FolkWorld #81 11/2023
© GO Danish Folk Music


Svøbsk turns 20 - seducing Danish folk music with a sound of timelessness

20 years ago, Maren Hallberg Larsen and Jørgen Dickmeiss played their first public concerts under the name Svøbsk - in such exotic places as Greenland, Bornholm, Aarhus and of course quite a few different places at their home base the isle of Funen (DK). Since then, a lot adventure has unfolded in the Svøbsk musical life. Mostly at home, but also throughout Europe, India and Canada.


Artist Video Svøbsk @ FROG

The two virtuoso and renowned fiddler Jørgen Dickmeiss and Maren Hallberg Larsen also live as a couple privately. They play closely intertwined as in the traditional couple dance from which they took their name and have over the past 15 years honed their empathetic interplay. They met at the conservatory's folk music line in Odense, where they have both studied. Maren has also taken a master's degree in classical accordion and Jørgen is a silver-plated Danish national fiddler ("Danish rigsspillemand").

In the anniversary year, Svøbsk release the album "Sorgenfri"; "We have never strayed from the path of an adventure and have tenaciously kept the screw in the water for 20 years now as a duo. Our concept has proven to be sustainable in lifting the legacy of the fiddlers of old in a balancing act between tradition and renewal. With this anniversary album, we have returned to the starting point from our first album - two musicians gathered around a common passion and united in a shared destiny."

Over the years they have had many fantastic musical collaborators, not least Simon Busk and Theis Langlands in the orchestra Svøbsk Kvartet. Svøbsk (duo and quartet) has released a string of albums and played a large number of concerts in clubs, festivals, churches, libraries and schools every year. They have toured in Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Canada, Finland, Poland, Austria, Scotlanf and Germany.


Svøbsk "Sorgenfri", GO Danish Folk Music, 2022

Listening to the playing of Maren Hallberg and Jørgen Dickmeiss makes you sense a close personal relationship between two people converging towards a common destiny. They create an enchanting atmosphere with soul and deep empathy and they perform closely intertwined, as in the traditional dance from which they took the name Svøbsk. The music is a mixture of traditional and contemporary folk music brilliantly played, breathing life into playful pieces with intriguing melodies. Their bright and articulated music is rooted in the revived legacy of folk traditions from Denmark and its surrounding countries. They draw on a wide range of musical expressions which is united with their deep respect for the Danish tradition.

Svøbsk has existed since 2003, when Hallberg and Dickmeiss met each other at the conservatory of Funen, where they both studied at the folkmusic department. Svøbsk play a large number of concerts in clubs, festivals, churches and schools every year and have been touring Canada, India, Greenland, Finland, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Austria, Poland, Scotland and Germany.

Svøbsk is the name of a melody – and dancetype, where you turn ’round and ’round in a close embrace until you get all “svøbsked”. Svøbsk is pronounced: swirbsk” – with the “ir” as in bird!

Svøbsk tour as a duo, trio and Svøbsk Quartet. Hallberg and Dickmeiss have allied themselves with the two great musicians Theis Langlands and Simon Busk and their contributions on piano and percussion complement most beautifully the closely knit musical patchwork of Svøbsk. The musicians draw on a wide range of musical expressions which is united with their deep respect for the Danish tradition. The joy of playing is present and it is clearly to everyone that they inspire each other in their playing.


Photo Credits: (1)-(3) Svøbsk (unknown/website).

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