Benedicte Maurseth, Hardanger fiddle, viola d'amore, vocal
Like a swell
The Hardanger fiddle, the for some of us now almost holy instrument, has had a hard life, from the time it was born, through the years with fates and lived of fiddlers, to being smashed and burned as the devil´s instrument, so it was almost eradicated, to a national instrument, until now, for some people, is an almost holy instrument.
What does the Hardanger fiddle manage to say that no other music says?
Strangely, it took me many years - after all, I did grow up in Hardanger - before I found the Hardanger fiddle. Yes it was first when I began to do recitals with fiddler Håkon Høgemo and saxophonist Karl Seglem that the Hardanger fiddle opened up, but then with vengeance.
Later I have experienced the glitteringly beautiful in the Hardanger fiddle music trough collaborations with fiddler Knut Hamre as well, and Benedicte Maurseth.
What does the Hardanger fiddle say to me, in the hands of a master? What is it I´m hearing?
I think it has something to do with what those who have lived before me, and whom I come from, have to say to me. It is also the sound of their lives I hear, as it is the sound of my life.
To me, it feels as if it is the Hardanger fiddle music which best takes care of my dead ones, for instance, the way it lets itself be heard on Benedicte Maurseth´s CD Alde - Swell.
If there is something culture should do, it is precisely to take care of its dead.
Is there a music in the world which better takes care of the dead, not just my dead ones, then the Hardanger fiddle music does? And why is it like that? Has it something to do with the sympathetic strings, as if the invisible is present in the visible?
Because there, in the playing, it is as if the dead are present, yes, just like a swell, like a billowing, like wind in the leaves. And I listen to them. And I feel both utterly at home and in the flight, and far far away, I, too, as a swell.