With her distinct compositions and performances which are influenced by musicians and styles from a wide range of nations, fiddler Annbjøg Lien continues to defy musical borders. Her latest album “Come Home”, created in companionship with her husband, foot bellow organist Bjørn Ole Rasch, features more of a domestic perspective with its vital mix of new and old styles – new compositions as well as traditionals. The album’s most distinct trait is the unique interaction between the characteristic timbres of the Hardanger fiddle, the nyckelharpa and the foot bellow organ.
After more than twenty years as a profiled folk musician and with a number of records to her name, Annbjørg Lien is one of the true international stars of traditional Norwegian culture.
In addition to her trademark skills on Hardanger Fiddle, Lien also masters the key harp, an instrument that has been with her for quite some years. On her new album Coming Home (Heilo) the key harp is there, along with the other instruments she calls her own: the Hardanger fiddle and the standard fiddle. On the record Lien also makes a rare, but convincing vocal performance. Says Lien: –It is a song that I have inherited from Kristen Bråten Berg, a beautiful tune called Coming Home. But it is not because of the song we chose give the record that name. Coming Home is a duo record; my husband Bjørn Ole Rasch and I made it in our home studio. The title reflects the place we find ourselves mentally.
Six years ago the couple moved to from Kristiansand and set up a studio in their home by the sea. –It felt like settling down, says Lien; like having arrived, with time to pause and feel at home.
On the record Bjørn Ole Rasch, who is a professor at the University in Kristiansand, plays the foot bellow organ.
–It is a very organic and slow moving instrument with a lot of physical presence to in terms of the actual work and noise of playing it. Together with my acoustic instruments, it creates a very intimate and naked atmosphere. In a way this record feels like we’re inviting the listener a lot closer than what I am used to with bigger more complex productions. It felt very good doing it this way, as a contrast, and as a way of giving a musical expression to the sense of having settled down.
As a folk musician of international renown, Lien’s records and live performances are in demand across the world, even when they express the most domestic of airs, or perhaps especially then. Do not miss out on this unique opportunity offered by the Førde Festival to experience one of Norwegian folk music’s strongest voices.