Trio Plays Music for a Nordic Winter Wonderland

Loretta Kelley, from left, Charlie Pilzer and Andrea Hoag i i

The latest CD by Loretta Kelley (from left), Charlie Pilzer and Andrea Hoag, Hambo in the Snow, has been nominated in the Grammy category for best traditional world music album. hide caption

itoggle caption
Loretta Kelley, from left, Charlie Pilzer and Andrea Hoag

The latest CD by Loretta Kelley (from left), Charlie Pilzer and Andrea Hoag, Hambo in the Snow, has been nominated in the Grammy category for best traditional world music album.

Loretta Kelley plays a Hardanger fiddle made in 1937 in Norway. i i

Loretta Kelley plays a Hardanger fiddle made in 1937 in Norway. Chris Nelson, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Chris Nelson, NPR
Loretta Kelley plays a Hardanger fiddle made in 1937 in Norway.

Loretta Kelley plays a Hardanger fiddle made in 1937 in Norway.

Chris Nelson, NPR

Three musicians from the Washington, D.C., area celebrate the music of Scandinavia on their new album, Hambo in the Snow.

Violinists Andrea Hoag and Loretta Kelley, and Charlie Pilzer, who plays string bass, have performed and recorded together for many years.

The hambo is a Swedish dance in 3/4 time that originated in the mid to late 1800s.

In an in-studio performance, they play "Auld Lang Syne" in three different rhythms — a waltz, hambo and polska — to demonstrate the differences.

"When you play traditional music … all the musicians and dancers who've gone before are around you, just like the snow surrounds you," says Hoag.

Kelley also describes her instrument, a Hardanger fiddle made in Norway in 1937. Although it has pen-and-ink drawings on it and a fingerboard inlaid with mother-of-pearl, Kelley says the fiddle's most distinctive feature is its sympathetic strings, which aren't played but create overtones and harmonics.

"It sounds like you are sitting on a Norwegian hillside and playing and hearing the echo back from across the valley," Kelley says.

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