Nordic Music Fest To Blow Into Minneapolis

Annbjørg Lien, Hoven Droven, Garmarna and Väsen are among artists slated to perform.

Norwegian fiddle virtuoso and cover model Annbjørg Lien will headline the second annual NorthSide Festival of "new Nordic music," scheduled for April 19–23 in Minneapolis.

In addition to the striking 27-year-old multi-instrumentalist, the festival lineup features an eclectic mix of performers who reflect the diversity of musical cultures throughout Scandinavia. But according to Rob Simonds, president of event co-sponsor NorthSide Records, a trait they share helps account for the relatively small shadow cast by Nordic artists in modern world music.

"The cultural psychology of these artists does not particularly lend itself to self-promotion," Simonds said. "Most of the success of any of the Nordic bands can almost always be traced to somebody who's not of Nordic heritage. Värttinä's manager, for example, is an expatriate American who lives in Helsinki."

Thirteen acts will be featured at the festival. They range in style from Bäsk, who play traditional Swedish songs arranged for fiddle, saxophone and flute, to Hoven Droven, who present similar material with rock instrumentation. Other performers include Garmarna, who explore Swedish vocal techniques in a high-tech electronic setting, and the acoustic instrumental ensemble Väsen, who have been featured frequently on National Public Radio's "A Prairie Home Companion."

Tickets may be ordered through Web sites for NorthSide ( or event co-sponsor the Cedar Cultural Centre (, or by calling (612) 338-2674.