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Industry Talk: Guro Kvifte Nesheim

By Tina Brodal Posted: 24. Sep, 2020

Guro Kvifte Nesheim started playing the Hardanger fiddle when she was only seven years old. Although the Hardanger fiddle tradition is a solo tradition from the beginning, she created her own band under they name “GKN5”, and together they put traditional music in a new and modern context.

GKN5 are currently taking part in Global Music Match, the largest online matchmaking of musicians ever undertaken.

“Tell us about yourself, who are you and how did you begin as an artist?”

Im a Hardanger fiddle player who grew up in the middle of Oslo. I started playing the Hardanger fiddle when I was seven years old and grew up with music all around – my father is also a folk musician, so I basically grew up at folk music festivals and jazz festivals. I was also part of an amazing fiddle group called Bærum Spelemannslag- we went on trips together and I got likeminded friends to play the fiddle with. I had the privilege to meet high class fiddlers and musicians from a very young age – one of them was the fiddler Salve Austenå. He was actually the one that found a Hardanger fiddle that was small enough for me when I was seven years old, so I could start to play. His music have always been close to my heart – and also his style of playing was so full of cool rhythms and variations and it has inspired me a lot as an artist in many ways.

Read more: Global Music Match unites 14 Music Export Programs for a world first!

After I graduated from high school – I moved to Sweden and stayed there for 8 years. I studied at Skurups Folkhögskola and The Academy of Music and Drama in Gothenburg – where my primary focus was to play music in bands. The Hardanger fiddle tradition is a solo tradition from the beginning, so I hadn’t really played so much with other people before, and I realized it was my absolute favourite thing to do! BUT! There was a problem – it never felt good to play the Hardanger fiddle music in bands, I always ended up thinking “It would be better to do it solo” because the arrangements never felt right. This made me extremely frustrated and sad – I couldn’t play the music I loved with other people… Therefore I decided that I wanted to do something about it and I started GKN5, where we play Hardanger fiddle tunes after Salve Austenå and we arrange it in a way that doesn’t take the core of the tunes away. At least we try to do it, and in my head it finally sounds right! I can even miss my band when I play solo these days.

“Can you tell us a bit about your music, how would you describe it?”

We play Hardanger fiddle tunes after Salve Austenå, and some that I have composed my self – where I’ve tried to compose in the same style. We want to sound like a big Hardanger fiddle – so we try to work after some kind of principle that everything we add should already be in the tune or in my playing somehow. But luckily principles can be broken and we very much do that as well!

“What inspires you when creating music?”

I often get inspired by working very concrete with stuff – so to have different methods to reach a goal musically. For example in GKN5 we work a lot with bowing patterns – so after I’ve taught the band a tune, we will sit together and play only the bowing patterns I do in the tune. First they only play one note and then when they have it we can change notes and see what fits. Suddenly we have a finished accompaniment, or maybe a rhythmic pattern I want to use in another tune!

Guro and her quintet GKN5 play Hardanger fiddle tunes.

“You are selected as one of the participants of Global Music Match, what do you hope to achieve during the 6 weeks of the program?”

We hope to reach out to people we normally wouldn’t reach out to, and also get some more followers on our social media channels. We also hope to learn some more about how social media works and also to get a weekly routine on posting stuff there! Over the last weeks we’ve gotten to know new artists, music and industry professionals, so hopefully it will lead to some interesting work opportunities in the future.

“The program has a focus on export, what are your ambitions as an artist internationally?”

We have played quite a lot in Norway and Sweden so far, but we would love to tour more abroad when times are better again! Ideally we would love to tour for maybe a month a year abroad and with a focus on the Nordic countries. And we would of course love to go further also if anyone would want us there!

“What is the best advice you have ever received?”

“Gi noe som betyr noe – gi faen!”

Don’t really know how to translate this into english – but this saying helps me to keep working and not to care about my own doubts!

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