Live from Sweden, it’s JEARV! March 1, 2020 at The Ware Center in Lancaster.

Jaerv, an energetic group of five Swedish musicians who draw from jazz, pop, and other musical genres in an extroverted, vigorous, and heartfelt folk music style, comes to Central Pennsylvania for a Susquehanna Folk Music Society concert on Sunday, March 1, 2020, at 7:30 p.m., at the Ware Center’s Owen Salon, 42 N. Prince Street, Lancaster, PA.

A Jaerv performance combines five-voice vocal blending with energetic dances and free improvisation. Members of Jaerv include Harald Nilsson on guitar and vocals; Tobias Hedlund, percussion; Anders Bergsten, double bass, myckelharpa (keyfiddle) and vocals; Markus Gustavsson, fiddle and lead vocals; and Joel Hagen, flute, whistles, soprano saxophone, EWI (electronic wind instrument), and vocals.

With so many instruments and such different musical backgrounds, Jaerv is careful to create a pleasing acoustic sound. Reviewers say the double bass, flute, soprano saxophone, fiddle, nyckelharpa, and drums create broadness and energy in their arrangements.

Concert tickets are $25 General Admission, $22 for SFMS members and $5 for students ages 3-22. Advance tickets are available at The Ware Center, by calling (717) 871-7600 or online at

For more information, visit the Susquehanna Folk Music Society website at

Recently we had a chance to speak to Joel Hagen, Jaerv’s flute and saxophone player.


FOLKMAMA: Can you describe your music? What styles do you draw from?

JOEL: Our music is best described as traditional Scandinavian folk music with influences from pop, jazz and Celtic music. We combine five voiced harmonies with traditional folk instruments such as the nyckelharpa.

FOLKMAMA: Where do you get your repertoire? Do you write it yourselves, or is it mostly traditional music?

JOEL: We usually pick traditional Swedish tunes, from a specific part of the country, and then arrange the music together as a group. About half of the repertoire is traditional music, the other half is written by someone in Jaerv. 

FOLKMAMA: Can you talk about the instruments that you play. Are the instruments traditionally used in Swedish Folk music? What about the beautiful harmony singing? is that traditional?

JOEL: The nyckelharpa would be the most traditional Swedish instrument. It is widely used in Swedish folk music and you would even find many nyckelharpa communities in the US. The harmony singing is quite common among female groups but not male groups so we are very unique in that sense.  The other instruments we have with us are all used in Swedish folk music but you would also find them in other styles and countries. However, the combination and range of the instruments we have with us is quite special for Swedish folk music.

FOLKMAMA: You played in our area just last summer, and before that a year ago in Lancaster.  What projects have you worked on since then?

JOEL: We have had many projects going on during the last year. This Christmas we did five concerts together with three different choirs. About 10 of our songs have been arranged for choir and also published and distributed to many other choirs across Sweden. We have also been working with a Japanese Koto player, both touring with her in Sweden and also recorded some music together where Jaerv sings in Japanese (!).

FOLKMAMA:  If folk music from Sweden Celtic, or does it come from different roots entirely?

JOEL: Swedish folk music would have its roots more from the southern part of Europe. Many Swedish tunes are very similar to baroque and other classical music. But you would also find Celtic influences which came later on through the trade exchange with Great Britain. 

FOLKMAMA: Your first concert for SFMS was in 2009. What changes have occurred in the band since the?

JOEL: It has been over 10 years!? Well, much has happened I hope:) Plenty of more vocals. We have added an organ, six-string guitar, Irish whistles, a tenor nyckelharpa, lots of new percussion and a much better sound! 

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