Album overview: Tradition

[Norsk versjon] On June 19th 2015, Grappa released Sigmund Groven Collection vol. 2: Tradition, the second of three compilation albums that celebrates the artist’s five decades in music. The 23-track CD includes some of Sigmund Groven’s finest folk music recordings and compositions, from composers such as Benjamin Britten, Eivind Groven, Erik Bye, James Moody, Gjermund Haugen, Maurice Arnold, Tommy Reilly and Vilem Tausky – in addition to several of Sigmund’s own compositions.

tradition 2015 web

Among the tracks you’ll find four new pieces; a live recording of Bulgarian Wedding Dance, Øistein Sommerfeldt’s Munnspillfantasi / Fantasia For Mouth-Organ, a brand new recording of Tommy Reilly’s Serenade for solo harmonica, and a previously unreleased recording of Om Kvelden / In The Evening, composed by Sigmund’s uncle, Eivind Groven (1901-77). He was not only a composer of symphonies, piano concertos and major choral works, but also a proficient performer on Norwegian folk instruments (the Hardanger fiddle and the sallow-flute) and an ethnomusicologist and researcher.

The CD includes an extensive 32 page booklet, with details, track information and essays (in English and Norwegian), written by Sigmund himself, among others.


Sigmund’s recordings always held the highest possible standards, which makes the list of featured top musicians on the album only logical; Lars Anders Tomter, Ole Edvard Antonsen, Iver Kleive, Helge Iberg, Nils Petter Nyrén, Bjørn Kjellemyr, Pål Thowsen, Petter Brambani, Anne Karin Kaasa, Svein Christiansen, Ivar Anton Waagaard, Kjetil Bjerkestrand, Øyvind Bjorå, Steinar Larsen, Svenn Erik Kristoffersen, Tom-Erik Antonsen, Rune Arnesen, Aage Kvalbein, Terje Venaas, Kim Ofstad, Geirr Lystrup, Henrik Hannisdal, Svein Johann Ose, Henryk Lysiak, Arve Tellefsen, Freddy Lindquist, Audun Kleive, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Per Sæmund Bjørkum, Georg Reiss, Anne Vada, Tommy Reilly, Armon String Quartet, Steinar Ofsdal, Øyvind Bjorå, Jan Olav Martinsen, Svenn Erik Kristoffersen.

“In the right hands the lowly mouth-organ can be an instrument of great beauty and sophistication. Sigmund Groven, like Tommy Reilly and Larry Adler before him, makes full use of the wide range and tonal expressions that the harminica is capable of. His musicianship is superb, and he now unquestionably reigns supreme as one of the finest exponents of the harmonica in the world” – Sir George Martin, producer of The Beatles.

Anne Jorunn Kydland, music scholar: For many people the sound of the harmonica brings to mind fragile tones wafting over the prairie in a cowboy film, a beggar’s appeal for spare change in a dark corner of the underground in a big city, or Bob Dylan’s protest songs. Sigmund Groven’s musical world is different. When he starts playing his instrument the listener knows immediately that it is Groven, and nobody else, who is playing. He has forged his own distinctive style, and has built up his repertoire with roots in both continental and Norwegian traditions. In investigating the possibilities inherent in the harmonica, Sigmund Groven has demonstrated that the instrument offers great expressive potential and has a wide variety of timbres, and that it can be used in many different musical genres.

Tradition tracklist:
Nordisk Natt / Nordic Night
Undring / Wondering
Bulgarian Wedding Dance
Fjellvandring / Mountain Ramble
I Himmelen / In Heaven
Tilbake Til Sangene
The Sally Gardens
Om Kvelden / In The Evening
Lengt / Longing
Bruremarsj Frå Seljord / Wedding March From Seljord
Tjønneblommen / The Water Lily
Det Veks Ei Lind / The Linden Tree
Telemarkssommar / Telemark Summer
Prestegangaren / The Parson’s Dance
Munnspillfantasi Over En Gammel Stevtone / Fantasia For Mouth-Organ
Legender: Fjellsalme Og Setesdalsvise / Legends: Mountain Hymn And Setesdal Ballad
Til Fjells / Mountain Song
I Denne Søte Juletid / In The Sweet Yuletide
Innunder Jul / Before Christmas
Bohemian Carnival
Hava Nagila
Vi på Langedrag

Review in Harmonica World (National Harmonica League UK)
These CDs are a must for anyone who wants to hear the chromatic harmonica played by a master.  (Read full review here.)

Review in Hamar Arbeiderblad, June 2015
Sigmund Groven has during his long career shown us the wide range of the harmonica. Rated 6 of 6. (Read full review here.)

Review in Varden, August 2015
…you get the feeling of new and fresh [material], even if it is a compiled album. Rated 5 of 6. (Read full review here.)

Sigmund Groven Collection vol. 2: Tradition is available worldwide from (CD). Also available from CDon Norway, CDon SwedenCDon Denmark, CDon Finland, Platekompaniet (Norway).

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