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Norwegian Swing (honest!)

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maugein96

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Glenn Miller did a lot of great things in the music world.

He even managed to bring together three different types of accordion into the one band.

Strømmen in south east Norway has an accordion club, and being that it is close to the Swedish border, its members variously play PA, and B (norsk) and C (svenska) system CBAs. Now that is a fairly unusual combination, but here is the rather pleasant outcome of that. The lead accordionist plays the only C system CBA in the band, but you get the feeling that it doesnt really matter, as theyre all enjoying themselves.

This was on a Norwegian Breakfast TV show in 2010. When was the last time any of us saw an accordion performance featured on our TV sets?

 
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maugein96

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Anyanka post_id=61079 time=1531484124 user_id=74 said:
Cool!

5 chromatic button accordians and only 2 PAs. You wouldnt get that situation here.


As you are probably aware B system CBA is the number 1 in Norway, but Strømmen is getting near to Sweden so there are a few players in that area who go for the Swedish C system. PAs tend to be in the minority in both countries, and are mainly the choice of players who convert to accordion from piano.

A well presented quarterly glossy accordion magazine Trekkspillnytt (New Accordion) has been circulating for the last four years, but I dont really know how many youngsters are taking up playing. Dont know how many will be buying the magazine either, as it is about £11 per copy! MInd you, with the wage difference that would equate to about £7 at UK prices.

Norwegian accordion has never really captured my interest, but the accordion seems to be far more popular in Norway than it is in Scotland. Most towns of reasonable size have an accordion club with at least 20 members, and there are various regional and national competitions for various styles.
 

Anyanka

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Im not sure that Ive listen to ANY Norwegian folk (I do find it difficult to remember the precise nationality of Scandinavian musicians), but I like a lot of Swedish music. I mostly play it on the Säckpipa though ;)

Correction: I recently bought a CD from Norway after learning one of the tunes at a workshop weekend, Askerladd på avveie (taught by a melodeon player, Mel Biggs, but I learned it on flute). Great tune by the Ingunn Bjørgo Band; on their CD Borderlands. Ingunn Bjørgo plays melodeon, too - I wonder how the popularity of that compares to accordion in Scandinavia?

http://ingunnbjorgo.no/
 
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maugein96

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Kirsten,

The larger than life Lindesnes Trekkspillklubb, from Southern Norway, which comprises members who play various accordions, regularly feature on You Tube.

The clip you posted is similar to the type of stuff they play.

Diatonic boxes are called toradere there, and have a sort of swing to light celeste tuning, same as most other accordions. Here is a clip of their toradergruppa playing a typical tune. I dont know enough about the music to identify what category this tune would fall into, but its a pleasant enough style to listen to. Maybe a polka, but Im just not sure.


They also play a Swedish type dance involving two male dance partners, but I dont know precisely from where it originates.


The accordion in Scandinavia is rarely promoted outside of its home area, but is probably more popular there than in most other European countries, with a few obvious exceptions.

The Lindesnes Trekkspillklubb have apparently performed in about 15 countries worldwide, and as far as I can ascertain they are amateur players, sponsored by their local region and community. However 13 CDs and 15 DVDS would probably not be considered amateur in most other countries.
 

Pipemajor

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Speaking of something different, I'm absolutely amazed at John's (maugein) in depth knowledge on all matters accordion related. Not only that he speaks foreign languages I've barely heard of.
I'm sure if you were to go on Mastermind with accordions as your chosen subject you would surely sweep the board. Sir, I doff my chapeau to you :ch
 
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maugein96

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Pipemajor post_id=61151 time=1531739377 user_id=2270 said:
Speaking of something different, Im absolutely amazed at Johns (maugein) in depth knowledge on all matters accordion related. Not only that he speaks foreign languages Ive barely heard of.
Im sure if you were to go on Mastermind with accordions as your chosen subject you would surely sweep the board. Sir, I doff my chapeau to you :ch


Hi pipemajor.

Thanks for the kind words. Most of the time I fly by the seat of my pants with international type music, and I regularly get caught out if I make bold statements of fact, when a native of the country concerned picks up on what Ive posted. I usually put on a disclaimer that Im not really sure what Im talking about at times (which is often). A lot of the knowledge I have acquired is simply by making use of the internet and such things as You Tube, which can become a bit addictive. I have an old English friend who has encyclopaedic knowledge of the French and Italian accordion worlds of days gone by, and he passed a lot of that knowledge on to me. If I could remember a quarter of what he knew I could run my own website dedicated to it. His father was a pro player in the Lyons tea houses in London, and Frank got hooked on the box early on in life.

