Olaus Magnus Historia om de nordiska folken. Bok 1 – Kapitel 1 – Om Bjarmaland, dess läge och beskaffenhet. Utgivningsår 1555.
What better on a sunny Sunday than this wonderful daybreak of a tune! The hambo is an old Swedish dance, part of a set of old folk dances known as Gammaldans. This modern hambo was composed by acclaimed American mountain dulcimer player Mark Gilston.
I begin with apologies. It’s been a while since I last posted a tune – Christmas and work and a strained hand have driven a coach and horses through my blog schedule.
But though it’s a freezing January in the Northern hemisphere, here’s something to raise our heads, lighten our steps and give thanks for the glimmerings of longer days. Glorious Swedish duo Marin/Marin play Skrap-Ollas Polska on fiddle and viola – both 5-string instruments, in standard tuning CGDAE, (viola an octave lower).
I include two videos: the first shot at a festival with Swedish dancers; the second, a closer stage performance where some of the fingering is visible and the interplay/improvisation is right up front.
Keep warm, everyone – and enjoy!
Mia Marin (5-string fiddle), Mikael Marin (5-string viola)
With dancers Petra Eriksson and Anton Schneider, at the Korrö Festival, 2014. (The video starts mid-tune, comes round to the beginning again at 0:22.)
The Swedish 3/4 time slängpolska plays in some strangely danceable world between polka and waltz. This popular example was composed by Uppland herring fisherman, bargeman and renowned nyckelharpist Carl Ersson Bössa (1783-1847), known as Byss-Kalle (or Byss-Calle).
To non-Scandinavian ears, the rhythm is extraordinary: there’s an interesting discussion of slängpolska timing, along with details of Byss-Kalle’s life, at Banjo Hangout here.
Every couple of weeks or so I feature a tune that's caught my fancy – audio/video clips of brilliant musicians playing great, perhaps uncommon tunes to learn by ear. Most are from the English and American Old-time traditions; some hail from other musical worlds ‒ Scandi, perhaps, or French. But whatever you play ‒ fiddles or frets, free-reeds or fipples ‒ I hope you enjoy catching these wonderful tunes!