"Väsen is one of the best bands in the world, and once again, [on their brand new release, Mindset] they've delivered." -About.com
"The sound may be traditional, but the attitude is completely modern, mixing up the ideas of folk, the virtuosity of prog, and the humor of the insane asylum into a cuisinart of acoustic bliss. Visualize whirled music." - Wired "Väsen's musical beauty, depth and virtuosity transcend genre. The power of a live Väsen show will blow you away, whether you're a fan of trad fiddle styles, Bach, The Beatles or anything else. We're honored to bring some of our biggest musical heroes to our home turf of Humboldt" -Tristan & Tashina Clarridge
"Väsen treads an enchanted territory between classical, folk, and pop." -Utne Reader "...the band's anciently original compositions can be immensely brooding, stately, fitfully spry or dramatically expansive." - The Washington Post
On Wednesday April 24 at 8 PM they'll make their first ever north coast appearance, at the Arcata Playhouse, with an opening set by hometown National Fiddle Champions Tristan and Tashina Clarridge. Tickets also available at Wildwood Music, Wildberries, and The Works.
Olov Johansson is the World Champion of both the modern chromatic and older historical nickelharpas (Swedish, keyed fiddle), from the Nyckelharpa World Championships at Österbybruk Sweden. Mikael Marin plays a 5-string viola covering the registers of both violin and viola. He composes and arranges music for groups such as the Kronos Quartet. Roger Tallroth has pioneered his own powerful and unique approach to 12-string guitar, leading scores of followers worldwide to adopt the tuning he invented himself. Their musical interplay is a combination of structure and improvisation as they swing through arrangements with pure joy, spontaneity and humor, endearing them to audiences everywhere. In the words of NPR's All Things Considered, "This is 'local music' in the best sense of the wordbelievable, human-scaled, and fluent in the international language of musical interplay."
FULL BIOGRAPHY Olov Johansson and Mikael Marin started playing together as teenagers around 1980. During the early 1980's they would regularly visit Curt and Ivar Tallroth and Eric Sahlström, older musicians who lived nearby in the Uppland region, where they would play and learn traditional music from them. In this way they became a link in the living tradition that Swedish folk music has enjoyed through the centuries. In 1989, at a music gathering in Røros, Norway, Olov met Roger Tallroth and asked if he would like to try to jam on nyckelharpa and guitar for a bit. Roger declined, intent at that moment on taking a shower. Fortunately, the shower was occupied, so Roger returned with his guitar, and they played for the rest of the day and far into the night. Among the witnesses to this fateful jam session was Olle Paulsson, who thought it was the best music he had ever heard, and made a promise to start a record label if they were willing to be recorded for a CD (and thus Drone Music was born).
The following summer Olov became World Champion of both the modern chromatic and older historical nyckelharpas at the first-ever Nyckelharpa World Championships at Österbybruk, Sweden. The added momentum for the first CD recording, which was entitled "Olov Johansson: Väsen." Väsen is a Swedish word with many meanings: spirit, noise, a living being, essence among the most prominent. It was originally meant to just be an album title, but soon people were calling to book the band "Väsen" and the name stuck.
Initially some traditionalists (or something else, it wasn't many at all) in the Swedish folkmusic community showed some resistance to Väsen. While Olov and Mikael were playing fairly straightforward folkmusic duets, Roger's guitar definitely provided a different twist on Swedish traditional music. Yet it's exactly the guitar chordings and rhythms that also attracted an entirely new audience, and the band's popularity gradually grew, along with their international reputation.
In 1994, with two more studio albums under their belt ("Vilda Väsen" on Drone and "Essence" on the French Auvidis/Ethnic label), Väsen were asked to participate on a project of Swedish rock musician Mats Wester called "Nordman," which featured rock music and lyrics but with arrangements and playing by Väsen. The first Nordman CD was a huge hit in Sweden, and the band embarks on two tours and records a second Nordman CD, playing in front of audiences of up to 25,000 people. On the first Nordman tour they meet drummer André Ferrari and eventually experiment with a drums-and-bass version of Väsen. Ultimately, they settle on André playing hand percussion, and the band officially becomes a quartet in 1996.
In 1997 the quartet goes into the studio and records "Varldens Väsen" ("Whirled" in North America). Tours of Norway, Denmark, Finland, Italy, France, the United States and Canada follow, as does a Swedish Grammy and two appearances on the national radio program "A Prairie Home Companion" in the U.S. In 1999 the band releases their sixth CD, "Gront."
In 1990, Olov became the first world champion of the nyckelharpa. He began to play the nyckelharpa 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. Apart from his association with Väsen, Olov has also played with groups such as Kronos Quartet, the Nyckelharpa Orchestra. He has also recorded and toured with the chart-topping Swedish rock group Nordman, and has played on the albums Early Music (with Kronos Quartet) and his solo project, Storsvarten (released on NorthSide).
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, Mikael Marin 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).
With his specially tuned guitar (A-D-A-D-A-D), Roger Tallroth has developed a sound that's all his own. In addition to the guitar, he plays the Swedish bouzoki. octave mandolin and tenor guitar. Roger received his first guitar when he was thirteen. Since then, he has studied at Sjövik Folkhögskola and Örebro. He now has over 50 followers throughout the world using his tuning, a number still growing. He has given numerous seminars around Europe and the US. Roger has performed together with Nordman, Annbjørg Lien, and the Gunnel Mauritzson Group, among other artists, and has also participated in several stage and theater productions. Roger's discography includes Nordman (with Nordman), Felefeber, Prisme, Baba Yaga, and Aliens Alive (with Annbjørg Lien), Siluette and Raisu Äut (with the Gunnel Mauritzson Group), The Horse and the Crane by Ale Möller (on NorthSide) and Kat Kombat (Kombat). He also produced the self-titled début album of the group Draupner (on Caprice).
TRISTAN AND TASHINA CLARRIDGE "I believe every sound you listen to informs your ears, and therefore your musical perspective. We grew up hearing the sounds of nature, rather than the sounds of cities," says Bee Eaters co-founder Tristan Clarridge. Perhaps it was their free lifestyle growing up in a tipi on the side of a mountain in Burnt Ranch California that influenced their musically explorative sound. Or the fact that Tristan and his sister, Tashina, never went to a day of school but began music lessons at age two, sometimes driving thousands of miles for music camps and lessons and spending much of their time exploring and learning on three week backpacking trips. Though their family did not have much money, Tristan will be the first to tell you he feels lucky. And these experiences deeply influenced their approach to music. Tristan and Tashina began performing around Humboldt County at the ages of 4 and 8. A Grand National Fiddle Champion, Tashina Clarridge has toured with Mark O'Connor, Tony Trischka and Laurie Lewis and has performed at Carnegie Hall as a part of MacArthur Fellow/Grammy-winning bassist Edgar Meyer's Young Artists program. Multi-instrumentalist brother Tristan is a 5-time Grand National Fiddle Champion and a pioneering cellist, synthesizing traditional folk influences with rhythmic vocabulary from jazz, rock and pop music, and leading a revolution among adventurous young cellists throughout the country. He has toured the world with bluegrass/nu-folk sensation Crooked Still and Darol Anger's Republic of Strings, as well as Mike Marshall, Bruce Molsky and Cape Breton fiddle phenomenon Natalie MacMaster. Along with hammer dulcimer wizard Simon Chrisman, they form the chambergrass trio The Bee Eaters, which The Boston Globe described as "chamber music's finely calibrated arrangements with bluegrass's playful virtuosity and pop music's melodic resourcefulness".
The Arcata Playhouse (View)
1251 9th Street
Arcata, CA 95521