Annbjørg Lien has been an immerse figure on the musical scene in Norway and internationally for decades. Few have done as much for Norwegian traditional music as Annbjørg, an ambassador and innovator of traditional music, she holds the highest esteem in every musical corner of the world.
In 2019, Annbjørg finished her doctorate in Hardanger fiddle playing at the University in Agder, and this album is the result of her work – to do what Annbjørg Lien does best: renewing the traditional music, all with a deep respect for what became before her.
Annbjørg’s process of composing new material in response to traditional identities in Hardanger fiddle music captures a transformation that may resemble Janus’ two faces – linking the past to the future.
“Janus captures the act of simultaneously looking backward and forward, evoking doorways which can symbolize endings and new beginnings in a musical exploration process” – Annbjørg.
This album is inspired by a revisit to the folk music tradition in Setesdal, Norway. In 2020 she became the project leader for UNESCO Setesdal, a tradition she has a special relationship with. It explores signature characteristics in Hardanger fiddle music and how these can serve as tools when composing new tunes. Musical characteristics often involve signature instrumental qualities or capacities and can, in turn, influence how the music itself is organized.
Annbjørg Lien launched her professional career at a very young age. Recording for the first time at the age of 12, she was only 15 when she appeared on a nationally broadcast television show on Norwegian National Television. She has collaborated with musicians all over the world, long time running collaborations include the famous fiddlers Natalie MacMaster (Canada), Liz Carroll (US), Catriona MacDonald (Shetland Islands) in the band String Sisters, renowned old-time fiddler Bruce Molsky (US). She has toured all over the world with Bukkene Bruse – the national ambassadors for the Olympic Games at Lillehammer in 1994, been nominated to Spellemannprisen (“The Norwegian Grammies”) 5 times for her solo albums and appeared on more than 100 recordings.
Photo Credits: (1)-(2) Annbjørg Lien (unknown/website).