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Nisswa-stamman to feature cornucopia of talent

Nisswa-stämman Scandinavian Folk Music Festival enters its 14th year Friday and Saturday, June 7 and 8, with a cornucopia full of talented musicians.

More than a dozen performers from Scandinavia will join forces with American musicians to fill this year’s roster to overflowing with 164 performers.

The list of Scandinavian performers includes:

• Harald Haugaard and Helene Blum: Denmark’s most acclaimed fiddler and singer combine their talents in a special visit to Nisswa.

• Marie Skavnes and Lars Berg: Norway’s top prize-winning fiddler in the national 2012 competition teams up with a fantastic accordion player.

• The Polka Chicks: This top flight Finnish duo on fiddle and accordion were favorites at Nisswa-stämman 2010.

• Bjärv duo: “Fiddler of the realm” prize winning fiddler and nyckelharpa from Sweden.

• Mette Jensen and Kristian Bugge: Returnees to Nisswa-stämman who won this year’s Danish Grammy for best traditional music.

Headlining the event this year is Denmark’s virtuoso violin player, Harald Haugaard, and his wife, Helene Blum. Haugaard first appeared at the festival in 2007 with his musical partner at the time, Morten Høirup.

The duo Haugaard & Høirup performed together for 10 years and became one of Denmark’s biggest music export successes with approximately 1,000 concerts world wide and seven highly regarded album releases.

They were hugely popular at Nisswa-stämman that year, and Morten Høirup predicted that it would be the first of many years that Danes would grace the stage of Nisswa.

How right he was. Danes have graced the stages of Nisswa-stämman in almost every year since he made that prophetic statement, each time proving to be incredibly talented musicians and very popular with Nisswa audiences. This year, Haugaard will again take his turn on stage, accompanied by his wife and performing partner, Blum. Blum is a well established folk artist in her own right with a successful career as singer, instrumentalist and composer. Currently on their “Open Eyes Tour 2013,” they have toured Europe, Japan and now North America.

Haugaard is one of the most acclaimed musicians on the Danish music scene today. He began playing the violin at age 7. One of his earliest and greatest influences was his grandfather, Johannes, who was a traditional accordion player.

His mother, Lene Sand Christensen, was highly active in folk dance as a caller and teacher and Haugaard soon began playing for her classes. He is now an international composer, performer and professor of folk music at Carl Nielsen Academy of Music in Odense. His masterful and inventive virtuoso fiddle playing has garnered him 12 Danish Music Awards over the years.

Blum has thrilled audiences worldwide with her intensively expressive, crystal clear voice. In 2004 she became the first singer to graduate from the Carl Nielsen Academy with a folk music major.

She specializes in reinventing ancient songs and ballads with contemporary expressions and weaves in her own newly written songs as well. While Blum’s music is deeply rooted in Danish music traditions, she is not afraid to challenge tradition.

Together, Haugaard and Blum have created a new canvas for Danish folk music. They perform with great presence and passion a delicate blend of old Danish dance tunes and songs, but they don’t stop there. Haugaard and Blum also offer beautiful new compositions, and thrilling improvisations on their theme of preserving and enriching Danish folk music for the future.

For more information, visit or contact Paul Wilson at 218-764-2994.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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