Scandinavian instrumental, singing and dance workshops, featuring top level musicians from Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway will take place on June 7, 2013 in and around Nisswa, Mn. You must sign up in advance for these. These workshops are offered in conjunction with Nisswa-stämman Scandinavian Folkmusic Festival, June 7, 8, 2013. Sessions generally start at 10 a.m. and continue until 3 p.m., with a lunch break in the middle. There are some sessions that are half day only....check the listings. Cost for the sessions is $20 per each 2 hour session, or $35 for two sessions if they are from the same teacher. It is okay to register for a morning session from one teacher and and afternoon session from another. All locations are close enough together so it is possible to drive between them over lunchtime. All workshops are generally taught by ear and participants are encouraged to bring recording devices. The 'musician's lunch' at most workshops happens at noon, and consists of cold cuts, vegies, fruit, etc and cost an extra $5. (note - no lunch is provided at the dance workshops...but downtown Nisswa is right there with several restaurants available) After you signup you will receive more information about your workshop, including a detailed map for getting there.


We are showered with TONS of lovely musicians again this year. This presents a blessing and a problem for us. The blessing is obvious. The problem is not so obvious, but is simply this: We may have trouble filling all the workshops with students. Two things need to happen: 1) everyone who took a workshop last year needs to return. 2) more people need to sign up. If you know of anyone who may be interested, please pass the word... think of any scheme you can to get the word out in your community! Thanks!

It may be possible that some of the workshops won't be 'viable'... i.e., they won't have enough students to be worth the day's effort of the teacher. If this happens, you will either be asked to pick a second choice... OR, you could perhaps negotiate a private lesson with that teacher too. Janet will keep you informed.

Workshop locations Go to this link for a map of the workshop locations. You will be able to print out detailed maps for each one. All of the workshops take place in the Nisswa area, mostly in the homes of generous volunteers. Give yourself plenty of drive time to find them :)

Workshop teachers, descriptions - If you would like to print this page out, click HERE to download a pdf file of it.

*** Remember...all workshops are generally taught by ear and participants are encouraged to bring recording devices***

Fiddling and Nyckelharpa workshops

Danish Fiddling with Harald Haugaard - 10 am to noon  . . . since the mid-90s, Harald has established himself as one of Denmark's finest musicians. In his virtuoso fiddle playing, he combines a playful ease with a characteristic deep and melancholy sound. The Danish fiddle tradition is all about dance music. Haugaard is passing on this tradition wherever he travels. Polkas, Minuets, Waltzes, Jigs, Polsks and Sønderhonings. Traditional music is alive! The tunes will be taught by ear and the workshop will include bowing technique, dance rhythm, ornamentation and the story and theory behind the tunes.

Finnish Fiddling with Kukka Lehto of the Polka Chicks - 1 pm to 3 pm . . . Kukka started to play the violin at the tender age of three. She has studied at the Helsinki Pop & Jazz Conservatory and at the Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department, and is a musician at the National Theatre of Finland. She joined the Polka Chicks in 2004, and has toured with various bands in Europe, Russia, and the U.S. Kukka is known for her ability to play in a range of styles from bluegrass and folk to classical. In her workshop, she'll teach Finnish “pelimanni”-music on fiddle. Kukka also has a passion for folk music improvisation (and is very good at it!), so she'll get you started improvising, too.

Swedish fiddling with Olof Göthlin - 10 am to noon, 1 pm to 3 pm  . . . A protégé of renowned fiddler Mats Edén, Olof became a "Riksspelman"  (Fiddler of the Swedish realm) in 2006. Working with musik from Värmland, Olof will focus on the melody, and the awareness around what comes out of the instrument, optimizing the tone and making sure all the notes are heard. Melodic variation and improvisation within the framework of the melody, when a melody is reduced to fewer notes, which ones need to stay for the song to still be recognizable. He will also work with harmonical possibilities and how it all links back to the melody. This workshop teaches you how to add something of yourself to the music you play, and I hope it will teach you how to be creative when you practise and perform music.

*This pm workshop is FULL* Norwegian Fiddling with Marie Skavnes - 10 am to noon, 1 pm to 3 pm  . . . Since 1999 Marie has been an "A-klasse spelemann" in Norway. This means that she has played in the top level at kappleiks (fiddle competitions) in Norway. To get to this level, a fiddler must first win the "B-klasse" for two years. Last year Marie became nr. 1 at Landsfestivalen in Norway. She will teach tunes on 'flat fiddle' from Møre og Romsdal and Gudbrandsdalen. Marie thinks it is easiest to teach tunes by ear, but she also brings sheet music which will be handed out after the tunes have been learned. It may be a good idea to bring a recording device as well.

