acoustic trad power-trio from Sweden
2020 Addison Street
Berkeley, CA, 94704
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM
This event is all ages
Three musicians (Olov Johansson, Roger Tallroth, Mikael Marin) with a singular sound, a playful yet accomplished interplay that seems to defy the laws of physics, an intensity with a great sense of humor, and modernity rooted in tradition. Väsen, a Swedish acoustic trio, now in its 27th year of touring together.
The parts: a five-string viola of sophisticated symphonic taste, an adventurous 12-string guitar, and a nyckelharpa (a “keyed fiddle”) deeply rooted in the traditions of Swedish folk music. All three are instrumental virtuosos in their own right, and together they form a unique supernatural being. To experience Väsen is to witness ensemble playing at its finest.
The band's origins are deeply rooted in the forests and rich earth of the Swedish countryside, in the centuries-old tradition of the folk music of Uppland. It's a tradition spiced with consummate playing skills. But this is more than just a traditional sound.
There's a playfulness to their music, a joyousness, and a delight in making exciting new arrangements of centuries-old tunes, and new originals inspired by the tradition. Rock, jazz, traditional, and classical influences weave together, making a music that's beautiful but never cloying. You always hear the inspiration and improvisation of the moment. And we can promise that you’ll never know what will happen next.
Olov Johansson · Nyckelharpa
In 1990, Olov became the first world champion of the nyckelharpa. He began to play the nyckelharpa (a “keyed fiddle”) in 1980 as a fourteen-year old, and was named a 'riksspelman' (master musician) in 1984. Olov has studied with the legendary Curt Tallroth and Erik Sahlström. He is regarded as one of Sweden's most prominent nyckelharpa players, and is an inspiration for numerous young performers on the instrument. He is teaching regularly at the Eric Sahlström Institutet in Tobo and at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.
Apart from his association with Väsen, Olov also plays in a duo with Celtic harpist Catriona McKay. They have made two recordings together. He has also recorded with groups such as Kronos Quartet, the Nyckelharpa Orchestra, as well as several solo projects.
In 2013 he was rewarded with the Zorn medal in gold. The finest award within Swedish traditional music.
Roger Tallroth · 12-string guitar
“He seems to alternate as the equivalent of bass, rhythm guitar, and counter-melody, quite nearly all at the same time, but I couldn't hear it until I could see it. Tallroth is never showy, only rarely playing as fast as the quickest melodies of the others, and never stepping in front of them. His restraint is as remarkable as his talent.” -Steve Underwood, Innovationship LLC
Roger has developed his own way of playing the guitar over the years. In the early 90s he came up with a unique way of tuning and stringing his 12-stringed guitar, and since then never stopped exploring new ways of playing. The characteristics of that ongoing journey is harmonizing and re-harmonizing together with new better ways of finding rhythms to go with the melodies or songs. Roger is also a frequent teacher and gives fair amount of lectures.
The “Tallroth-tuning” has been named after Roger by other guitar enthusiasts. It’s impossible to overstate the impact this has had over the years for new string-players in the Scandinavian/Nordic tradition. Being an active traveling musician in over 30 years, Roger has played in almost every genre with numerous great musicians from all over the world.
Mikael Marin · Viola
Mikael is a violist who isn't satisfied with merely playing "second fiddle." His influences are literally unlimited in their scope, and oscillate between Schöenberg and the Beatles. He became a national fiddler in 1983, and was chosen to play in a world orchestra under the direction of Leonard Bernstein in 1989.
When not performing with Väsen, he composes, produces, and arranges music for artists such as Mikael Samuelsson, Nordman, and Kronos Quartet. He composed (together with Mats Wester) the opening music to the World Police and Fire Games in Stockholm, 1999.
Mikael can be heard on several recordings, for example Nordman (with Nordman), Barfota (with Mikael Samuelsson), Ånon (with Ånon Egeland, released on NorthSide), and Flow my Tears (with The Forge Players).
$24 ADV / $28 DOOR (plus fees)
All tickets are subject to an additional $4 per ticket facility fee.
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