Emilia Amper is a
Swedish nyckelharpa player, singer, composer, and teacher of music and dance. She
is fluent Swedish, English, and Norwegian, she has good understanding of
Danish, and knows some German.
She he has worked in
various settings and is also a popular dance musician. Her musical passions include
polskas, bowing technique, expression, and dance groove. Her style of playing
has been described as dynamic, elegant, and groovy.
Emilia's musical background
and education are both rich in variety and she has been awarded multiple
scholarships for study and performance. She has played with many Swedish and Nordic
folk music groups and artists, as well as with musicians in other genres, for
example Persian classical musicians, pop/rock and jazz musicians (such as
Norwegian singer Sissel Kyrkjebö), organ/piano player Jon Lord from the rock
band Deep Purple, and chamber orchestras.
Emilia was winner of the
2010 Nyckelharpa World Championships; she won the Spellemannsprisen (the
Norwegian Grammy) in 2011 for Best Classical Album; she was nominated for two 2011
American Grammy Awards (for the album TrondheimSolistene in Folk Style,
together with the Trondheim Soloists and Gjermund Larsen), and was nominated as
Artist of the Year at the 2011 Swedish Folk & World Music Awards.
Emilia has a master of folk music in nyckelharpa. She has studied
at the Royal College of Music, Stockholm;
the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki;
the Ole Bull Academy, Voss,
Norway; and the Academy of Music and
Dramatic Arts Southern Denmark, Odense.
She also completed a
bachelor of performing arts in Swedish folk music and nyckelharpa at the Royal College of Music, and a
bachelor of musicology in nyckelharpa and composing at the Norwegian University of Technology and Science, Trondheim.
Before her university
studies, Emilia studied English, folk music, fiddle, and nyckelharpa at the Visingsö Folk High School, Visingsö/Brighton/Dublin,
Ireland; the Malung Folk High School, Malung,
Norway; and the Eric Sahlström
Institute, Tobo, Sweden.
Emilia works with a number of music groups, including Blink, an
experimental contemporary folk music group with roots in traditions from all
over the Nordic countries, which was started in 2009. Others include the Absolut Trio, a playful folk music
trio playing music from Sweden, Scandinavia; and Bretagne at festivals and church
concerts ; the Emilia Amper Band, Emilia´s
solo project started in 2003, in which she plays her own compositions and
traditional music from Sweden; the Trondheim
Soloists, a world-famous Norwegian chamber orchestra that tours
extensively; and KMH Folk, anorchestra
of about 35 international musicians from the Department of Folk Music at the
Royal College of Music, Stockholm.
Emilia has been
performing since 1997 and her concert schedule is impressive. In 2011, so far she
has performed close to 50 concerts, about 25 of them with Blink. Emilia has
contributed to five music CDs since 2004, including the 2011 self-titled Blink
Emilia has instructed numerous nyckelharpa, fiddle, folk music, and dance
workshops and classes for youth, adults, and senior citizens at various schools
and festivals in Sweden, Germany, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Emilia is a member of
the board of The Eric Sahlström
Institute for Folk Music and Dance, Tobo, Sweden.
website and listen to some of her music at www.emiliaamper.se.
Charlotta Hagfors has always loved singing.
"I believe the human voice is the most
revealing and the richest instrument there is," she says. "And since it's not
an instrument, but a human being, it carries the secrets that can be found in
that individual. It's something very personal, and at the same time something
everybody can share, recognize, and take part in; everyone has a voice."
Lotta is a singer
and folk musician from Helsinki, Finland. She studied ethnomusicology at the
University of Helsinki and now she is pursuing a master's degree in Nordic folk music at the Sibelius Academy. Her studies have taken her to Sweden, Denmark, and Norway as she discovers the world of folk singing, composing, improvising, and percussion instruments.
"Studying at the Sibelius Academy has been the
greatest privilege of my life," Lotta says. "The way they teach music in the
Folk Music Department is very creative and allows the student a lot of freedom.
I have gained a lot of open-minded thinking about music and learned to improvise
and enjoy the moment."
Folk singing is Lotta's primary subject at the
Sibelius Academy, along with harmonium, percussion, and composition.
In the course of her education, Lotta has had
many great teachers, many of them well-known with international careers. "They
have guided me deeper into the sources of folk music and helped me to learn and
grow as an artist," Lotta says of them all.
open-mindedness and freedom are the most valuable things in music. She loves to
make discoveries and mix art forms, and theatre is especially close to her
interests include the world's "traditional" music, in all its various forms, and
in particular Finnish rune singing, contemporary folk music, free vocal
improvisation, "and, of course, the old loved one, tango."
