Trio Medieval: Folk Songs

To listen to this show, you must first LOG IN. If you have already logged in, but you are still seeing this message, please SUBSCRIBE or UPGRADE your subscriber level today.

Program: #07-42, Air Date: 10/8/07

The fabulous ladies of Trio Medieval are back with a collection of haunting late medieval folk songs in their native Norwegian tradition, most passed on orally over the centuries and mostly connected both musically and emotionally to particular regions in the home country.

NOTE: All of the music on this program is from the new Trio Mediaeval release on the ECM label. For more information on this label, including past recordings and history, you may visit their web site at:

Folk Songs (ECM CD 2003)

Anna Maria Friman
Linn Andrea Fuglseth
Torunn Østrem Ossum

Birger Mistereggen percussion and jew's harp

From the introductory material:

The Trio Mediaeval have included Norwegian folk songs in their concert repertoire from the beginning of their history. Now this material is the subject of an extraordinary new album, the fourth disc from the Norwegian-Swedish trio, augmented here by percussionist Birger Mistereggen. Its intensely melodic programme - of music the singers have known since childhood - incorporates a wide array of spontaneous interaction and the most diverse vocal techniques, colours, moods and atmospheres. The recording of these ballads, hymns and lullabies arranged for voices and percussion is above all a celebration of music that has long inspired them. The disc’s release also coincides with the trio’s tenth anniversary as a performing group.

Faithful to the musical spirit of the songs and to the storyline of the texts, the Trio’s interpretations of these folk pieces are also strikingly original. As might be expected of a group renowned for its challenges to orthodoxy (the early sacred pieces in their repertoire, after all, were not intended to be sung by women), the trio do not make “authenticity” a goal, but approach the music in a very fresh way, making it “wonderfully alive” (as the Washington Post noted of their folk song performances in 2005).

Folk music, of course, is based on oral tradition, and the multitude of contemporary arrangements and interpretations available underlines their continued importance in Norway’s musical life. The country’s wide and varied heritage of folk music is well documented and researched and, crucially, folk music has remained a living tradition in Norway. It has inspired many musicians from different backgrounds, a phenomenon that can be clearly observed on numerous ECM jazz releases from Jan Garbarek to Frode Haltli and Christian Wallumrød. (In fact one of the tunes recorded by the trio here, the wedding march from Gudbrandsdalen, made its first appearance on an ECM disc 35 years ago, on Garbarek’s “Triptykon”). Trio Mediaeval are not improvisers in a ‘jazz’ sense but their interpretative freedom and spontaneity has caught the attention of jazz musicians (and led to recent live collaborations with Tord Gustavsen, Arve Henriksen, and others).

--Det lisle bånet (The little child)
--So ro, godt barn (Rest now, sweet child)
--Villemann og Magnhild (Villemann and Magnhild)
--Tjovane (The thieves)
--Nu solen går ned (The sun is setting)
--I mine kåte ungdomsdagar (In my reckless, youthful days)
--Gjendines bådnlåt (Gjendine’s lullaby)
--Bruremarsj frå Gudbrandsdalen (Wedding march from Gudbrandsdalen)
--Rolandskvadet (The song of Roland)
--Solbønn (Sun-prayer)
--Eg veit i himmerik ei borg (I know a stronghold in heaven)
--Nu vilar hela jorden (All the earth now rests in peace)
--Springdans fra Vestfold (Dance from Vestfold)
--Eg aktar inkje (I don’t think much of those boys)
--Den elskte Jerusalem (Beloved Jerusalem)
--Till, till tove
--Lova Line
--Danse, ikke gråte nå (Dance, do not cry now)
--Den signede dag (The day of joy)
--Folkefrelsar, til oss kom (Saviour of the nations, come)

CD Info

ECM CD 2003,