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ASI's Virtual Midwinter Folk Festival

Saturday, February 27, 2021 - 9:00am to Sunday, February 28, 2021 - 3:00pm

This joyous annual celebration of folk music, dance and songs brings together some of the foremost artists and practitioners from Sweden, locally and nationally to share the Scandinavian skills and traditions in a weekend of virtual workshops and a culminating concert! ASI presents this festival in collaboration with the following music and dance groups: ASI Lilla Spelmanslaget, ASI Spelmanslag, Twin Cities Nyckelharpalag, Twin Cities Swedish Folk Dancers,  ASI Cloudberries and ASI Male Chorus.

Featured teaching artists include: Swedish guests Maria & Anders Larsson from Malmö and Eva Tjörnebo from Nyköping, along with local and national luminaries Roo Lester of Chicago, Kirsty Money of Nova Scotia, Anne-Charlotte Harvey of San Diego and Paul Dahlin of Two Harbors.

This year’s Midwinter Folk Festival is dedicated to the memory of LeRoy Larson. LeRoy’s passion was music, which he passed on to his family, his students and the many people over the years who attended one of his performances. LeRoy founded the Minnesota Scandinavian Ensemble, which performed throughout the Upper Midwest giving performances that were entertaining, skillful and educational and which received a Minnesota Music Award in 1989. He inspired countless audience members with his love for traditional Scandinavian folk music and left behind a legacy that will endure. 

Schedule for Saturday, February 27

9:00 - 10:15 a.m. – "Learning this Swedish musical language, as Americans" with Paul Dahlin

Going beyond learning melodies, we will discover how we can sound Swedish by approaching correct "pronunciation" in the various types of Swedish folk tunes: Vals, Polska, Schottis, and Gånglåt.

Instructor: Paul Dahlin, Two Harbors, MN

Paul Dahlin is the founder of the American Swedish Institute Spelmanslag and a NEA National Heritage Fellow. He learned to play Swedish fiddle tunes from his grandfather, Ivares Edvin Johnsson, who emigrated from Dalarna, Sweden. When the Spelmanslag performed at Sweden's largest folk music festival, Musik vid Siljan in 1989, Dahlin was hailed by his Swedish colleagues as an important keeper of a deep musical tradition. in honor of his efforts to preserve Swedish folk music, Paul was presented with the designation of the Royal Order of the Polar Star by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in 2010.

10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. – "Youth Swedish Folk Music Workshop – for fiddle, cello, viola" with Maria & Anders Larsson

Youth ages 7-18 are invited to learn Swedish folk music tunes with techniques that make them sound authentically Swedish. Instructors will be Swedish musicians Maria and Anders Larsson. Instruction will be "by ear" but sheet music and recordings of the tunes will be made available after the workshop.

Instructors: Maria & Anders Larsson, Malmö, Sweden

Maria and Anders Larsson are both graduates of the Malmö Academy of Music. They have taught and performed in over twenty-five countries and have toured throughout the Midwest several times over the past twenty years. Maria has been awarded the distinguished title of Riksspelman (Swedish Master Musician) and has appeared on nine CDs with different ensembles. She plays fiddle, nyckelharpa and a variety of Swedish folk flutes. Anders specializes in guitar and vocal arts.

12:30 - 1:45 p.m. – "Scandinavian Dance for Covid Times" with Roo Lester

Some find Scandinavian music and dance to be lyrical and flowing. Others find it to have drive and passion. Come and decide for yourself. Join us for some non-partner, Covid-friendly dances to lovely and fun Norwegian and Swedish music. All of the dances can be done in small or large, carpeted or not, dance spaces with limited turning.

Instructor: Roo Lester

Roo Lester began learning international folk dance while in college. Later she received an MA in Dance Ethnology from UCLA. Roo has travelled extensively in Norway and Sweden studying dance and participating in dance and music events. She is known for her clear presentations that embody care and respect for the dance traditions. This Covid time has offered opportunities to both learn new dances as well as make adaptations for known dances.