Lotta has performed
with ensembles and projects in many parts of the world, from China to Africa. They
include the folk quartet Blink, Philomela, Play! Soundpainting Ensemble,
the Ilona Korhonen Ensemble, Venho, and the Finnish-German project Nordic
Appeal, which includes two
jazz-musicians from Berlin and an innovative and gifted folk cellist from
She also performs
in theatre and dance productions and works part-time as a radio announcer for
the Finnish National Broadcasting Company (YLE). And drawing on her background
of singing in vocal ensembles, Lotta also composes and arranges music for vocal
Lotta wants the folk tunes she sings to become
a part of her. "I want them to be alive, not just reconstructions of something
I heard on a tape," she explains.
"Music is a way to give something of yourself
to the world-and to receive as well," she adds. "It's a product of the moment, yet
it's something that comes and then goes on forever. It's unique. I believe we
all are musical."
Like many children, Lotta dreamed of becoming
a singer and an actor. Her godmother bought her a beautiful white piano when she
was five years old,she says, and she studied classical piano until high school
... where she met friends who were playing folk music.
"It was eye-opening for me," Lotta says of her
discovery of folk music. "I always have enjoyed improvising and doing things in
my own way, making up new voices... the folk music environment allowed all that."
Before long, Lotta became convinced that folk
music was the best genre through which to express herself. And, as she learned more
about the rich tradition of Finnish folk music, she fell in love.
Following high school, Lotta joined the high-profile,
all female Finnish choir Philomela, which performs pieces composed by Finnish
contemporary folk musicians, and was a member of serveral other vocal ensembles
for which she had opportunities to write folk song arrangements and
compositions. "We also did a lot of vocal improvisation," Lotta adds. "All this
has had a huge impact on my thinking and my taste in music."
With Philomela, Lotta traveled to China,
Zambia, and Brazil. "It's always exciting to perform abroad, since you can't
predict the reactions," she notes.
In particular, she recalls a concert at Pemba
High School, Zambia, where all the students burst into laughter when Philomela
began their choir set. "It was something quite unexpected, but they explained
later on that it was about the Finnish language."
One of Lotta's most exciting moments with
Philomela was in Finland as they were performing in a televised competition.
"I was the leading soloist and one in five
people in Finland were watching the broadcast (about a million people)," she
recalls. "It made me very, very nervous, but finally, everything went well."
Another important influence on Lotta's singing
style is Finnish folk singer Santra Remsujeva (1913-2010). "She was a real folk
singer, singing straight from her heart. Unfortunately, I only know her through
tapes. She sang with her own style, not caring about the opinions of others,
and it sounds marvelous to me-just the way it should be: full of life, not too
"What I love as a musician is the possibility of
communicating with an audience, to speak the common language of music that
everyone who just wants to hear, understands," Lotta says.
"I love to mix art forms and go beyond music
in the performances," she adds. "For example, I will soon start a collaboration
with three dancers to combine runic singing and modern dance."
Besides performing and working to create
something new, Lotta hopes to teach music in the future. "I have found the
strength of folk singing, and have seen how it can bring people closer and give
joy for everyday life," she explains.
In summer 2010 Lotta, with Blink, performed 18
concerts in the Nordic countries and Estonia. "The music got better and more
innovative all the time," she says of that tour. "As we performed, the
audiences gave new impulses, so the music grew and developed."
Blink has garnered much positive feedback from
listeners and from the media in the Nordic countries, which Lotta describes as
"I think it's very important to let the
personality to be heard through the music, no matter what style or genre, or
instrument," Lotta says. "To put yourself in the soup, so to say, and to try
not to pretend. It asks for courage, and that's what I've been trying to learn
during these years of studying."
When Lotta is not studying, practicing or
performing, she often likes to sit in Helsinki cafés and dream.
No one in Lotta's immediate family is a
musician, but she says that her father is a great singer, although "he chose to
try to make the world a better place by studying social politics." Lotta's mother
is a school nurse, but she sang to Lotta often when Lotta was a child.
"Luckily my family has always encouraged me to
do what I really want, and supported me in my musical studies when I was
younger, since they saw and were told by my teachers that I had gifts, as well
as a strong interest.
Traveling to the Midwesat for this year's
Sibelius Academy Music Festival is Lotta's first visit to the U.S. "It gives me
encouragement and good feelings to know that I was chosen to perform at this
festival with our Nordic band. It's a privilege," she says.
