“I was already an adult when I started with traditional music,” says Boksasp, one of the newest bright voices on the Norwegian traditional circuit. “My interest in the field grew forth as a combination of a love of local history and ethnography and some seminal record purchases: I bought some CDs with traditional music that I fell for instantly. “
Boksasp’s latest outing is this year’s critically acclaimed ‘Keramello’, a solid follow up to 2007’s ‘Songar frå Havdal’:
“Keramello is more arranged and broader than my debut, which was an oddity in many ways, albeit consciously so,” Boksasp explains. “Now the format is a little more fixed, with bass and drums throughout. And the new record is definitely more light-hearted – even party-like – which is a bit of an achievement I think, bearing in mind that most of the repertoire that I draw on is very melancholic in nature.”
Apart from the format and arrangements, the major difference is that the new record draws from many different sources.
“A big part of being a traditional musician is learning from sources first hand,” says Boksasp. It is simply all-important to learn by ear instead of through written material. For that reason, I have spent a lot of time studying recordings and also making recordings with old people. Especially in my district, where there are very few still-active old singers and musicians, it is decisive to travel around to meet them and record their music.”
However, Keramello, which takes its name from an old goat herder’s calling-tune, also features songs written by Boksasp herself, including lyrics.
“The interplay between traditional songs and sources, and new arrangements and compositions is at the heart of folk music,” says Boksasp. “We find and create music as we go along, and often it is a matter of coincidence what ends up on a record and how long it takes to make a record. In my position, where I do everything myself –including the business part of it all – there is a certain limit to how much time you can spend on every project. Being a musician is a lot of work, especially as a singer, since it is mostly a question of your own projects and ideas rather than filling a role in a band.”
Førde Folk Music Festival (Festivals\Traditional / World; Festivals\July)
Unni Boksasp, Folk singer