EM81 / 2011
From the time I started playing Hardanger fiddle in January 1982 to the current release of this album, I have had many rich experiences as a fiddler. I got my start in a beginner’s course arranged by Hemsedal Spelemannslag (Hemsedal Fiddler’s Association). The course took place at the homes of the various participants. Knut Fausko and Egil and Kjell Syversbråten were the teachers.
Time passed and all the course participants fell by the wayside – until only I remained. I then began taking lessons from the father and son Egil and Kjell Syversbråten. I also joined in on lag practices. At this time, Hemsedal Spelemannslag was an active lag
and did a great deal of practicing and playing. I encountered fiddlers and musicians of many sorts in the spelemannslag. Players of all levels were welcome to participate, and the ensemble factor was high. In this way, I got to experience the joy of performing, even if my skills were not so great. Landskappleiken (Norway’s annual national folk music competition) in Odda in 1984 was the first landskappleik I attended. My memories from this trip are still vivid. One of the biggest reasons I continue to play is probably because Knut brought me along on trips like this.
I quickly came into contact with the fiddlers’ milieu in Hallingdal, first through Hallingdal Junior- spelemannslag (Hallingdal Junior Fiddlers’ Association) and then through various meetings with fiddlers, concerts, and parties in the valley. Not so few trips to Øyvind Brabandt in Nes and Jens A. Myro in Ål. I also had frequent contact with Harald Knutsen in Geilo.
Before I started playing the fiddle, I was active as a dancer in Samhald Ungdomslag (Samhald Youth Club). The club had a close collaboration with the spelemannslag. There was a large and active dance milieu in Hemsedal during the 1980s and 1990s. The spelemannslag often played for dancing at various events and parties. This close contact with dance and dancers has led me to work a great deal as a dance fiddler. I have been fortunate to get to play for some of the best dancers in the country at courses, concerts, and kappleikar, including two kongepokal winners at landskappleik. Dance fiddling has taken me to many parts of the world, including several trips to the USA as a dance fiddler and fiddle instructor.
I have been on a continuous search for good music throughout my years of playing fiddle. I got the opportunity to study various musical sources from Hallingdal while taking a bachelor’s degree in traditional music performance at the Ole Bull Academy. With Håkon Asheim’s assistance, I interpreted crackly archive recordings and more or less indiscernible transcriptions and uncovered exciting and seldom-played material.
I have also immersed myself in the limited body of traditional music played by performers from my home district, Hemsedal. For a long time, diatonic and chromatic button accordions were the dominant instruments in Hemsedal. I have therefore also collected some of the repertoire of tunes that was played on accordion and transferred it to the fiddle. This album is a cross section of the material I have played over the course of almost thirty years.I have played with musicians and instruments of various types since my early days in the spelemannslag, and it is therefore natural for me to include a good deal of ensemble playing on the album. And it is a great pleasure to be able to work with the musicians who make up the group Godsruta.
Erlend Styve, Anders Hall, Leif Ingvar Ranøien og Olav Undeland