Norwegian violinist and Hardanger fiddler Nils Økland has made many friends with his ECM recordings with the Christian Wallumrød Ensemble. Now comes his first solo album for the label, subtle, approachable, exploratory, and intensely melodic.
Nils is a renewer of folk music, building bridges to connect traditional music with modern composition and free improvising: "I am very inspired by the freedom, variation and individuality in the Norwegian fiddle tradition." The 'personality' of the instruments themselves is also very important: "I get strong inspiration from instruments and bows, and I have used my favourite instruments on this recording". Namely: a viola d'amore made by Josef Huber, an old violjn from 1700, and three hardanger fiddles, two modern ones by Sigvald Rørlie and an old-style Hardanger fiddle made by Olav Vindal. The Hardanger's most distinguishing feature is the four or five sympathetic strings that run underneath the fingerboard and add echoing overtones to the sound. The traditional playing style is heavily polyphonic. A melody voice is accompanied by a moving "drone" voice. In the hands of a master Hardanger fiddle player such as Økland, the use of drones is moving also in the metaphorical sense.
Nils Okland (Hardanger fiddle, violin, viola d'amore)