NISSWA-About 120 folk musicians performing on three stages will appear for Nisswa-stämman Scandinavian Folk Music Festival Friday and Saturday among the Norway pines of the Nisswa Pioneer Village.
"How to build a good Nisswa-stämman recipe starts with the talents of 120 local Scandinavian style folk musicians," Nisswa-stämman Organizer Paul Wilson stated in a news release. "Add a trio from Sweden on fiddle, harp and voice and another large fiddling group from Sweden. Mix in a master fiddler from Denmark, an accordion trio from Norway and a Finnish/American duo on violin and accordion. Garnish it all with some tasty Scandinavian food and the table is set for another great year of Scandinavian folk music and dance at Nisswa-stämman Scandinavian Folk Music Festival."
For the last 17 years the little festival has managed to showcase some of the finest folk musicians from Scandinavia and the U.S., Wilson said.
"We have done it by keeping the focus on the music where it belongs, and providing an atmosphere of shared experience so everyone taking part in the festival feels like it's really their festival," Wilson stated. "People return year after year and word of mouth is by far the best advertising method for the event. The Nisswa community has embraced the Nisswa-stämma, which is really like no other Scandinavian festival in the USA."
An important part of the festival every year is the children's activity tent which is staffed by the Arrowsmith family of professional child educators and has grown into a major attraction for families attending the event.
"We know that families can stay at the festival longer in order to enjoy the traditional music and dance when their children are happy, engaged and comfortable," Valorie Arrowsmith stated. Arrowsmith is mother to daughters Rose, Josie and Abbey, who all work the tent during the day. The Arrowsmith family has been providing programming, performances, experiential learning opportunities and traditional crafts at Nordic festivals in the Upper Midwest for several decades. Their guiding principles at the Nisswa-stämman children's tent are: to make a colorful, safe and welcoming atmosphere; offer crafts adapted for an audience with about a 20-minute attention span; and engage in activities with a basis for cultural learning and provide accessible activities ensuring there is something for all ages and abilities. Besides craft work, children of all ages will enjoy ongoing performances designed specifically for them by nordic musicians and storytellers. New this year will be a special hands-on "try out an instrument" session where children have the chance to actually touch and play an instrument.
Fifteen musicians from Scandinavia are visiting this year's festival, representing Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. One of those Scandinavian musicians will be Maja Kjær Jacobsen from Denmark. Kjær writes about her homeland this way: "Denmark-the little brother of Scandinavia and the last stop before you fall off the European continent into the North Sea. It's a small country spread out on 1,400 islands, but with a grand history built on its accomplishments and connections across the oceans, this should come as no surprise: Denmark's traditional folk music sounds like nothing else, yet somehow familiar. It is happy-go-lucky with an underlying note of melancholy, as a traveller with an aching heart for the homeland."
Kjær has specialized in the traditional folk music and singing in dialect from her home area of Virklund in Central Jutland. She is the only musician in Denmark preserving these tunes, which makes her a living national treasure. She graduated with a masters degree from The Academy of Music in Odense, Denmark. Also known as a composer, Kjær was nominated for a Danish Folk Music Award 2016 for her works on the debut album of pan-Scandinavian fiddle trio, Fru Skagerrak. Kjær teaches fiddling, singing and dancing, and she is currently working on publishing a tune book with music from her home area. In concert, she switches between her traditional fiddle tunes and songs, and a few of her own compositions.
Schedule for Friday:
• 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Scandinavian music and dancing workshops, Nisswa area, open to public. There is a fee involved. Contact Janet Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 218-0259-4090.
• 7 p.m.: Gala Opening Sampler concert, Lutheran Church of the Cross, Nisswa, $15 adults, $5 children 12 and under. All tickets available only at the door. Tickets go on sale at 5:30 p.m.
• 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.: Old time dance featuring several festival bands, Nisswa American Legion Club.
Schedule for Saturday
• 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Nisswa-stämman Festival, Nisswa Pioneer Village; $15 adults and $5 for ages 6-15 and free for children under 6. Tickets available at the gate.
• 4:45-6 p.m.: Sm'rgåsbord, $18, Nisswa American Legion.
• 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.: Old time dance featuring even more bands than Friday night, Nisswa American Legion Club.