Odd Bakkerud - Hardingfele
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Odd Bakkerud
Ta:lik (www.talik.no)

cd cover Odd Bakkerud (1931-1989) was only 24 years old when he became Norwegian national champion in Hardanger fiddle. He continued to impress; during the 50's and 60's he participated in over 100 competitions, and won most of them. The recordings on this double CD set were made between 1959 and 1971, when the fiddler was at his best.

A few tunes are taken from private tapes and some were made at competitions, but the majority were recorded by the Norwegian radio. The material is chiefly springar and halling tunes from Hallingdal. Bakkerud also mastered melodies from Telemark, Numedal and Valdres, which we get to hear on half of the second CD.

The opening cut, "Godversdagen," is a great introduction to Bakkerud's playing. He usually tuned his Hardanger fiddles a third above an ordinary fiddle, which produced a light and silvery tone. An unparalleled technique marks all the tunes. The trills and ornaments are clear and well-integrated. Listen to the beautiful "Toingen," a hallingspringar whose unusually melodious character is enhanced by Bakkerud's crystalline, powerful tone.

Bakkerud's clear and rehearsed playing suits certain tunes better than others. The older generation of Hallingdal fiddlers, among them Kristian Øvrevollseie and Olav Sataslåtten, were more spontaneous and varied in terms of melody and rhythm. Their music also incorporated microtones as a natural part of the scale. To have a chance at winning fiddle-competitions, Bakkerud refined the rough dance-music from Hallingdal into more accessible music suited for the concert hall. His perfectionism made the music somewhat colorless, but one must bear in mind that these recordings were primarily made in studios and far from the dance-floors. This naturally influenced the playing. When one listens to the four live cuts, full of nerve and energy, one doesn't wonder why the fiddler from Hallingdal is counted as one of the greatest Hardanger fiddlers. "Fanitullen" and "Kjempespringar etter Jørn Hilme" are simply breathtaking.

This release is a must-have for fans of Hardanger fiddle music. The beautiful and coherent playing of Odd Bakkerud would also make an excellent introduction for those not familiar with the music of Norway. - Staffan Jonsson

CD available from cdRoots

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