a crazy and super simpel cajun tune  that I heard many years ago somewhere on the American east coas, that we ended up using as a funny encore making everybody in the audience sing along. That was one of the highlights for me. The concert was recorded for German radio!

If everything goes the way I hope, I’ll will be back in Windros next year with a friend and colleague, but more about that when all deals are done and settled.

A big thank you to Jesper Vinther, to my international colleague’s – and now also friends – and especially to mandolinist Wolfgang Meyering who organized the orchestra. And to the audience. Without you, this lifestyle wouldn’t make sense 🙂

Here you will find a little facebook video clip from the day after the main concert where we, on the final concert of the festival, plays Gavin Marwick’s composition ‘Firedance’, a small suite with a nice melody and a good grove.