Norway meets Finland with fiddlers

By Beatty Nelson

Famous fiddlers from Norway and Finland are coming to perform in Marquette.

As part of the International Performing Arts series, The Friggs will be fiddling at the Kaufman Auditorium on Oct. 1.

The Friggs have toured internationally and are currently on a three-week tour of the United States.

“We’ve been to the Upper Peninsula once or twice before as The Friggs and I’ve also been (to the U.P.) playing under different bands. It’s a really great place,” said Antti Jarvela, band leader for The Friggs.

The Friggs have been to more than 20 different countries, played over 300 shows and even appeared on Garrison Keillor’s radio show, “A Prairie Home Companion.”

They have played in Wisconsin, New Mexico, Illinois and Indiana. Next, the band is heading to Minnesota and Michigan.

The Friggs is also a family affair. Most of the members come from families that have been fiddling for three or four generations and are widely recognized for their talents.

Playing under the Jarvela name is brother and sister Esko and Alina and their cousin Antti. Gjermund and Einar Olav Larsen both play fiddle and a handful of their close friends make up The Friggs.

“We want people to know that we do have a Finnish and Norwegian lineup,” Jarvela said. “Originally our lineup was all Finnish, but now with the 14 people we have a rotating lineup.”

With the rotating lineup, each show is personalized for the venue and the seven performing musicians are chosen.

Many of the members of the band are internationally recognized musicians who have individually made a name for themselves by winning competitions all over Europe.

Only when they play together do they call themselves The Friggs.

“Each musician brings a different thing to the table,” Jarvela said. “Everyone has their own style that blends together to create our unique sound.”

The Friggs’ musical style is unique because it mixes together many different genres to create a new sound.
Many of the members were taught by using Scandinavian music which influences how and what they play today.

They also mix in some bluegrass, Irish music and a little rock. This creates the combination of sounds that The Friggs are known for. The music is very global and diverse but the attitude the band plays with draws mainly from rock n’ roll.

Sophomore psychology major Bonny Mahin said she thinks the arts are important to keep the community flourishing.

“It is important to get diversity up in a place where it is hard to access unique experiences,” Mahin said. “Having a program that can bring international acts is important for students and the community.”

NMU’s International Performing Arts Series is dedicated to bringing internationally recognized acts to Marquette and the rest of the Upper Peninsula.

“It’s good for young musicians to be exposed to all different varieties of music to keep them motivated and enthusiastic about playing instruments,” Mahin said. “I think it also helps them to see all the different paths they can take and shows people how much music can help.”

Many families in the U.P. have ancestral connections to Scandinavia.

“I think that this band will have a large crowd because there is a big Scandinavian population in the U.P. It really gives the area a connection to this band,” Mahin said.

The Friggs will be performing at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 1 at the Kaufman Auditorium in Marquette.

Tickets for students are $6 in advance and $7 at the door. Tickets for the general public are $19 in advance and $21 at the door.

This performance is funded in part by the Finn Grand Fest Foundation and as a part of NMU’s International Performing Arts Series.

For more information on the band, visit their website www.frigg.fi.