I think it’s very important to unearth old, beautiful, distinctive melodies for these song lyrics that are widely known in other forms throughout Norway and the rest of Scandinavia. Probably a lot of them were discarded in favor of the “nystev” form that gained influence in Setesdal in the 19th century, and I was delighted to uncover two “gammelstev” tunes previously unknown to me. In 1861, L.M. Lindeman traveled with a horse and cart northwards through Setesdal.

I have tried to link my performances to living, breathing tradition, using the singing style I learned in Agder as a basis. Even so, a certain amount of guesswork is inevitable when working from transcripts ill-suited to representing the exact pitches and rhythms of traditional music. Most of the tunes were published with just one verse of lyrics, and so I have had to consult other variants to compete them. Many of the ballads show traces of having originally been written in Danish. It is known that Peder Syv’s Danish songbook from 1695, widely known as “The Book of Two Hundred Songs” and “The Giant Songbook”, was in common use among traditional singers from the late 18th century onwards. The songs have then been passed on orally, mixing Danish with local dialect. When this mixture is transcribed by a researcher unfamiliar with the dialect, and performed by a singer who grew up somewhere midway between Denmark and Setesdal, the resulting hybrid is bound to be something fabulously, uniquely different”.
Ragnhild Furholt (www.talik.no)