News

Celtic Connections 2018 – we’re coming your way!

Sarah-Jane Summers & Juhani SilvolaHello!

Celtic Connections released the programme for next year’s festival last night and we are part of it! Can’t wait!

We’re playing twice, firstly as part of Sarah-Jane’s New Voices commission on Sunday 28th January, alongside these truly wonderful musicians: Hayden Powell (trumpet), Morten Kvam (double bass), Leif Ottosson (accordion) and Bridget Marsden (fiddle). If you don’t already know them, do check them out!

By the way, Bridget & Leif are playing a duo concert as part of Celtic Connections at The Piping Centre on Thursday 25th January. Their music is spellbindingly beautiful; music for the soul.

Secondly, we are sharing the bill with the wonderful Adam Sutherland, who was also taught by Donald Riddell, on Friday 2nd February in the New Auditorium at The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. I’m sure it’ll be a great night. A night for fiddle lovers for sure!

Beautiful new album by traditional Norwegian singer, Ingebjørg Lognvik Reinholdt

We are really proud to be of this beautiful new album Songen Om Guro by the traditional singer, Ingebjørg Lognvik Reinholdt. A song cycle from the Telemark tradition, it tells of the beautiful Guro Heddelid, who caught the fancy of pretty much every male from far and wide. Flirtatious and enjoying the attention, she had trouble deciding who to marry. Eventually she narrowed it down to the only two men who were strong enough to lift a particular sword: the rich and charming Torgeir and the poor fiddler, Tore. Tore had the soul, Torgeir the bluster. In the end, bearing in mind her deceased parents’ advice to marry someone who could keep the farm intact, she chose the wealthy Torgeir. Tore was devastated, utterly heartbroken and ran off into the mountains having lost his mind with grief. Torgeir was a terrible husband, drinking, fighting and not taking good care of the beautiful Guro at all. They had three children, all of whom ended up dying from the plague.

The album was recorded in Flatdal Kirke in Telemark in February. Such a beautiful time of year to be in the countryside in Norway. Several mornings I was woken up by the snowplough going past the house we were staying in.

I first met Ingebjørg when we were studying together at Norges Musikk Høgskole (The Norwegian State Academy of Music) and I was instantly bowled over by her rich voice and her ability to get the story across even if you don’t understand the lyrics.

The line-up is:

Ingebjørg Lognvik Reinholdt – vocals
Sarah-Jane Summers – fiddle / viola
Juhani Silvola – guitar
Morten Kvam – double bass / church organ

Recorded by Roar Nilsen
Mixed by Juhani Silvola
Mastered by Morgan Nicolaysen

Record label – ta:lik

The lyrics are poems from the local Telemark poet, Jørund Telnes, written in 1880.

You can hear it on Spotify here.

Hope you enjoy it!

Best wishes,

Sarah-Jane

“This duo goes straight to somewhere near the top of the ‘Musicians to See Live’ list.” (The Living Tradition)

“This duo goes straight to somewhere near the top of the ‘Musicians to See Live’ list.”

SARAH-JANE SUMMERS & JUHANI SILVOLA – Widdershins
Dell Daisy Records DELL006

A real cultural mix produces the goods here in this thoroughly likeable album. Widdershins is Highland Scots for anti-clockwise, or against the norm, and that is what is served up here. The combination of Inverness’ Sarah-Jane’s Scots-inflected fiddle and the virtuosic guitar of the Finnish Juhani Silvola is an exciting one. They live and play in Norway and must sound rather exotic there as well.

Most readers of this magazine will probably come at this via the fiddle, which has echoes of Shetland about it. At first glance, you might expect it to be the lead instrument, with the guitar getting second billing as an accompaniment. It is not, however, as simple as that. Juhani’s guitar is played with such attack and such imagination that it often seems to be straining to take centre stage. The result is, as the sleevenotes claim, “Virtuosic and innovative with a dark Nordic edge” – something that will chime with the current popularity of Scandinavian drama, perhaps.

This is not music, though, which hangs around admiring its own credentials. The other description that fits it very well is “powerhouse”. The 11 tracks were recorded live, in the same room, and were left completely unedited. Hence the infectious spontaneity achieved on tracks like Juhani’s Silver Spring Reel and Sarah Jane’s Spike On A Bike. There are times on those numbers (and on others) when Silvola, in particular, sounds destined to inflict terminal damage on his instrument. Happily, we all come out safely at the other side.
This duo goes straight to somewhere near the top of the ‘Musicians to See Live’ list.

www.sarahjanejuhani.com

Dave Hadfield

This album was reviewed in Issue 118 of The Living Tradition magazine.

Lira review of Widdershins

For those of you who read Swedish, a review from Lira.

Lägg ordet Sydänyö på minnet! Hur svårt kan det vara? Lättare än att säga skotskt-finskt. Sydänyö betyder midnatt, eller mer poetiskt: Nattens hjärta. Denna cd:s första låt inleds med att Juhani Silvola lugnt plockar toner ur sin akustiska gitarr och Sarah-Jane Summers glissandon låter som om hon spelade med fiolstråken på såg. Fascinerande och ljuvligt melankoliskt.