Beginning Scandinavian fiddling, first session with Paul Dahlin - 10 am to 12 pm . . . Paul D, founder of the ASI spelmanslag will lead a beginning Swedish fiddle session.This will be an introduction to the music itself. How the tunes should go. How the tunes move. Rhythm and motion is the key. How to bring the music to life. This will be our focus. We will look at examples of vals, schottis,and gånglåt/walking tunes. Come and enjoy the morning, all are welcome.)   second session with Andrea Een - 1 pm to 3 pm ... A beginning workshop in Norwegian and Swedish fiddling...we will learn a simple bridal march, a waltz and a reinlender. Andrea has taught many beginning fiddlers at St. Olaf College. She has taken 11 musical research trips to Norway an learned in direct tradition from master fiddlers in Voss where her grandfather, Knut Een, was born, as well as in Telemark & Setesdal.

Swedish Nyckelharpa with Ben Teitelbaum - 10 am to noon, 1 pm to 3 pm   . . . After being awarded Sweden's Eric Sahlström nyckelharpa scholarship in 2000, Ben returned to Bethany College in Lindsborg, KS and became the first American to earn a degree in nyckelharpa performance. He is now pursuing his PhD in ethnomusicology at Brown University. His workshop will focus on melodic variation in the traditional music of Värmland. Participants will learn a polska--a triple-meter genre with emphases on beats one and three--at the beginning of the workshop. Following this, they will learn to vary the melody of this polska tune in terms of phrasing, grouping, and articulation. The skills gained in this workshop are transferable and can be used to perform more dynamic renditions of tunes throughout the Scandinavian tradition and beyond.

Ensemble Workshops 

Ensemble workshops are open to all instruments and will cost $20 for each 2 hour session session. Besides learning some neat tunes.. you basically will be getting a private house concert from some great musicians :)

*This Workshop is FULL* Tunes from Finland with the Polka Chicks - 10 am to noon . . .the Polka Chicks are extremely good players and extremely fun! They were favorites at Nisswa-stämman in 2010 and we are so happy to have them back. They will teach some snappy and soulful Finnish folk music. Traditional or their own. By ear. Melody & accompaniment. Maybe some polka. Or something else. Maybe polska, waltz, schottis... Maybe good jokes, or bad ones. Prepare to enjoy yourselves :)

*This Workshop is FULL*  Mette & Kristian teach you their favorite tunes from Denmark - 1 pm to 3 pm . . . Mette Jensen (accordion) and Kristian Bugge (fiddle). We play some favorites from Denmark. The tunes are from different places and we talk a little about why they sound the way they do and how to play them. Every instrument is most welcome!  You will learn the tunes by ear, but if you prefer notes you can get them, while learning by ear.

Singing Workshop

Danish songs with Helene Blum - 1 pm to 3 pm . . . Denmark has a strong and rich singing tradition which goes back to the medieval ballads.
This workshop will be an introduction to all this and Helene Blum will teach traditional Danish ballads including ornamentation, the story behind them and, if there are many participants, singing in harmonies.

Dance Workshops

We have four dance workshops again this year. That's a lot of dancing , so please TELL YOUR FRIENDS! We need all the dancers we can get, and then some. The workshops will take place in two locations, at the Nisswa American Legion and in the Dance Barn at the Nisswa Pioneer Village. No lunches are  available with the dance can eat in Nisswa at the Legion (great lunches!) or several other restaurants. Participants are encouraged to have smooth soled shoes. You do NOT need to bring a partner!


All day, easy to learn basic Scandinavian dances with Carol Sersland and friends - 10 am to noon  . . .  no partners necessary. Gammeldans basics (old-time dance) Waltzing and schottische will be taught by Carol Sersland and Steven Petersen, with Lars Berg on accordion. Carol and Steven will help you become familiar with these dances so you can try them out at the dances on Friday and Saturday evening. No partner necessary. 1 pm to 3 pm - Gammeldans basics continues with Polka, rund snu (the round turn), and hambo. Carol and Steven instructing, and Char Bostrom on fiddle. We will continue with introduction to dances that are the most played and danced at Nisswa, so you can join the fun!


Danish couple and mixer dances with Mette & Kristian - 10 am to noon . . . The duo is experienced in teaching dance lessons as well as playing for them. You will learn the basic steps (they also have the "grandfather" edition and we promise everyone can learn that :-) ) polka, waltz and hopsa. You will get to use these steps in some of our favorite figure dances. They are not that difficult but we promise they are good for all kinds of parties. And of course we always teach at the skill level of the people who show up. Welcome!

Tango with Tuttila!  Ralph Tuttila1 pm to 3 pm . . . Finns got heat, yes the Sauna sizzles but their tantalizing tango truly rules.
Learn to dance Finnish Tango with Rauli Tuttila with assistance by Jana Early. No partner needed ( we will rotate partners) couples singles all welcome. Finnish Tango is seriously sensual but Nordic friendly and fun.

Take a look at previous workshop pages: 2012 w-shops / 2011 w-shops / 2010 w-shops / 2009 w-shops / 2008 w-shops / 2007 w-shops / 2006 w-shops / 2005 w-shops

Take a look at some shots from the first workshops in 2004, with Mauno Järvelä & family of Kaustinen, Finland, > 2004 workshops.

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