"It’s very rare to encounter music as beautiful as this, that can be returned to again and again and release new pleasures every time." - London Jazz News

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Nils Økland – Hardanger fiddle & violin
Sigbjorn Apeland – chamber organ

Norway’s most celebrated Hardanger fiddler player, Nils Økland has been quietly forging new paths in traditionally rooted music for the last 35 years. His distinctive music bridges the worlds of traditional folk and contemporary, forging links between the ancient and modern, written and improvised.

The Hardanger’s plaintive, mourning sound, enhanced by its resonating strings, carries the listener to the high mountains of Norway and their majestic nature.

Nils Økland and keyboardist Sigbjørn Apeland, musical partners for thirty years, have long explored the interface of Norwegian traditional music and improvisation.

Their beautiful new album Glimmer takes as its starting point Norwegian folk music. Apeland’s collection of pieces from local singers who have helped to keep the traditions alive forms the basis of the repertoire, along with original compositions. Throughout, the combination of Økland’s Hardanger fiddle and Apeland’s harmonium is hugely evocative.

Much of the music on Glimmer is related, in different ways, to the area of Western Norway where Okland and Apeland grew up, Nord-Rogaland and Sunnhordland, a region also known as Haugalandet. In addition to the pieces collected by Apeland, the duo have also studied older transcriptions and archive recordings, improvising on this musical material.

"quietly exquisite collection of folk tunes and original compositions … sound both ancient and bang up to date." - The Strad on Glimmer

Nils Økland (Hardanger fiddle & violin)
Nils Økland is Norway’s most celebrated Hardanger player; as well as his highly acclaimed original compositions which have been released through Rune Grammofon and ECM, he has released an album celebrating the music of the country’s legendary fiddler, Ole Bule. His distinctive music bridges the worlds of traditional folk and contemporary, forging links between the ancient and modern, written and improvised.

Nils Økland was born in Haugesund in 1961. He attended the Rogaland Music Conservatory and the Norwegian State Academy of Music, where he studied violin with Terje Tønnesen. He also studied Hardanger fiddle with Knut Hamre and Sigbjørn Bernhoft Osa. A scholarship took him to the Budapest Academy, and in Amsterdam he studied the music of Biber with Jan Willem de Vriend. He was musical director of the Ole Bull Academy (named after the 19th-century Norwegian violinist-composer) in Voss for six years.

https://nilsokland.no/

Sigbjørn Apeland (chamber organ)

Sigbjørn Apeland (1966) from Bergen, Norway, was educated as a classical church musician, with the organ as his main instrument, but continues to work between idioms, combining improvisation, traditional music and more.

He is know for using the harmonium in new ways and within unusual settings, as on his two ECM recordings Lysøen – Hommage à Ole Bull (2011) and Glimmer (2023), both performed in duo with violinist Nils Økland.

The former album inspired the German weekly Die Zeit to rave about the duo’s collaboration: “What colours! Nils Økland experiments with many different shades on his Hardanger fiddle, whispers, breathes, sometimes just titters with the wood of his bow on the strings, while Apeland lets heavy clouds rise on the harmonium, and this is so exquisitely recorded that you believe you can see the grain of the wood.”

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The Artists

nils okland

Nils Økland

Norway

Nils Økland is an innovative violinist and Hardanger fiddle specialist, a pioneer who...

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Nils Økland & Sigbjorn Apeland

SOUND UK