My Scandinavian Summer 2015

Many have asked to hear how my summer trip(s) went…here’s the photo-story.

After two years being unable to dance because of chronic Lyme disease, I reveled in the dancing at Nordic Fiddles and Feet, the Scandinavian dance/music week at Camp Ogontz in New Hampshire.  Here doing a 4th of July contradance, though I mostly saved my energy for pols and springar. 

The highlight for me was this group of 9 beautiful hardingfele-playing women.  We dubbed ourselves the Huldralag after the forest-dwelling seductress of Norway who is known to lure men away from their wives to consort with her in the woods. 

Under our leaders Karin Code & Loretta Kelley, we played several dance sets during the week, with rhythm like an unstoppable train!  (Marilyn, Suellen, Vilda, Carol, Karin, Loretta, me, Petra and Patrice)  I also played solo sets for dancing late at night.

 In late July I went to Ashokan Northern Week, where I co-taught a Scandinavian band class with Peter (Puma) Hedlund.  My other classes were in Norwegian fiddling and How to Jam.

Playing for a Scandinavian dance with Charlie Pilzer, David Kaynor [1948-2021], lydia ievins & Catherine McCallen.  It was so fine to return to my beloved Ashokan (and see the new buildings for the first time) after a 4 year absence.  Scandinavian musician friends, you would love this camp!  Northern week includes all instruments, and music/dance from Northeast USA (including Irish/Scottish), Québec, England, France, and Scandinavia.  And there are also Southern Week (old-time and cajun) and Western Week (swing, cowboy & Texas) at Ashokan. 

Then it was time to get on the plane to Sweden, and to visit Finland and Norway too. I’m so very grateful to Siv, Mattias, Andy, Saskya, Laura and many others for making my trip affordable, alternately thrilling and relaxing, productive and lovely in so many ways. This wooden map was in the Vasa museum in Stockholm.

My host in Sweden was my good friend Mattias Hammarsten.  We’d met and hit it off musically at a stämma (folk fest with lots of jamming) in 2005 and again in 2007, and he good-naturedly turned his life upside down to welcome me to his home/recording studio in Storvreta for a total of 2 weeks before and after my other adventures on this trip. 

Mattias runs the sound at an outdoor amphitheater in Uppsala, where my absolute favorite musician at the moment, Esbjörn Hazelius (holding fiddle above), happened to be playing with his Irish trio Quilty.  I was thrilled to be able to play a couple polskor with Esbjörn after the show backstage.   

After a couple days in Sweden rehearsing with Mattias, visiting the Linnaeus gardens in Uppsala, and walking around Stockholm, I boarded a gigantic 11-story ferry for the stunning 6-hour journey through Stockholm's archipelago out into the Baltic Sea.  Destination: Mariehamn, capital of the Åland Islands, a Swedish-speaking part of Finland.