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 www.brownpapertickets.com or toll-free (800) 838-3006. For more information, visit the Susquehanna Folk Music Society website at http://www.sfmsfolk.org

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 http://www.jaerv.com 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!!”

 

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