Over the years I have developed the old sailors tendency to latch onto bits and pieces of languages from wherever we happened to be, but am fluent in none of them. I used to be quite clever with one or two languages, but am losing my touch. I still have a niece and a sister in Norway, so there is a bit of correspondence in that language, but not much. The only Norse blood I have is from when the Vikings invaded Ireland, and I now cant remember what team won that day!

According to Ancestry, Im roughly 75% Irish and 25% Scottish, so I suppose that sparks off a fascination for areas where one culture merges into another. If accordions are also involved in those merges then Im prone to read about them, without having any real hands on experience of the styles involved.

I actually know very little about the internal workings of the accordion or its history, so I dont think Id fare too well there on Mastermind. If I ever do apply to go on Mastermind, my subject will be How to write 10 paragraphs when just one would do.

I used to work with Derek McGlone, from Hawick, who was a world champion bagpipe soloist years ago. Hell be about 60, and my wife is friendly with his sister. If you know him, or ever meet him in the bagpiping world, hell tell you all about my sea stories!
 

Anyanka

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maugein96 post_id=61116 time=1531601786 user_id=607 said:
Kirsten,

The larger than life Lindesnes Trekkspillklubb, from Southern Norway, which comprises members who play various accordions, regularly feature on You Tube. [...]

They also play a Swedish type dance involving two male dance partners, but I dont know precisely from where it originates.


[...]

Im afraid those examples would put me off Norwegian music for life if I believed them to be representative! At least the videos confirm that the melodeon is indeed popular in Norway, but I couldnt listen for more than 20 seconds.
 
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maugein96

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Anyanka post_id=61164 time=1531764439 user_id=74 said:
Im afraid those examples would put me off Norwegian music for life if I believed them to be representative! At least the videos confirm that the melodeon is indeed popular in Norway, but I couldnt listen for more than 20 seconds.

I do believe klubben (the club) ham it up for the cameras, and Ive never heard enough Norwegian accordion to form any opinion on whether that music is typical of the average folk session. It does rather look as though it is straight out of the Land of Make Believe, and I cant hack that fake lets go back to grannys childhood sort of image. They are very good at what they do, but so was Albert Pierrepoint.

The only big name accordionist that came out of Norway in my lifetime was Toralf Tollefsen, and he wasnt typical for two reasons. Firstly, he played a Swedish C system CBA, and secondly I believe most of his recordings were made outside of Norway. The Norwegians loved the fact that he played both traditional and classical music, which at that time was rather unusual. A bit like a tambourine player doubling up on a grand piano.

My father and I decided wed hit the big time and get chromatic harmonicas with the slides on them so we could branch out from playing simple Scottish and Irish tunes and play anything. Fortunately we only bought one between us as it ended up rusting in a drawer after a couple of tuneless hours with it. Thats probably why I end up as a one trick pony on any musical instrument I try. I reckon if I could get absolute mastery of the triangle then it would broaden my musical outlook (unless it too ended up rusting away in a drawer).
 

Morne

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John, if you dont mind me going slightly off on a tangent, heres an old Norwegian blog post about a South African accordion repairer (oh, the wonders of globalisation!):
https://craftprat.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/om-a-elske-trekkspill/

I dont know who the Norwegian musicians (including the accordionist) are, but I have visited the repairman a couple of times. Hes a bit of a legend as far this scene goes. I built my tuning bellows with a set I got from him in December and he was still busy doing some minor repair jobs at the time.
 
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maugein96

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Morne post_id=61200 time=1531819255 user_id=1217 said:
John, if you dont mind me going slightly off on a tangent, heres an old Norwegian blog post about a South African accordion repairer (oh, the wonders of globalisation!):
https://craftprat.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/om-a-elske-trekkspill/

I dont know who the Norwegian musicians (including the accordionist) are, but I have visited the repairman a couple of times. Hes a bit of a legend as far this scene goes. I built my tuning bellows with a set I got from him in December and he was still busy doing some minor repair jobs at the time.
Hi Morne,

A company named Craftprat seems to be a business set up by a Norwegian lady named Kjersti Lie Holtar, presumably to trade with others in South Africa (maybe importing South African made craft goods to Norway).

Her blog isnt very easy to follow, and all I can do is assume that the musicians are acquaintances of hers.

Globalisation is indeed a wonderful concept. Yesterday my wife was able to use a mobile telephone to communicate with a friend of hers she hadnt seen for over 40 minutes. Better than that, both ladies ended up out in the street less than 50 yards apart, still speaking on their phones. If I could have found two old soup cans and a length of string, I could have shown them just how far technology has advanced in recent years!

If I had been fluent in Norwegian I may have been able to make more sense of Kjerstis blog, but I was only able to get every other word, and gobbledegook translate is seldom sufficient to avoid translating a ship as a shit.

Any accordion repairer still drawing breath is well worth knowing, regardless of where they are based.
 

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