Two of Norway’s foremost folk musicians, Øyonn Groven Myhren and Anne Hytta, have joined forces to form the duo Sogesong and to release a recording offering brand-new, fresh and original interpretations of old folk songs that were well hidden, but not entirely forgotten.
Øyonn Groven Myhren’s unique “kveding” voice and the reconstructions of medieval string instruments used by the duo are Sogesong’s points of departure. With Øyonn and Anne’s deeply personal expression, based on the old folk music traditions of Telemark, Sogesong sounds like no other group: evocatively melismatic, singing and always swinging. Sogesong is an encounter between the old and the genuinely new, shaped and presented by two contemporary folk musicians. Perhaps it is, all the same, the sound of something that could have been sung and played long, long ago.
The album Så vide fara dei lindarord presents eight distinctive and very diverse ballads, including songs of chivalry, folk-tale songs, comic ballads and even a ghost song or two. The instruments played by Sogesong – vielles and lyres with origins that range from Numedal through Novgorod to Valencia – were created by Sverre Jensen. He is the guru of medieval music in Norway, and a major source of inspiration for Sogesong. All of the ballads have been interpreted, adapted and arranged by Sogesong, and will be released by Grappa Musikkforlag on 10 November, 2017. The launch will be celebrated that evening at 7 pm with a concert at Oslo Ladegård, in the medieval hall in the cellar of what remains of the 13th-century Bishop’s Castle.
About the musicians
Øyonn Groven Myhren is one of Norway’s leading folk musicians, and was the winner of the vocal category at this year’s National Contest for Traditional Music. She also won in the same category in 1997 and 1998. Øyonn grew up in a family where the ballad tradition is still alive, and also learned the ballad repertoire of the traditional singer Hagny Huso (1932–2016) from Vinje. She has developed her own style in playing the lyre (a small medieval harp), as can be heard on the duo’s record. Since the turn of the millennium she has received several large-scale composition commissions, among which are the critically acclaimed productions Nivelkinn and Runartromma.
Anne Hytta learned to play the Hardanger fiddle from fiddler Einar Løndal (1914–2006) of Tuddal. He came from a family of fiddlers and “kvedere”, traditional singers, and taught Hytta a broad repertoire of old fiddle tunes featuring rich, distinctive ornamentation and a close connection with traditional singing techniques. She currently works as a freelance folk musician and composer, and in addition to her solo performances on Hardanger fiddle and her collaboration in the Sogesong duo, she plays with the trio Slagr and the international folk string quartet Tosko, among others.