"From the Heart of Scandinavia" is my first solo guitar recording and features some of my favorite folk melodies. Some are hymn tunes, some old dance tunes but all of them speak to the heart of scandinavian folk culture, especially as experienced in The United States. Many of the tunes I've heard all my life and a few were learned from the collection of friends, Mike and Else Sevig of Minneapolis. The tracks were all recorded using a Martin D-18S guitar (made in 1969) with a the same set of D'Addario EXP phosphor bronze light gauge strings. And my creaky purple stool. Engineered by my dear and talented friend, Mr. Scott Malchow of Minneapolis. Recorded direct to hard drive and mixed in ProTools.
Here are comments on the tracks:
1) Å Jänta å ja - A favorite among Swedes about a courtship and marriage. The fellow is so happy he "could have jumped o'er all the roof tops!" Now that's love, I'd say. Written in the 1800s by Fredrik August Dahlgren.
2) Hälsa dem därhemma - One of the most enduring and endearing of the scandinavian immigrant songs. It's attributed to one Elith Worsing. I've heard it many, many times over the years. It speaks of someone on a ship bound for America who bids a passing swallow to bring his greetings to the loved ones back home.
3) Det var en lørdag aften (Danish) - A pretty melody I learned recently
4) Hålling / Hei, hopp min far (Norwegian) - dance tunes
5) Song from Venjan - a beautiful tune from southern Sweden I learned from my friend, Ross Sutter.
6) Blåmann / Je tente på Kjølsta ifjor (Norwegian) - Blåmann is a fun song about a young person and their goat named Blåmann.
7) Syng kun i din ungdoms vår (Norwegian) - A tender tune about the springtime of youth.
8) Per Spelmann (Norwegian/Swedish) - Per is a fiddler who trades off his fiddle for a cow but lives to regret it. He then sells the cow and buys his old fiddle back! Makes perfect sense to me.
9) Harvest Song (Danish) - A well-known song from Denmark.
10) Härlig är jorden (Swedish) - A gorgeous traditional tune with several lyrical settings that I know of. Whenever I play this I'll think of the St. Olaf College choir singing the F. Melius Christianson arrangement which has become their iconic closing number.
11) Tryggare kan ingen vara / I himmelen (Swedish) - In English this is often known as "Children of the Heavenly Father" though that's not an exact translation. Few songs speak as eloquently of the deep, quiet faith of the Swedish Lutherans who immigrated to Minnesota years and years ago. "I Himmelen" is a favorite Swedish hymn - "In Heaven Above."
12) Blott en dag (ett ögonblick i sänder) (Swedish) - "Day by Day and With Each Passing Moment" is the usual English title for this enchanting hymn.
13) Gärdebylåten / Kväsarvalsen (Swedish) - I learned "Gärdebylåten" from a fax from a friend, Bertil Ottertun, from Hindås, Sweden. "Kvåsarvalsen" is an old dance melody I heard my dad play on the mandolin. He played in a mandolin ensemble as a kid.
14) Vem kan segla / Ack Värmeland, du sköna (Swedish) - The first is a familiar folk tune and the second I first found in a book entitled "Songs of Man" by Norman Luboff and Win Stracke back in the 1960s. Both speak well to the brooding scandinavian spirit.
15) So lokka me over den myra (Norwegian) - A song about calling the cows home over the marsh. The lyrics even list the cows' names!
16) Roselil (Danish) - A beloved folk song of Denmark.
17) Kjerringa med staven (Norwegian) - A classic Norwegian folk tune about an old lady with her walking stick.