Susquehanna Folk hosts Robin and Linda Williams on September 29th in a Concert that Marks the SFMS’ First Collaboration with the Ware Center in Lancaster

rl_close_guitarIn a musical career spanning more than four decades, iconic American musicians Robin and Linda Williams have made it their mission to perform the music that they love—a robust blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time, and acoustic country that combines wryly observant lyrics with a wide-ranging melodicism. Their stirring concerts have earned them a huge body of fans over the years and they bring that stage magic to Central Pennsylvania on Thursday, September 29, for a 7:30 p.m. Susquehanna Folk Music Society/Millersville University concert at the Ware Center, 42 N. Prince Street, Lancaster.

Robin and Linda met and fell for each other in 1971 on a visit to Myrtle Beach, SC, while Linda was teaching school and Robin was a full-time musician on a national coffeehouse circuit. It wasn’t long before they discovered additional magic when they combined their voices in harmony. Their career took off initially in the Minneapolis folk scene, where Robin had made many friends and connections as a solo artist. They recorded their first album there in 1975 and the following year made their first appearance on a new public radio show—A Prairie Home Companion. They have continued their rich relationship with the program for 40 years.

Over the decades they have issued 23 albums and crisscrossed the country many times, thrilling audiences with their songs and harmonies. In the late 1980s they began touring with a backup band, Their Fine Group, and their big sound grew even bigger. That association lasted for 25 years, but now Robin and Linda are most often heard as a duo, going back to the roots that brought them together 40 years ago.

They marked 40 years on stage in 2013 with their CD “Back 40,” a studio album featuring fresh treatments of their early classics, many from albums long out of print, and favorites by other writers.

While as live performers they are second to none, it is as gifted songwriters that they have earned a rarer honor, the devotion and deep respect of their musical peers. The list of artists who have covered their original songs includes some of the greats of country music such as Emmylou Harris, Tom T. Hall, George Hamilton IV, Tim & Mollie O;Brien, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kathy Mattea, and The Seldom Scene.

Concert tickets are $25 General Admission, $22 for SFMS members and $5 for students. Advance tickets are available through the Ware Center box office at (717) 871-7600 or online at This concert is presented in partnership with Millersville University.

Columnist Jane Holahan (from the LPN newspaper, Lancaster) recently did a wonderful interview with Robin Williams. To read it follow the link below!

Folk duo Robin and Linda Williams coming to Ware Center Thursday


Jaerv, performing folk music from Sweden, appears in Harrisburg on September 6th

Jaerv, an energetic group of five young Swedish musicians who draw from folk, jazz, and pop will appear in a Susquehanna Folk Music Society concert on Tuesday, September 6, at 7:30 p.m., at the Fort Hunter Centennial Barn, 5300 N. Front Street, Harrisburg.

A Jaerv performJaerv2ance features songs performed in beautiful five-part harmony, lively traditional dance numbers and jazzy improvisation. Their instrumentation includes the nyckelharpa, a Swedish instrument also known as a keyed fiddle. When last in the area, Jaerv appeared on WITF radio’s “Arts and Culture Desk”.

Concert tickets are $20 General Admission, $16 for SFMS members and $10 for students ages 3-22. Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets online at or toll-free (800) 838-3006. For more information, visit the Susquehanna Folk Music Society website at

Below is an interview with Jaerv member Joel Hagen:


FOLKMAMA: Describe your music. How much is traditional and how much is composed?

JOEL: I would say 50/50. However, all traditional songs that we do are also very much arranged by Jaerv so in a way they sometimes feel like own composed songs. Someone described it as: “The Swedish folk group Jaerv takes the elements of traditional Scandinavian music and reflects them through a modern prism, with an all-acoustic sound that nonetheless takes a bevy of tricky turns in rhythm and harmony that makes the pleasant rural melodies ring with a contemporary complexity.”

FOLKMAMA: What about folk dancing in Sweden. Is the dancing all couple dancing? What are the different styles called?

JOEL: Most of the dances are couple dancing but we also have what we call “long dances” that you typically dance in circles of four. The most common styles are polska, waltz and schottis.

FOLKMAMA: Where does Swedish music come from? Is it Celtic? Nordic?

JOEL: Swedish folk music has been influenced by a great number of countries such as Poland, Germany, Ireland and England. Also the Swedish church music tradition has affected the folk music.

FOLKMAMA: Tell me about the instrumentation in your band. Which instruments were played traditionally and which instruments have you added?

JOEL: The fiddle, nyckelharpa and flute are the only instruments that were played traditionally. We have added all the other instruments. However, folk music is in a constant progress so almost all of the instruments that we play are nowadays recognized as folk instruments.

Our lineup is: JOEL HAGEN: flute, whistles, soprano saxophone, ewi, vocals, ANDERS BERGSTEN: double bass, keyfiddle, vocals, HARALD NILSSON: guitars, vocals, MARKUS GUSTAVSSON: fiddle, lead vocals, and TOBIAS HEDLUND: percussion

FOLKMAMA: This is your third US tour. Where will you be playing?

JOEL: Yes, this is our third tour and also the most extensive. Our full schedule can be found on but the highlights of the tour would be the Scan Fest in Budd Lake; Scandinavian Day Festival outside Chicago; Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis and of course the concert at Fort Hunter Centennial Barn.

FOLKMAMA: Tell me about the nyckelharpa. What is it and how is it played? Is it very common in Sweden today?

nyckelharpaJOEL: The nyckelharpa is a very old instrument. It is a mix of a fiddle and a piano, a fiddle with keys to be more exact. It is a difficult instrument to master and not compatible with so many other styles than folk music, so very few people today play or have even heard the instrument. A little bit sad because it is a nice instrument.

FOLKMAMA: How did you all meet?

JOEL: We met 11 years ago at the University in Göteborg. We started out as a quartet but after a year or so, Tobias, the percussionist, was added to the group.

FOLKMAMA: How long have you played together? Is it your full time jobs, or do you do other things?

JOEL: For us, Jaerv is probably one third of a full time. Two thirds are teaching and other musical commitments.

FOLKMAMA: Can you describe what people should expect at your concert?

JOEL: Hopefully they will discover new sides of Swedish folk, maybe as one woman in the audience expressed: “The same glorious vitality and the feeling that the audience is constantly being surprised-there are five amazing musicians who handle the instruments in a completely brilliant way-in all kinds of music – from polkas to free improvisations, with both simple and more -intricate rhythms. The joy of playing/skill completely knocks me out, and the audience!!”