Horsham’s Capitol welcomes the leading act on the Nordic fiddle scene on Saturday, May 25. Frigg brings together the talents of a generation of Finnish folk musicians, drawing influence from their homeland alongside influence from their extensive travels.
Together they fuse Nordic and bluegrass flavours to create their own signature, Nordgrass – the result of tight interplay between four violins, with mandolin, cittern, guitar and contrabass, spiced with a sparkling, high-energy stage show.
Band member Petri Prauda is delighted to be heading back to the UK once again. They tour here twice a year and also enjoy festival appearances.
Frigg have released seven albums. The last studio album Polka V from 2012 was chosen as the folk music record of the year and was a Teosto Prize nominee in Finland.
“We are seven in the group,” says Petri, “and next year we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary.
“We started in 2000. Three in the band come from a small village on the west coast of Finland which is a strong place for traditional music, a place called Kaustinen.
“At the moment Finland is applying for UNESCO listing for intangible cultural heritage for two things, one is sauna which is very much part of our traditional culture and the other is Kaustinen fiddle-playing. The style is very much based on the dance music of the rural era of 17th to 19th century with a very, very strong bowing style. There is a really strong thing about the bowing with a back beat, and the repertoire is also very much connected to the local dances.”
The group came together at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki: “We came there to study for a folk music degree.
“I used to play the piano as a kid, classical music, and then as a teenager, I started to play electric guitar in a rock band. I played for 13 years in a rock band, and then I was already something more than 20 years old when I heard Finnish folk music for the first time. In Finland, it is quite marginal, at least when it comes to the media. I had successfully avoided having any connection with folk music in Finland, but then when I did, it struck me immediately as something very very intriguing and that there was something almost enchanting about it. When I started to find out more about it, I started playing acoustic guitar rather than electric guitar, and then I found that you can study for a degree in folk music, and I was very lucky to have that education.”
It has also proved to be a good passport: “For folk music, the whole world is your market, which is great. You get to share so much great music and you get to have a glimpse into other people’s cultures. I suppose there are similarities (between folk traditions in different countries), but there are always things that are particular to the places.
“We have been touring to the UK for the last five years twice a year because we got in contact with a great agent for music and theatre. But now he has started to retire, so now we have got a new agent. He is also managing bands like Blazing Fiddles.
“We very much enjoy the UK. It seems that there are really good enthusiastic audiences.
“There are no great distances to travel between the venues and there are definitely great festivals in the UK. It is a really good place for us to tour.”
Frigg features Alina Järvelä , Esko Järvelä, Tero Hyväluoma, Juho Kivivuori, Tommi Asplund, Ansi Salminen and Petri Prauda.