FolkWorld article by Søren Jensen Lund:

Power folk from Denmark

The Fiddler Harald Haugaard

Harald Haugaard, photo by The MollisHarald Haugaard is 26 years old. He playes the fiddle, viola and hurdy-gurdy. He is a folk musician, but forget all about traditional costumes and clogs stuffed with straws. The year is 2001. This is a living tradition.

The duo, Haugaard & H°irup, and the folk rock band, Serras, demonstrates more than anything the range in the new Danish folk music, but they share two factors: The desire to play with and develop the traditional Danish music - and Harald Haugaard.
In 1998 Harald Haugaard formed the group Serras, which rapidly attracted much respect on the Danish folk scene, and the Danish music scene in general.
From the beginning Serras' idea was to create a new folk music idiom, with which they could kick traditional Danish music into the new millenium. The tunes are traditional from the 18th century, written by folk musicians such as Rasmus Storm, Svabo and Riber. We will never know what Rasmus Storm might have said if he could have heard his tunes played using samples, drum-loops and rough kick-ass guitars, but the young crowd attending Serras' concerts gets the message: This is a living folk music tradition in Denmark.
Serras has released two cds. The first one, "Serras," came in 1998. The expression was rough, and the inspiration came from many different genres and styles. The cd brought Serras on tour throughout much of Europe. In 2001 Serras released their second cd, "Second Hand." "Second Hand" is more laid back, and the arrangements are more sophisticated. Moreover they use the electronic music, with which Harald Haugaard, in particular, became familiar with through his collaboration with the electronica folk group, Sorten Muld.

Haugaard & Hoirup; Photo by The MollisIn Haugaard & H°irup Duo, they explore the original roots of the folk music idiom. There is, nonetheless, a great deal of innovation in their arrangements and in the contemporary tunes that make of a large part of the duo's repertoire. Morten Alfred H°irup is a role model for many of the young acoustic guitarists who have discovered folk music. He has travelled all over the world, playing concerts, holding workshops and masterclasses, appeared on TV- and radio shows, and played with some of the most respected folk musicians in the world.
Together Haugaard & H°irup are a study in technical skill. Their combined sound is powerful, and their interepretations of the traditional material are original and wicked.
With help from, among others, The Danish Folk Council, Haugaard & H°irup have done a great deal of touring. They have visited Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, England and the USA. In the summer of 2001, the duo played concerts in the Faroe Isles, and at the major festival of Celtic music, Celtic Colours in Novo Scotia, Canada.

The Danish folk music scene has been experiencing a period of growth for the last couple of years. Concrete signs of that growth is the establishment of a folk music course at tbe Carl Nielsen Academy of Music, and the holding of the first annual folk music award ceremony, Danish Music Awards 2001 - Folk.
At the same time there is a ever growing interest from the public.

All that wouldn't be possible without zealots. Harald Haugaard is one of them - a zealot.

Relevant FolkWorld articles: Haugaard & Høirup,
Relevant FolkWorld CD reviews: Haugaard & Høirup: Let's Dansk, "Duo for Violin & Guitar". Serras: "Serras"

Weblinks: Serras:

Photo Credit: All photos by The Mollis

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