Welcome to Morten Alfred Høirup’s official website!

Springtime at the music store

25 Mar

We just shot a video for Nisswa-Stämman, a Scandinavian folk music festival in Minnesota. From down on the left: Kristian Bugge and Clara Tesch, above from the left: Morten Alfred, Mia Guldhammer and Mads Kjøller-Henningsen.

It is springtime and everybody is talking about quick tests, corona passports and reopening the country. Right now I am deeply involved in the mixing of the debut album Tral, Tråd & Traditioner, featuring the Danish singer Mia Guldhammer and myself, plus a few fantastic guest musicians.

At the same time I am collecting some of the tunes that I have composed during the years, in order to release my own music book, so that the tunes might get played by many more people. I have made a good deal with the small but well respected publisher Edition Switzer. The tunes in the music book will be commented in Danish and English.

Acctually, quite a few of my compositions, tunes like Ingelas ValsBjørnekædenRingen og Gæstebud, has been recorded and performed by a large number of musicians around the world. From the US and Canada over Switzerland and Germany to Australia, England and Finland. That makes me very happy.

Last weekend Mia and I did shoot a 30 minutes long video concert on request from the lovely ‘Scandinavien’ folk music festival Nisswa-Stämman, which is actually happening virtually from the small town Nisswa in Minnesota, USA. Joining us as special guests we have three great musicians from Denmark, namely violinist Kristian Bugge, violinist Clara Tesh and flute, bagpipe and hurdy-gurdy player Mads Kjøller-Henningsen.

This is our first concert together in public, so we are of cause looking forward to see how the the Americans like the show. The virtual concert is on June 11, 7 pm CDT. Here is the link to Nisswa-Stämman on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nisswastamman And this is their website: http://www.nisswastamman.org/

Towards brighter times

4 Jan

2020 became a strange year, and I think that this was the first time in 35 years that I have not been on tour outside the borders of Denmark. Photo: Henrik Jansberg

It is early on New Years eve 2020-21, in my oven a Moroccan tagine is simmering with a delicious vegan meal that I am looking forward to eat a little later in the evening, in the fridge I have a bottle of København Kombucha brewed on Oolong tea, which is going to be my champagne, and on Spotify the Milanese mezzo soprano Cecilia Bartoli is singing Rossini.

My youngest son Carl Alfred moved to Valby with his girlfriend this fall, and he is now preparing himself for the last few months at Frederiksberg Gymnasium. My oldest son Svend Alfred was home for a couple of month in the fall, befor sailing via Poland to Berlin to work there. While I am writing this, he is on his way to Portugal to work on a little ships yard near Lisbon. Both boys are happy despite all challenges, and I am very proud of both of them.

As we all know it has been a strange year with political disturbance, and Corona virus all over the world, the latter resulting in a complete halt to nearly all travel and touring activity.

I think this i probably the first time in 35 years that haven’t been outside the borders of Denmark for a full year, and even thou I really don’t miss especially the airports and the flights, I still do miss getting around with my music, meeting my Danish as well as my international friends and acquaintances.

I have spend the time on developing, organizing, recording and editing podcasts about folk music, on composing and recording music, and on preparing on better times when we can get out performing our music again.

If you want to listen to one of the  podcasts that I have produced for RadioFolk.dk, then I will reccomand that you listen to this one about the Danish folk music scene. It is hosted in English.  

My main podcast is called Katten i Sækken (The Cat in the Bag) and it is about what is happening on the Danish folk and trad scene right now. It has been coming out every month since 2014, and it will continue in 2021, supported by amongst others the Danish genrer organisation Tempi, and the The Danish Arts Foundation. Thank you so much for that!

2020 was the year when singer and percussionist Mia Guldhammer and I was supposed to record our debut album at the small but exclusive festival Musik over Præstø Fjord, but the Danish festivals was cancelled, and now we are recording at Louise Nippers Soundscape Studio at Frederiksberg in Copenhagen, featuring a team of great guest musicians.

The video above we did record in November in a very old jail situated next to an old church at Kastellet (The Fortress) at Østerbro in Copenhagen. Vi are singing an old song called Hyttevisen, together with the lovely soprano saxophone player Charlotte Anderson, who is also going to appear on our new album.

If you should wish to support the project by buying a digital or physical copy of our album up front, you can do so by clicking here.

This link will take you to our fund raising page on Indiegogo.com, where you will get much more info – we very much appreciate your support. Thank you so much!

We do expect to release our debut album during the spring 2021, an we are very much looking forward to that.

Now we are all waiting for the new year to bring happiness, hope and relatively normal conditions so that we can all get out playing, singing and dancing. And with this innocent but deeply felt wish for the new year, I bid you goodby and see you later out there where the music lives. Now it is time to eat my delicious meal. Best wishes!

What a weird summer

30 Aug

A manipulated photo from my father Fin Alfred’s garden in Dragør. Photo: Jes Paul

After a crazy spring where the entire world was challenged by corona virus, and the Danish live music scene was put out of business, we now see the weirdest summer ever. In most of europe they have gained control with the virus, and things are starting to look like before the virus – but then it’s not really.