"It's been a long journey to get this band and
this program together, and it feels lovely to be able to share it with people who
have roots in the Nordic countries and Estonia," Lotta says. "I am especially looking
forward to meeting Finnish-Americans in Michigan, and hopefully hear some of
Lotta also wants to find out if it really is
true that in Michigan the nature looks very much like it does in Finland
Find out more about Lotta Hagfors at http://hagforslotta.wordpress.com
Jullie Hjetland Jensen
Active in the contemporary Nordic folk, electronic, and jazz music scenes,
Jullie Hjetland Jensen has toured all over the world,
performed with many well-known musicians, and appeared on more than ten albums
She is a singer, composer, performer, and dancer. Born in Svendborg,
Denmark, on the island of Funen, Jullie has been singing since early childhood.
She began her journey to become a professional singer in 1999 at the Saga Music
Academy, Odense, Denmark.
In 2008, Jullie completed a bachelor's degree in folk music at the the
Carl Nielsen Academy of Music in Odense, and in spring 2011 she was awarded a
master's degree in Nordic folk music from the Ole Bull Academy in Voss, Norway,
studying for that degree in Odense, Stockholm, Helsinki, and Bergen, Norway.
Jullie was awarded the 2009 Danish Music Award for her vocal performance
on the album Kryss, and in 2010 was
nominated for the Odense Live Talent Award.
Jullie has lived in Greenland, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, and she is a
fluent speaker of Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian. In 2009, she and the music ensemble Nordens Tone released
a CD on which Jullie sings in seven different languages.
Jullie does not allow herself to be limited by genre boundaries. She
explains that experimenting with her voice and improvising without borders or
limitations is her brand. Her harmonic compositions, which blend jazz, folk,
electronic, and noise, represent a new creative and open-minded way of
composing on the contemporary Nordic Music scene.
An intense presence on
stage with a full and expressive voice, Jullie is a much-sought-after musician
in the genres of folk, jazz, and others. She describes
her sound and voice as clean and recognizable, with a tenderness and power that
can be heard in both her interpretation of old Nordic songs and in her own
Apart from her
singing and performance career, Jullie arranges and promotes the annual art and
music event Kvamsøy Veka in Norway, an initiative organized by and for young artists
that presents a forum of concerts, workshops, and exhibitions where young
artists and musicians can meet and make art, music, and connections.
Learn more about Jullie and listen to her music on her MySpace page at www.myspace.com/julliehjetland.
Violinist Johanna-Adele Jüssi is living her dream: working
as a freelance musician and traveling around the world. She collaborates with a
number of musicians and ensembles, performing for large audiences and in cozy
environments. She teaches a bit and plays music for dance.
"What job could be better?" Johanna-Adele says of her career
as a musician. "I travel to play at festivals and events where I can make
people feel something; I can touch their emotions. I am accommodated, fed,
taken care of. I meet wonderful people on the way, get to play with lots and
lots of amazing musicians, and for all this I often get paid!"
It's common in Estonia for school children to study music,
so early in life Johanna Jussi didn't have a special interest in music. It was
at the recommendation of her music pre-school teachers that she continue with
Now, the violin is the best and most important thing in her
Johanna-Adele participated in an improvisation course at the
Sibelius Academy in fall 2010, where she met and began to collaborate with the
musicians of the folk ensemble Blink.
"I feel the improvisation course opened my musicality a
lot," Johanna-Adele says of her course at the Sibelius Academy. "I felt so much
more relaxed and more open-minded after that."
Johanna-Adele says that her teachers inspire her simply by
being excellent musicians themselves. Among the best advice Johanna has received
over the years is from Danish fiddler and musician Harald Haugaard, who urged
Johanna-Adele to "remember that every note is important!"
"You have to listen a lot ... all the time," she says of
performing with other musicians. "You have to be aware of what the other
musicians are playing and fit yourself into the moment. You have to feel what
is needed and what best serves the common goal."
"Music is a companion of our everyday lives, through the
highlights of our lives, through our emotions and feelings," Johanna-Adele
says. "It helps us feel more, feel less, relax, get excited... Music is my life."
"I love to touch people. ... to make them feel ... and to be
touched myself," Johanna-Adele says of the thrill and rewards of performing. "I
love the feeling of having totally opened myself. There have been times when I
have really felt high after a concert. Mostly, I think, because of the good
atmosphere and great feedback from the audience."
Johanna says she applied to perform at this year's Sibelius
Festival to "see the world." It is her first visit to the U.S. and she says she
is looking forward to seeing and experiencing life in the Midwest, the Copper
Country, and the U.S.
"All travel widens your perspective on life-and on the world
in general," she adds. "Maybe I will even meet people I can cooperate with in
Johanna-Adele is the
only musician in her immediate family. "But my father would have been great had
he started playing a musical instrument," she adds. "He is so musical. He is
singing and whistling all the time."
In her free time, Johanna-Adele enjoys visiting friends and
spending time with her boyfriend. She likes to create art, especially
paintings, and read books written in foreign languages.
Visit Johanna-Adele's MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/johannaadele.