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MP3 Julane Lund - Looking Back at Norwegian-American Old-Time Fiddling in the Heartland

Lund plays regular fiddle and the eight stringed Norwegian Hardanger fiddle with some of the best Norwegian-American musicians in the U.S.

14 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Traditional Folk, WORLD: Western European

A Brief Description of Norwegian-American Old-Time:

Norwegian-American old-time fiddling is a distinct genre that developed as a blend of Norwegian and American musical styles. It shares some aspects with American old-time music, like the warm, acoustic, string sound. It also makes use of the American banjo, and it has a “down-home feel.” However, Norwegian characteristics also shine through. When the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle is used, the drone strings create reverberating tones that accompany the music. Besides incorporating tunes that reflect the history of Norwegians in the U.S., Norwegian-American music is known for its characteristic bounce, or “lilt.”

Bios of the Musicians on LOOKING BACK:

Julane Lund (Beetham), of Mooresville, Indiana, has performed fiddle and violin music throughout countries in Eastern and Western Europe, the United States, and Russia. She has had television appearances in many of these countries, as well as having performed for National Public Radio in Norway.

Although Julane studied violin at the university level, she also became acquainted with Norwegian-American fiddling from a young age. She learned through oral tradition from her maternal grandfather, Gehart Lund, who was a fiddler in Rolette, North Dakota. His family immigrated from Skjåk and Vågå, in Gudbrandsdalen, Norway. Also an inspiration was Julane’s paternal grandmother, Una Beetham, a violinist, and pianist from Fennimore, Wisconsin who played American folk tunes, jazz, and classical music.

Originally from Wisconsin, Julane moved to Indiana and studied violin and music education at Ball State University. Later, she studied ethnomusicology in the graduate school at Indiana University. She has also lived for many years in Norway, where she obtained both a Bachelors and a Masters degree in Norwegian Traditional Music. Julane has studied the Hardanger fiddle (which is highly ornamented and has drone strings) and conventional fiddle with some of the finest fiddlers in Norway as well as some of the top performers of Norwegian and Norwegian-American music in the United States. She has done extensive research into the fiddling traditions of Norwegian-Americans in the Upper Midwest.

In 2004 Julane toured the United States with the Norwegian group “Totak,” and she is featured on their CD: Fest på Låven (Party at the Barn). She also was a guest performer playing Norwegian Hardanger fiddle for the Bashkirian Folk Instrument Philharmonia, in Bashkortostan, Russia during 2003. She was later the subject of a Russian video documentary about her involvement with traditional music in Bashkortostan.

For updated information about Julane, to read her news-blog, and to see a list of her upcoming performances, visit her website at: https://www.tradebit.com.

“Her playing [is] exquisite, spirited, and filled with joy. She is indeed a master of her craft…”

Marianne Forsblad
Director; Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle, Washington

“She is an excellent musician.”

Dr. Vidar Lande
Master Hardanger fiddler and Director of Graduate Studies in Traditional Arts; Telemark University College, Norway

“I would recommend Julane most highly to anyone interested in learning about the Norwegian American old time fiddling tradition, as well as about Norwegian fidding, the Hardanger tradition, and just fiddling in general. Julane is a gem - a kind, generous teacher and a terrific fiddler as well.”

Bill Hicks
Master American fiddler and founding member of the original “Red Clay Ramblers”

Accompanying musicians on Looking Back:

Beth Hoven Rotto (fiddle and pump organ) has been a source of tune material for Julane as well as being an accompanying musician for this recording. Beth is the lead fiddler in “Foot-Notes,” a Scandinavian-American band based out of Decorah, Iowa. Beth formed “Foot-Notes” after she apprenticed with Minnesota fiddler Bill Sherburne. As a result of her interest and research, she is an expert on the history of Norwegian fiddlers who have performed in northeastern Iowa.

Jon Rotto (guitar and jaw harp), and Bill Musser (string bass) are also members of the “Foot-Notes” band. These musicians, along with Beth, have played for Iowa Public Television, and for public radio in Iowa, and Wisconsin. They have been recognized for their talent in playing Scandinavian-American music by having been invited to perform for the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife, held on the National Mall in Washington D.C. “Foot-Notes” has produced two CDs of Scandinavian-American music, titled Decorah Waltz, and My Father Was a Fiddler... Some of their tunes have also been included on a Smithsonian Folkways CD called Iowa State Fare. Visit https://www.tradebit.com to read more about “Foot-Notes.”

LeRoy Larson is an ethnomusicologist who wrote his 1975 Ph. D. dissertation about the Scandinavian-American music of Minnesota. A tenor banjo player, he has been bandleader of the “Minnesota Scandinavian Ensemble” since 1974. His ensemble has appeared on Norwegian National Television and Radio. Among other venues in the U.S. his band has played at the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., and for This Morning (CBS). LeRoy has been a regular performer on Garrison Keillor’s radio program, A Prairie Home Companion. He and his band have made over a dozen recordings under the Banjar label, including their most recent, Norwegian/American: Celebrating Norway Centennial 1905-2005.

Background about the Recording:

Looking Back is a treasure for anyone interested in traditional music. It is the first CD available that looks seriously at Norwegian-American fiddling in the broad Upper Midwest. Produced and performed by Julane Lund, the music is presented as a genre that combines elements of, and yet is distinct from, both Norwegian music as well as American old-time music.

Having received her Masters degree in traditional fiddling from Telemark University College, in Norway, Lund used Norwegian methodology to collect information about the music. She amassed information in Norway as well as much of the Upper Midwest, much of which can now be found in the booklet that accompanies this CD. The tunes on the CD are special melodies that were collected by Lund from the repertoires of six influential Norwegian-American fiddlers from Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Montana.

Lund later approached Beth Hoven Rotto, Jon Rotto, Bill Musser, and LeRoy Larson, all accomplished Norwegian-American musicians, to accompany her fiddling for field recordings. It is significant and appropriate that the recordings for Looking Back were made by Julane in the homes of Norwegian-Americans. This music has traditionally been played for happy gatherings of friends and families in intimate, earthy settings. Looking Back is a tribute to Norwegian-American fiddlers who have brought music and a festive atmosphere to rural, Upper Midwestern communities. When listening to Looking Back, it will certainly bring the listener joy, and perhaps dancing feet too!

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