This is no very big festival as it used to be done in the past (sigh) but it feels amazing and grand : I'm teaching a dance workshop again, and at my dearest Dansstage festival no less !
Of course I have chosen Scandinavian folk dances which are adapted to dancing in a kitchen, a room, basically a tiny space and/or without the best dancing floor. Challenging, but oh so interesting ! And the perfect occasion to teach Swedish folk menuett, as it can be danced solo, duo, in larger groups and in kindof all possible places. I am very much looking forward to that !
The entire festival is free but a financial contribution would be greatly appreciated (Dansstage's extra money always goes straight to the musicians and teachers, which is one of the reasons why we appreciate this festival so much).
Join and learn !
Infos on Facebook
Infos on the festival's homepage & about donations
On another note, it was World Nyckelharpa Day 10 days ago and this year the theme was : play folk tunes from your native country on the nyckelharpa. So I digged into my Swiss tunes and recorded three videos for the occasion ! It was very interesting to work on a repertoire I'm not that used to at all (despite being Swiss by birth, my repertoire is very much Scandinavian). The harmonies were different, the rhythms unusual : it was a great exercise and a lot of fun.
You can find the entire playlist of that day here.
So well, I knew this could happen, but still : getting my entire little tour cancelled day after day while I was already in the country was quite hard. However, thanks to the crazy organizer and the way-too-warm-weather, we were able to hold the fiddle workshop anyways - outdoors mostly and with lots of precautions, but we did have it ! And it was such a bliss to teach a workshop again, I was so motivated I gave lots of documentation to my students and they seemed to enjoy my nerdy enthusiasm !
Outside of that I was also able to meet my Svall Duo colleague Sylvain and we had a short but amazing rehearsing time ! We really got forwards with our arrangements, we took many tunes to a whole new level, exploring modes and variations. A few exciting things on the making on that side, stay tuned !
Else well... it was just about meeting a few dear friends and family members, hiking in the Alps, and eating lots of cheese. Not that musical for a tour, but still nice feeling of going forward with my music, especially with Svall Duo and I'm also full of ideas for my solo things, I just hope I'll find the time soon ! Stay safe and musical, and continue to support your favourite artists, because we're all struggling !
This is happening on sunday and I'm very much looking forward to it ! I had a fiddle student when based in Switzerland who became really, really motivated about the instrument and is now organizing this course-day for exploring fiddle music and techniques in unusual ways. And taking care of one's body as a musician, which, I can really tell you with all my current difficulties, is a truly important topic !
Big news : I am finally releasing my music online ! It's not easy when one is a freelance musician but I am now on Spotify of course, but also Deezer, iTunes, Medianet, Napster, Pandora & Tidal. For celebrating this huge step, I'm releasing a previously unheard single of mine, recorded some beautiful morning of 2018 in Luzern at the studio of my friend Caro Fährmann (Madina das Spielweyb, for the ones who follow these news). It's a traditional halling tune from Aurskog in Norway, which I learned from my teacher Mia Marine and then interpreted my way. I hope you will like it !
May I suggest that you should buy the track on Bandcamp and follow me there ? It's one of the most freelancer-friendly platforms out there and it allows a lot to the artists. Also much more transparent than most other ones, can be personalized and allows the listener to choose what they want to pay for the music they like !
You might have seen it pass by if you follow me on Facebook and/or Youtube : I'm having quite some difficulties lately. In short : one of my fingers on the left hand is painful, I don't exactly know why, I'm working on it with a physio and it's getting better but it's not fully working yet.
This started around a month ago and at first I was really down, sad and anxious and frustrated. Was I even going to be able to play again at all ??! Then I started to see not the limitations themselves, but the space between them - in other words : all the music I could still play. I practiced bowing technique, on all my instruments, a lot ! I'm singing a lot, practicing this instrument of mine which I'm still not comfortable using on stage despite being a total songbird in everyday life. And I'm doing lots of stretching exercises to help my finger come back to its lively and useful self.
Check my latest video to hear about how to still go forward with your music even when you can't play :
It is slowly paying back and I am able to play a little bit again, but I have to be very careful about my movements !
Weirdly, I am more motivated than ever to do music-related stuff. I have so many ideas for videos and tunes ! I have an old dream of mine starting to take shape in my brain - more on it in a few weeks, if everything goes alright. Also many crazy ideas I'm not sure I'll dare to explore fully, but we'll see.
And I still have a mini-tour planned at the end of october ! Two or more gigs in Switzerland and perhaps one in the Netherlands or Germany. With Svall Duo ! I'll do my best to be able to play these gigs fully, but I might have to be careful on stage aswell - better being reasonable and not injuring my hands permanently !
