Valkyrien Allstars now release their third album, which is will consolidate the group’s position as an exceptional ensemble that has revitalised Norwegian folk music.
Down at the local pub
They began their career by playing at a popular pub, Valkyrien, just a stone’s throw from the group’s shared flat in Oslo. Tuva Syvertsen (vocals, Hardanger fiddle), Ola Hilmen (Hardanger fiddle) and Erik Sollid (Hardanger fiddle) played for drinks there for quite a while. Eventually the trio participated in the influential Norwegian television competition “The Big Chance” in 2006, where they came in a close second to winner Alexander Rybak, who later won the European Song Contest. But their near-victory did win them a tremendous number of engagements, so they were finally able to present their music to a larger audience. The following year the group won the record company Grappa’s “New Artist Prize”, which included recording and releasing an album. The result, titled simply Valkyrien Allstars, was a resounding critical and commercial success, selling over 20,000 copies – an impressive feat in a country with a population of only five million.
World wide success
Valkyrien Allstars embarked on a concert tour throughout Norway after releasing the album, and among the countries the group has since performed in are Japan, China, Slovakia, Scandinavia, Germany, the Netherlands, England, Ireland, Ukraine, Russia, Montenegro, Belgium and Estonia. Accompanied by bass player Magnus Larsen and drummer Martin Langlie, they have held more than 500 concerts so far. They have become superb ambassadors for Norwegian folk music with their modern interpretations of traditional material.
The ensemble has received prestigious prizes from the German music industry, and their first album was nominated for a Spellemannspris, a Norwegian Grammy, in the category “Newcomer of the Year”. In 2008 Valkyrien Allstars received the Norwegian Folk Music Award for “Newcomer of the Year” and “Folk Musicians of the Year”. The following year they released their second album, To måner, to critical acclaim. Despite a quieter, more meditative mood, it sold 8,000 copies.
Valkyrien Allstars now launch what they call “a cohesive blend and continuation of our first two albums”. Their musical interaction is more finely tuned than ever. The album was produced by Aslak Dørum, who also produced their first album, and was recorded in Sweden 2011. The members of the group composed and arranged all the material. The song lyrics are by a long list of major Norwegian poets, and Tuva Syvertsen has also written a few of the texts. This autumn the group will tour Norway, visiting venues all over the country.