“Granvin is without a doubt one of the most important folk music districts in Norway, and has been for a long time,” Benedicte Maurseth writes in the preface to Slåttar frå Granvin. There are still many people in the district who play the fiddle, and Knut Hamre (b. 1952) recalls that when growing up in Granvin in the 1960s, he could go practically wherever he wanted and hear or learn fiddling. “Everyone” had a fiddle available, and sometimes a fiddle was used as a raffle prize at church bazaars instead of a cake. There are nearly 100 fiddle tunes associated with the small municipality of Granvin in Hardanger, many of which are among the most famous compositions in the Hardanger fiddle repertoire.
Since the 1980s, Knut Hamre has released many critically acclaimed records and has toured much of the world as a soloist and in collaboration with other artists. He has won first prize in the elite Category A in the National Contest for Traditional Music seven times as well as a number of other prestigious awards. In 2017 he was appointed a Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St Olav for his exceptional efforts on behalf of Norwegian folk music.
In addition to his active and diversified life as a performing artist, Hamre has also shared his knowledge of fiddle tunes – generously and willingly – with countless students, especially in Hardanger, but also elsewhere in Norway and abroad. In addition, he has been an important source and driving force for the fiddling association Hardanger Spelemannslag since the mid-1970s. His approach to the traditional repertoire has nevertheless always been clear and of a dual nature: as a teacher, he conveys the tradition as correctly as he can, as he learned it himself. But at the same time he always encourages his students to find their own unique signatures.
22 September: Riksscenen, Oslo (with Ruth Lillegraven)
27 October: Osafestivalen, Voss
1 December: Trudvang, Granvin (with Ruth Lillegraven)
10 December: Columbi Egg, Bergen (with Ruth Lillegraven)