I hope you're keeping your spirit up in these troubled times doing what is important and inspiring to you !
Here a detailed critic of 'Prelude' by CeltCast
Here it is !! I talked about that collaboration of the spring 2019 with Philip Xander from the Netherlands, an album of his for which I had been invited to record a few tunes on nyckelharpa... Well now it's out, available, and reviewed (by Cliff of CeltCast who also reviewed my first album with Knep some years ago). I really like how my parts turned out, with a soft spot for the chops on nyckelharpa, because they were so much fun to record (listen) ! Also the full album is varied, rich, always surprising yet precise and feels like "knowing what it means". A lot of accoustic guitar, harp, drums, keyboards, mandolin, fiddle...
Get 'Prelude' on Philip's website.
Adapting to a whole new life in Sweden, with a "normal" part-time job, doesn't leave a lot of space for music, sadly. However, I'm very much not stopping expressing myself with a bow on strings ! During this autumn I've been playing often for the dance workshops of Philochoros in Uppsala and I have also joined V-Dala spelmanslag for a few crazy gigs, especially Norrköpings festival and Oktoberstämman.
The continental Europeans out there will be pleased to know I'm not abandoning them at all ! I'm going on playing with my two "sister"-bands Svall Duo and Svall Harps - it just requires a little extra organizing work for matching our travels and planning the rehearsals.
First we'll give a little dance evening (Minibal) in Zürich with Svall Harps on the 29 january 2020. Be there to hear Sara Buffler and I in an accoustic setting and with new arrangements, as we've planned a big rehearsal session just the days before !
Then save your week-end and book your ticket (registration is open and tickets are selling fast !) for the 31 january to the 2 february in Enschede (NL) : I'm coming back to this amazing festival that is Balfolk Dansstage ! There will be funny, intricate, inspiring dance workshops to explore some scandinavian tasty moves, and Sylvain Pool and I will also play for dancing on the saturday evening. For all of you dancers out there, this event is really not to be missed !
So that's about january and my coming trip to "the continent". There is another one getting organized aswell during the spring, end of march / beginning of april. If you happen to be in Switzerland, save the 4 april already for a big balfolk with Svall Duo in Coinsins (VD) !
Also I will now be announcing these trips of mine a bit in advance for you who would like to get a private lesson or two while I'm around. Don't hesitate to contact me for one - or for a group workshop if you team up with some other nerds !
My big move is done. I have left Switzerland, driven across Germany and Danemark and spent three weeks on roadtrip and festivals across Sweden. 3752 km in total. 4 countries, many places, many friends, so many discoveries, memorable musical moments, loads of hours driving and quite a few mosquito bites. All this with my entire life with me in my VW van, my 8 instruments, my handcrafting supplies, the winter wheels, clothes, food, books, everything. Now the bus needs some care and me some sleep and time to settle down !
I am now based close to Uppsala in Sweden. I am also taking a whole new job, perhaps you already heard about it or you can guess by the picture.
Musically speaking, I'm full of ideas which will need some time to get organized, but as I am back in Nyckelharpa Land, one can expect only good things, right ?
There it is. The official announcement. After three years in my birth-country of Switzerland, I am finally going back to the country that feels like my true home : Sweden. For real.
I've been wanting to go back for a loooong time but it took so very long to prepare and there were hard moments and times of doubt aswell. Now, despite the bittersweet feeling of leaving behind many things and the anxiety about what's to come, I'm sure and ready. I'm currently in my VW-van on the way up North with all my stuff with me.
This move is the reason why I've been not very musical lately (you might have noticed if you checked my agenda) : there has been so much going on that I didn't have much time to do music. This is gonna change as soon as I'm stabilized ! And this is actually even starting very soon, as I'll be at Korrö folkmusikfestival on saturday and at Nordic Fiddlers' Bloc's camp in the beginning of august ! Then... we'll see !
Have the nicest end of july and see you soon !
You might have noticed I'm often up to shenanigans with dutch musicians lately... well here comes a new one : I've been invited by guitarist Philip Steenbergen to record a melody and some accompaniement lines on his upcoming album ! I'm very excited about this project because it's quite different from my usual scandinavian music's world, it broadens a lot my musical horizon, also Philip and soundtech Erwin Tuijl are very creative, inspiring, crazy musicians.
That's why we all three spent a day in studio in Utrecht just after my little tour with Svall Duo. We recorded the tune that was planned but also half-improvised new tracks for other tunes, varied stuff implying chops and even shaking the whole nyckelharpa (it's doing fine, no worries).
I'm really looking forward to this album to come out ! Check Philip's homepage and stay tuned !