We don’t see many touring musicians crossing the borders during these months, and it is still not easy to get the organizers to take the chance and book the bands.

These days many are performing live on facebook, which is pretty much like busking in the streets in the old days. You play your best, people are passing by, and if they like what they see, and if they can afford it, they might drop a coin or two before before the go on out in the swarm of online offers from Danish and international musicians.

I myself did a concert like that not long ago performing with the singer and percussionist Mia Guldhammer, and the violinist Kristian Bugge. That was a pretty good experience and we played for an ‘audience’ spread out over huge parts of the western world, especially the US. Find and see the concert on our facebook page. Music starts about 8 minutes into the video.

Mia Guldhammer and I are still planing to record a live album featuring guests at the festival Musik over Præstø Fjord, but because of the virus we have been forced to wait for one year. That of cause is a bummer, but it is also a bit cool, because that mean that our concert and our recording wiil happen on August 6th 2021 – and that is the exact day that I turn 60, so that’ll be quite some party.

As soon as the worst part of the pandemic seemed to calm down a little, we restarted composing and recording videos. This video was we recorded in my living room at Frederiksberg, with two good colleagues, multi instrumentalistMads Kjøller-Henningsen and violinist Clara Tesch. The tune Mia and I composed together calling it ‘Polka Umulius’.

My old dad and I on a walk in the Danish nature.

Not long ago we visited my old father in Dragør, and there we were allowed to film an old song from the island of Fanø in his little cozy work shop. The song is called ‘Rundt på gulvet’ (Round the floor) and it was one of publisher Julius Strandberg’s hottest successes during the late 19th century.

What a crazy spring

12 May

Oh boy! we are well into 2020 and, nothing seems to be as we expected when we were having champagne on new years eve. The Covid-19 is keeping musicians away from their audience, and even if we try to keep in touch on the internet, it is just not the same.

I have been working with the wonderful Danish singer, Mia Guldhammer in the duo Mia Guldhammer & Morten Alfred Høirup, for quite some time now, and we are preparing for our first full album which will hopefully be recorded and released during 2020.

If you want to follow us, checking out our latest music, and maybe even buy some of it, we have just created a profile at Bandcamp.com. Check it out here.

And here is a video showing some highlights from our very first concert at the exclusive little Musik over Præstø Fjord festival!

We are already booking for 2021, and it seems that we will be touring in Denmark, Germany and the US amongst others. More to confirm – we are looking forward to meet you all again. Don’t hesitate to let us know if you have good ideas for where we should perform during 2021.

This is our facebookpage by the way 🙂

Ruthie Dornfeld & Morten Alfred Høirup on tour in Denmark and Germany

4 Aug

The two ‘old’ friends and colleagues, composer and fiddler Ruthie Dornfeld (Seattle, WA), and composer, guitarist and singer Morten Alfred Høirup (Copenhagen, DK) has played music together for about 35 years.

We have been playing together for many years, and now we are getting ready for yet another tour. The American fiddler Ruthie Dornfeld and I met in the mid 80’s, and we have performed together ever since – not the least in the Danish-Finnish-American trio ACO (American Café Orchestra.

During the last couple of years we have mostly been playing as a duo, and this time we will start the tour in Germany at the small but progressive Windros Festival, which is situated in Schwerin, the second largest city in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. This is by the way where the Danish king Valdemar Sejr, was kept locked up together with his son, after they were taken hostage one night in May 1223, by the German count Henrik of Schwerin.

At Windros Festival we will be playing concerts with a mix of traditional and new music, we will be playing for dancing, and we will take part in the international festival band ‘Windros Orhcestra’, which will follow tradition and rehearse and work for a few days up to the festival, to perform a one hour festival concert at the mainstage Saturday night.

The band will consist of the following musicians:

Jo Freya (GB): Saxophones, Clarinettes and Vocals, Ruthie Dornfeld (USA): Fiddle and Vielle, Morten Alfred Høirup (DK): Guitar, Vocals, Doc Rossi (USA): Cittern, Guitar, Michael „Wacki“ Waterstradt (D): Doubble Bass and Wolfgang Meyering (D): Mandola, Mandolin, Percussion and Vocals.

We are looking so much forward to meet some of the many exciting German bands who has reconnected to the German folk tradition during the last few years, and after doing so, we will continue to Denmark, to play a handful of concerts at Frederiksberg (Copenhagen), in Dragør nor far from Copenhagen, in Vejstrup on Funen, and finally in Aarhus, Jutland (More info here)

After the Danish part of the tour, Ruthie will return to Seattle where she lives, and we will meet there to tour already in November 2019, but I will write more about that on a later occasion.

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 inspiring mix of good meetings with new people, quite a number of concerts in venues, radio- and TV studios, 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

Here is a video from our very first concert at Nisswa-Stämman in June 2019-

We returned to Copenhagen on June 18th, and now, as I mentioned, I am struggling to find back to my own circadian rhythm before I travel to Canada on July 9th, again 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!