2:00 - 3:15 p.m. – "New rhythms and enhancements for traditional Swedish folk music tunes" with Kirsty Money

Working with traditional tunes that are standard in the nyckelharpa repertoire, Kirsty will explore variations and enhancements that will enliven group playing. Participants wishing to become familiar with the tunes can obtain sheet music by sending an e-mail to

Instructor: Kirsty Money, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Kirsty Money has been a first violinist with Symphony Nova Scotia since 2000. For the past several years she has been concentrating on the nyckelharpa, attending a summer session at the Sahlström Institute in Uppland, Sweden and working with a number of Swedish nyckelharpa players. She has since appeared at several music festivals throughout eastern Canada. With guitarist Jude Pelley, she is working on her debut solo album, showcasing the nyckelharpa as a Folk and Early Music instrument. Earlier she completed a Bachelor of Music Degree from McGill University in Montreal.

3:30 - 4:45 p.m. – "Return to Snoose Boulevard—the Scandinavian immigrant heritage in song" with Anne-Charlotte Harvey

Come visit the vibrant Scandinavian immigrant music scene in the upper Midwest in the 1970s, epitomized in Minneapolis’ Snoose Boulevard Festival 1972-76! Your guide is Anne-Charlotte Harvey, the festival’s headline singer. She will touch on the immigrant heritage, the festival, and its music—you will hear and learn material from the festival concerts. You may also enjoy a surprise visit by one of the original festival performers!

Instructor: Anne-Charlotte Harvey, San Diego, CA

As a Swedish immigrant living in Minneapolis in the ‘70s, Anne-Charlotte had a weekly Scandinavian radio show on WAYL-FM. She has researched, performed and documented Scandinavian immigrant music and theatre in America. She received both an MA and PhD from the University of Minnesota, and she is now Professor Emerita of Theatre at San Diego State University. Her contributions to Swedish-American culture in the U.S. have been honored by awards such as Swedish American of the Year by the Vasa Order of America, the Carl Sandburg medal by the Swedish-American Historical Society and the King’s Medal awarded by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.

Schedule for Sunday, February 28

10:30 - 11:45 a.m. – "Adult Swedish Folk Music Workshop - for fiddle, cello viola" with Maria & Anders Larsson

Join Maria and Anders Larsson in this workshop for adults. The Larssons will focus on folk music tunes from Sweden, with emphasis on techniques that make Swedish folk music sound authentic. Youth (upper teens) who want to expand beyond the youth workshop are welcome to participate. The workshop will be taught “by ear” but sheet music and recordings of the tunes will be made available after the workshop.

Instructors: Maria & Anders Larsson, Malmö, Sweden

12:00 - 1:00 p.m. – "Swedish Traditional songs from Southern Sweden" with Eva Tjörnebo

Eva has been collecting and teaching traditional songs her whole life and will teach three songs from her vast collection. Eva is also part of a Masters of Swedish Song project sponsored by the American Scandinavian Foundation. In the month of February Eva will be teaching a workshop every Sunday at 12:00 Noon. Find out more about this series

Instructor: Eva Tjörnebo, Nyköping, Sweden

Eva Tjörnebo originally comes from Skåne in southern Sweden, but she now lives in the Nyköping municipality. In her youth she was a member of the folk music group Folkvind, which in 1977 released an album at Oktoberförlaget. In recent years she has released four music albums, three of them together with Viskompaniet. She was awarded the Olrog Scholarship in 2013.

1:30 - 3 p.m. – Closing Concert

Each of the presenters will play, sing, or dance to demonstrate what they did in their respective workshops.The workshop participants will be invited to join. Even though there will be audio from only the presenter, the session will allow the participants to see each other, review what they have learned and get a sampling of the content in all of the week-end's sessions.

$20 ASI members / $25 non-members. Includes access to full weekend of workshops and closing concert. Students 18 and under are free – please email to register.

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