Award Winning Danish Trio

Item Posted: Tuesday 27th October, 2009

Habbadam, a trio from Sweden and Demark are soon to perform in Argyll, with a unique sound of guitar, fiddle and soprano sax.

Their first trip to Scotland was at the Edinburgh Fiddle Festival last year. Box and Fiddle in their review of the weekend said: ‘A great find for me was ‘Habbadam’, a trio of fiddle, soprano sax and guitar, who recently won the Danish Folk Music Debut of the Year. A unique blend of old and new, this young group had a stage presence well beyond their years, and could well trigger an interest in a style of playing not well known on these shores.’ FRoots said of their concert of music from the small island of Bornholm: ‘perhaps the greatest joy is in hearing a young generation work to not only keep this music alive, but reinvigorate it; everything here is as vibrant as if it has just been written. The combination of fiddle, guitar and sopranosax gives the tradition and bite and a swing rarely expected of traditional music.’ This was followed up by a trip to the Fruit Market at Celtic Connections by Ditte Mortensen, their fiddler, who fronted the hugely successful Sequins concert: ‘Little did all concerned realise they would receive two standing ovations and demands for repeat performances.’

This trio from Sweden and Denmark are a great example of the way in which young, fearless musicians are driving folk music forward. Playing tunes from the Baltic island of Bornholm, the harmonies are as reminiscent of the music of Scottish northern islands as they are of Scandinavian influences. The unusual combination of guitar, fiddle and soprano sax creates a sound that is completely unique, and they make the most of the different instruments' tonal ranges whilst resisting any temptation to stray into contrived jazz/folk fusion territory - they are superb

The American musician Tim O´Brien said about their first album: "With capable hands and voices, pristine production, and essential heart and soul, this exciting new trio brings the tunes and songs of the Danish Island of Bornholm to life. I've never been to Bornholm, but hearing Habbadám, I'm tempted to visit soon."

The young trio Habbadám plays music from the little picturesque island of Bornholm, situated in the Baltic Sea, where a large treasure of traditional tunes can be found. The trio have searched through the many archives and museums to find their great repertoire of tunes, and the results are sweet and melancholic as well as rhythmic and swingy. Strong connections can be made to both Scandinavian, Baltic, English and Celtic music.
"The balance between the three instruments was fascinating, resulting in so many different sound-pictures in their playing. Not for one second was there any musical vacuum in the experience. An impressive presentation - sheer brilliance!" (Review Tidende Festival)

Ditte Mortensen, on violin, grew up on the island of Bornholm, studied music at the Irish World Music Centre in Limerick and the Carl Nielsen Academy in Denmark, where she has just finished her Masters degree. Ditte has performed extensively all over the world with different line ups. Her 2004 first solo album “Anything Strange?” which received great acclaim. Ditte performed as a solo act at the Tønder Festival in 2005. Hanna Wiskari (sopransax) grew up on the Swedish west coast. She studied at Göteborg and the Royal Swedish Academy in Stockholm. Hanna is considered of Sweden’s most talented young musicians and in 2006 she received the Bror Hjort bursary “for technical brilliance and committed playing on the soprano saxophone, with an outstanding mix of preservation of cultural traditions and innovation”. In spite of his young age, Sigurd Hockings (guitar), already has wide experience working with different Nordic styles and lived for some years in the north of Sweden, and is a student at the Carl Nielsen Academy in Odense – the first guitarist ever to be accepted on the course.

Although each member has a surpisingly wide cv for their age, it is as a trio that they are really making their name. The turning point came in 2006 when their cd ’Folkmusic from Bornholm’ won a Danish Music Award for best debut album of the year. Reviewers such as Folkworld noted the cd of ‘a trio which performs ensemble immaculately with great attention to musical detail, and has an exceptional amount of technical baggage and musical maturity.’ Chris Newman commented ‘A delightful recording by three extremely talented young Scandinavian musicians. I'd never heard much about the music of the Baltic island of Bornholm , but this recording guarantees it'll be heard by a much wider audience in the future. Its fabulous stuff!’

Habbadám will perform at Tayvallich Village Hall on Saturday 14th November at 7.30 p.m., and at a Sunday afternoon concert at Strachur Memorial Hall on Sunday 15th November at 3.00 p.m.
More information at

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