TRÅD. - Liner Notes

TRÅD. , the title of this album, is a combination of the abbreviation trad. for “traditional” and the Swedish and Norwegian word tråd meaning “thread”.

Here on the coast of California there is a natural distance from European traditions, musical and otherwise, not only physically but temporally too. It took my ancestors--mostly from England, Scotland and Wales--several generations to migrate through Canada and the American Midwest to the coast of California. It seems they slowly and naturally lost touch with their Northern European traditions--with that thread to the past.

The earliest Californian music tradition I was exposed to as a child was surf music, circa 1962. Now, I like surf music, and I could continue in the surf tradition. But I am a Northern European at heart (and by DNA, if that really matters) and I really do want to connect to an older music. When I play music from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, I feel that a thread
is reconnected.

Maybe making this recording of Scandinavian tunes is like a holiday over to Sweden and Norway - to visit friends and play music. I don’t know why, but I do feel a deep connection to these tunes. I like that some of them are built on the harmonic series, I like that they are sometimes earthy and sometimes ethereal -- and sometimes all the above! But probably as important as liking the music is playing with great musicians who are also great people -- thank you Olov and Olof.

Just a note about tunings: The best way to play these tunes on the cello is to tune like the fiddle would. On this CD the cello is rarely in standard tuning, but more often in some form of “open” tuning. This way you always have an open drone string available to play along with the melody. I’m pretty well hooked on open tunings now - the cello rings much better and sustains much more when all the strings are part of the same harmony.

I may never be a full member of an old tradition, but I’d like to think I am not an unwelcome visitor. Maybe being a visitor to these old traditions is about all a Californian can hope for . . . unless I want to make a surf album!

1 Polska från Glava - trad./arr. B. Phillips
Learned from Olof, who had learned it from Mats Berglund, whose source
seems to have been an old barge operator from Värmland. Thank you Bjärv.
Olof Göthlin-fiddle & Barry-2 five string celli & standard cello

2 Fossegrimhallingen (the waterfall wizard’s halling tune) -
trad./arr. B. Phillips
One of my favorite hardingfele tunes.
Barry-five string cello (AAEAC# [low to high]) & pipe organ

3 Bisonpolska -
Olov Johansson/arr. B.Phillips
Olov wrote this tune after visiting America for the first time.
Olov Johansson-nyckelharpa & Barry-cello

4 Trogdorpolska -
B. Phillips
An energetic polska for a very busy dragon.
Barry-2 five string celli (DADAD) & tambourine

5 Vallåt från Lima -
trad./arr. B. Phillips
A shepherd’s call from Lima.

6 Farmors brudpolska e. Gyis Anders -
trad./arr. B. Phillips
“Grandmother’s Bride Polska” - a well known tune.
Olof Göthlin-fiddle & Barry-five string cello, standard cello & tabla

7 Seljefløyel slåtten - trad./arr. B. Phillips
A willow flute tune, learned from a recording by Bukkene Bruse. The flute
sound you hear is the cello played in the upper harmonics-like a willow flute.
Barry-cello quartet

8 Rondopolska -
B. Phillips
A simple polska in a rondo form.
Barry-five string cello (DGDAD)

9 Huldreslåtten (the wood nymph tune) -
trad./arr. B. Phillips
A hardingfele tune, learned from Gunnar Stubseid’s playing on the CD Reisaren.
Barry-five string cello (AAEAC#)

10 Byss-Calle’s ridmarsch -
trad./arr. B. Phillips
Played while the bridal party rides to the church - the fiddler riding out in front.
Olov Johansson-nyckelharpa & Barry-cello

11 Bellåt - B. Phillips
A tune for Shelley.
Barry-2 five string celli (DADAD)

12 Hurvan e. Johan Hollester - trad./arr. B. Phillips
A type of polska learned from Olof, who got it from a recording by Mats Edén.
Olof Göthlin-fiddle & Barry-five string cello & standard cello

13 Fanitullen (the devil’s tune) -
trad./arr. B. Phillips
Learned from the willow flute playing of Ale Møller from the CD Reisaren.
Barry-2 five string celli (DADAD) & tambourine

14 Polska e. Blinda Pelle -
trad./arr. B. Phillips
One of the first tunes that hooked me on Swedish music ... from the
playing of Blå Bergens Borduner.
Barry-cello (DADA)

15 Gelottes g-moll polska- trad./arr. B. Phillips
A traditional tune from Uppland learned from Olov.... kind of “baroque-y”.
Olov Johansson-nyckelharpa & Barry-cello

16 Björndansen e. Olof Tillman (bear dance) -
trad./arr. B. Phillips
I got this melody from a nice book of tunes compiled by Ben Paley.
Barry-2 five string celli (DADAD)

17 Bjernulfs Bröllopspolska (Bjernulf’s wedding polska) -
Olov Johansson / arr. B. Phillips
- after the arr. by Roger Tallroth.
Olov wrote this tune for the wedding of his friends, Anders and Petra Bjernulf.
Roger’s arrangement is truly great (as always) so I thought I’d steal
... try transcribing/expanding it for this recording.
Olov Johansson-nyckelharpa & Barry-cello & pipe organ

Recorded by Barry Phillips, Santa Cruz, California,
additional recording by Olov Johansson at Björkberget, Dalby, Uppsala, Sweden
and Jim Merical at Three Angels & A Saint, Camp Chaffee Studios, Ventura CA

© & (p) 2005 Barry Phillips
All titles published by Koustic Music (BMI) - except:
Bjernulf’s Bröllopolska & Bisonpolska © Olov Johansson /
publishing administered by Koustic Music (BMI)

Pipe Organ - St John the Baptist Episcopal Church, Capitola, CA.

Photos - Shelley and Barry Phillips
Back photo - Lars Johannesson
Inside stage photo - Paul Schraub

Endless thanks to Shelley,
and to Olov and Olof,
Roger Tallroth,
Lars Johannesson,
Jesse Autumn, Mark Wiens,
Väsen, Bjärv, Bukkene Bruse,
Leslie & Jim Merical,
Debra Spencer
& Neal Hellman at Gourd Records.

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