Folk Spot 2013
Find Svøbsk online at http://www.svobsk.dk
Their newest recording is Bjergtaget
On a fine May evening, at a big outdoor venue at a Canadian music festival, a concert is in full swing with the Danish quartet, Svøbsk, one of the most popular bands on the Danish folk music scene. In the spotlight, down in front of the stage, singer and fiddler Jørgen Dickmeiss, and his wife, accordionist Maren Hallberg, are dancing. The whole audience look on, raptly attentive. The dance is a Sønderhoning, to a beautiful, slightly melancholy tune from the little Danish island of Fanø, off the west coast of Jutland. The music floats from the mouth organ Jørgen is deftly playing as he dances.
When the dance is over, applause bursts over them. The pair stand close together for a moment, then jump back to their places on stage. There, pianist Theis Langlands and percussionist Simon Busk are ready. As soon as they are regrouped, the band break into a couple of fast polkas. Playing jaw harp, fiddle, accordion, percussion and piano, they drive the music with a verve and pace that bring cries of delight from the audience, who clap along in time. There is magic in the air this evening! A musical love story
In central Denmark lies the hamlet of Davinde, some 12 kilometres from Odense. Odense, the largest town on the island of Funen, is where the poet and fairy-tale author Hans Christian Andersen grew up, and where the great Danish composer Carl Nielsen did his national service in the 16th Battalion’s Regimental Band.
In downtown Davinde, home to around 400 souls, stands a newly restored farm house from 1780, half-timbered with black beams and whitewashed walls. To one side runs a bubbling brook and some neighbouring houses, to the other lie open fields. In this house live Jørgen and Maren with their 4 year-old son Alfred, and their 2 year-old daughter Selma, and this is their base.
“We started the Svøbsk duo in 2004,” recounts Jørgen. “It actually began when Maren and I fell in love and soon afterward began playing music together. It was a “perfect match”, so we chose the name Svøbsk, which is a fast dance where the dancers turn round and round and round until they are dizzy – “svøbsk” in Danish – and the giddy feeling is almost the same as when you are in love.”
In 2005 Maren and Jørgen release their album Tell Me (Sig Mig), and in the years that follow they play hundreds of concerts of all kinds all over Denmark and abroad. The duo gradually build a name for themselves on the Danish folk music scene.
“You have to know each other really well if you want to catch the magic in the music,” explains Jørgen. “I know that Maren is sitting right there beside me when we’re playing, and we often succeed in catching the right magic. And when it doesn’t happen, we both know it right away.”
After a couple of years, Maren and Jørgen decide to expand Svøbsk with percussion and piano, a decision they have had no call to regret. In 2009 they make the album Timeless Sound (En Klang af Tidløshed), and these days you can hear Svøbsk as a duo, trio or a quartet. In 2011, the band played over 100 concerts. “We are very happy with this set-up. It’s spreading like rings in water: more and more people are contacting us with offers to play at their venues and festivals. We are grateful for the opportunity to live the musician’s life, playing together as a duo or with Theis and Simon.”
Find Svøbsk online at www.svobsk.dk