2007 Hardanger Fiddle Music and Dance Workshop
Folklore Village, Dodgeville, WI, July 19 - 22
Our 24th annual HFAA Workshop was once again held at Folklore Village Farm in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. Located on the edge of a restored prairie 35 minutes west of Madison, WI, Folklore Village was a lovely, rural setting for our four-day program that was filled with Hardanger fiddle, dance, singing, munnharpe and seljefløyte classes, concerts, lectures, and several lively Norwegian dance parties. The annual business meeting of HFAA members was also held at Folklore Village, on Saturday, July 21 after lunch.
Setesdal has a rich and varied fiddle tradition that includes the playing of beautiful vocal melodies, the creation of the setesdalsfele (a unique cross between a regular violin and a Hardanger fiddle), and the "heartbeat" foot tramp of the fiddler to the syncopated rythms and intricate melodic development of Setesdalsgangar tunes. The driving intensity and creative improvisations of the music offer an intriguing challenge for dancers to fit their steps to the beat while moving either in a ring as a social mixer or as a single couple with opportunities for men's accrobatics.
Many of the earliest Setesdalsgangar tunes were conceived on the munnharpe (mouth harp) and are thus the overall form of the gangar is keenly suited to the unique rythmic and tonal capabilities of the instrument. (Listen to music samples.) Setesdal contains the richest munnharpe traditions of any region in Norway and the instrument is commonly associated with the valley's traditional folk culture. We were pleased to offer munnharpe classes again at this year's workshop.
Our guest artists from Norway demystified the unique traditions of Setesdal for us. Monika Antun (Hardanger fiddle), a Class A fiddler and member of the fiddle group Knut Heddis Minne which has won the Landskappleik (national traditional dance and music competitions) several times, taught for many years in the folk music program at the Valle secondary school. Torleiv Løyland (dance and munnharpe) won the Landskappleik in dance in 1977. His two-decade teaching career includes fifteen years at the renowned Ole Bull Akademiet in Voss. Torleiv was assisited in teaching dance and munnharpe by his daughter Marit Løyland. Our American Hardanger fiddle instructors, Karen Løberg Code, Sarah Nagell, Karen Solgård, and Toby Weinberg are all well known for their teaching skill. All have studied with master players in Norway. Singing classes offered a unique opportunity to learn Setesdal fiddle melodies and songs from other valley regions of Norway with Carol Sersland, Hege Ravdal, and Sarah Nagell.Bruce Emery and Mary Hegge reviewed teaching of the Valdresspringar, which was featured at our 2004 workshop. And of course, evening dance parties offered a wide variety of dances from many other traditions of Norway, including the very popular springar and gangar dances of Telemark.
Post-Workshop Concert in Madison
Monika Antun appeared in a live concert with master dancers from Norway. The father and daughter duo Torleiv and Marit Løyland, demonstrated dances from Setesdal and played the munnharpe (mouth harp).