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Nordic Roots Performers Love the Acoustics and Audiences at Vesterheim
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Nordic Roots Performers Love the Acoustics and Audiences at Vesterheim

Vesterheim welcomes Harald Haugaard of Denmark and Antti Järvelä of Finland for a lively concert of Nordic Roots music at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 17. Tickets are $15 at the door. This is the latest in a wave of performances by European folk musicians that started back in 2011. It is the eighth concert at Vesterheim by Scandinavian musicians in six years.

Why do highly accomplished, even world-renowned, Nordic musicians keep coming back to Vesterheim to perform, and recommending performing here to others?

For one thing, the acoustics at Vesterheim are great for folk music! Concerts are held in the museum’s Bethania Church, and its natural acoustic qualities give the performances an old-time feel and reveal the beauty of unamplified traditional music. Arto Järvelä, one of Finland’s premier folk fiddlers, who has a lifetime of touring experience world-wide says it is “one of the best venues on earth.” He has performed in the church three times in recent years!

Antti Järvelä is Arto’s cousin, part of the illustrious Järvelä clan of musicians in Finland. Harald Haugaard hails from a family in Denmark with strong musical tradition as well. Both are fiddlers. Their upcoming concert falls into the broad category of Nordic Roots music - a living tradition.

Nordic Roots music fits very well with Vesterheim’s mission, which emphasizes living heritage and celebrating tradition. These performers have mastered traditional music and can recite the musicians associated with the tunes, often back through several generations. Many of them research music collected and written down in the past, bringing old tunes to life again in performance. Some live and breathe the tradition so well that they compose wonderful new music that could become the tradition for the future!

In the spirit of living tradition, Harald and Antti will offer a musicians’ workshop prior to the concert, from 4-5:30 p.m. Both are prolific teachers of their art and are coming to Vesterheim after teaching for a week at Harald Haugaard’s West Denmark Fiddle School in Wisconsin. The cost for the workshop is $35 which includes concert admission. Contact Martha Griesheimer for information or to sign up: mgriesheimer@vesterheim.org

Vesterheim is celebrating 50 years of folk art education this year. It all started with rosemaling and has expanded over the decades to include textile arts, woodworking, metalworking and foodways. Welcoming accomplished folk musicians and aspiring apprentices to share musical tradition at the museum is becoming a popular part of programming. Concerts always draw large and enthusiastic audiences, and since 2012, Vesterheim has been hosting an informal Sunday Music Jam just about every month.

Look for future concerts at Vesterheim with Nordic musicians who are touring the Midwest, usually in connection with festivals around the region, such as Nisswastämman and Høstfest, and concerts at venues like the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis and the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. Come hear Haugaard and Järvelä and you’ll agree, we’re lucky to have these masters of Nordic folk music playing in Northeast Iowa!

Leave a Comment

  1. Imagine Northeast Iowa Support
    Imagine Northeast Iowa Support
    What a fantastic event! Thanks for posting!
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  2. author cindy
    Sounds fabulous! And that's not just because I'm half Finnish :)
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  3. Kate Rattenborg
    Wonderful post! And, I think I can attend!!
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