Titellåten Widdershins kunde vara Sarah-Janes roliga performance om nordiska myggor, hon sågar med stråken på ett irriterande, vinande sätt i gitarrens ökande mörker, men det är enligt konvolutet hennes grandfather som bygger en klocka som råkar gå moturs (”widdershins”).

En låts historia kan vara underhållande, men resultatet är förstås viktigast. Det blev en schottis som får hjärtat att hoppa och benen att spritta. Sen fortsätter skivan med traditionella och nyskrivna reels som en antingen gillar, beroende på läggning, eller fort tröttnar på.

Skön andhämtning från hoppandet ger låten Vaajakosken Maija, skriven av Sarah-James till en väninna, den går att dansa en gangar eller stillsam slängpolska till.

Invid titeln på de egna kompositionerna står Tono, Norges motsvarighet till Stim. Tono har i höst, från sin största kvartalsavräkning någonsin, delat ut 131 miljoner till in- och utländska kompositörer, textförfattare och förlag. Det var ändå innan nyheten med Bob Dylan detonerade. Gilla Tono på Facebook! Och gilla Widdershins, förstås.

Recenserad av: Anne Brügge

http://www.lira.se/skivrecension/widdershins/

Great review of Widdershins from Rob Adams in The Herald

Thanks to Rob Adams for this review of Widdershins in The Herald.

“An album full of contrasts…Widdershins makes a great case for seeing Summers and Silvola in concert.”

Album review: Sarah-Jane Summers & Juhani Silvola, Widdershins (Dell Daisy)

Widdershins
Widdershins
2 Dec 2016 / Rob Adams, Folk & Jazz critic

Sarah-Jane Summers & Juhani Silvola
Widdershins, Dell Daisy

THE Scottish-Scandinavian alliance continues with this Norway-based fiddle and guitar partnership’s second album.

As with another of the teams with connections from this side of the North Sea, the Nordic Fiddlers Bloc, Inverness-born fiddler Sarah-Jane Summers and Finnish guitarist Juhani Silvola pay due respect to their native traditions but are imaginative in their arrangements and pretty fearless in taking the music out into the margins.

Summers’ rugged title track borrows a word she learned from her grandfather but it’s unlikely that her esteemed fiddle teacher, the late Donald Riddell, is responsible the wild, atmospheric and exciting bowing style she brings to its more adventurous developments.

Silvola’s playing ranges from dainty and nimble to swashbuckling as the pair show a superb musical understanding and an easy interchange between melodist and accompanist roles.

An album full of contrasts – as illustrated by the delicately picked and pizz’ed Silver Spring Reel and the robust, characterful strathspey Donald Morison – Widdershins makes a great case for seeing Summers and Silvola in concert.

Rob Adams

Top of the World status from Songlines for Widdershins!

Absolutely delighted that Widdershins has been awarded the prestigious Top of the World status from Songlines … for the second time in a row! This means that Widdershins can be heard on all longhaul BA flights!

“two musicians at their peak…one of the finest folk duos around”

“fiendishly clever … leaving you pondering how they did ’that’…” (Bright Young Folk)

“fiendishly clever … leaving you pondering how they did ’that’…” (Bright Young Folk)
Great review of Widdershins from Bright Young Folk.

Confidence is important in instrumental music. Widdershins, the new album by Sarah-Jane Summers & Juhani Silvola, shows it all the way from the overall concept down to individual notes.

The glissandos in the first track, Sydänyö, are strong and exciting. Although not unusual in Scottish music, the effect of these is to establish the interesting position of this album, being based in Norway, halfway between Summers and Silvola, of Scotland and Finland.

The second track (which is also called Widdershins), is Scottish in origin, and means ’anti-clockwise’ or ’against the sun’, and this is taken to heart, with as much unexpected ornamentation as possible. It’s as if they’re deliberately taking the least logical way through the melody.

You may end up wanting the guitar to be given an equal footing with the fiddle. The counterpoint provided in Vaajakosken Maija is fiendishly clever, and throughout the album, the chord voicings are exciting, though subtle.

Silver Spring Ring allows the guitar pride of place. The syncopation in the plucked fiddle makes an already racing track into a crazy race you’re happy to let pass you by. The track finishes quickly, leaving you pondering how they did ’that’ on their instruments.

Although this may make it seem that they are simply good at making strange noises on their instruments, the strange noises play into the tracks. A’ Cheapach na Fasach is a tune written in memory of a seventeenth century murder, and the haunting fiddle slides and vibrato really play into this.

Widdershins is fast paced, confusing and clever. Summers and Silvola are exciting, and the sound is thrown straight out at you, percussive and open. Nordic and Celtic music clearly mix well, especially when the listener is guided through it with such clarity and musicality.

Dan Simpson