May 16, 2022
Every year before the pandemic, the Bothell Sons of Norway lodge members marched in Seattle's 17th of May Parade, as well as Bothell's Fourth of July Parade. In addition to a Viking ship float and a convertible sports car with the princess waving from the back, is a 7 foot tall, imposing, ugly, but goofy troll. This elaborate costume was created by Mike Nelson and has delighted parade-goers, especially children, for years. Then Carl Stavney was invited to inhabit the troll costume and discovered the magic that the costume imparts.
Join us for the story of how the troll was first envisioned, how it was built, what it's like to skitter back and forth along the parade route to shake hands and give high-fives, and how the Parade Troll has become a beloved part of the Seattle and Bothell parades for over 20 years. Now in 2022, the troll returns.
We finish with a rousing rendition of the Norwegian national anthem, "Ja, Vi Elsker Dette Landet" in honor of Syttende Mai, or Norwegian Constitution Day, on May 17th every year.
April 24, 2022
Don "Jerry" Pugnetti Jr, a long-time journalist, has written a fictional account of a Norwegian man and his compatriots who join the Norwegian Resistance during World War II. Jerry based the book on real stories he collected from his won relatives who were there in the early 1940s, and in the Resistance themselves. In this podcast we interview Jerry about his writing the book and learn about the true events that are mentioned in it. We finish up with a reinlender called "Holingen", played by the Nordahl Grieg Spelemanslag.
April 3, 2022
Elizabeth Person from Everett, Washington designs and creates infographic illustrations that are right at home on your wall or in your hand, to identify the name of a berry bush, a Washington ferry, an apple variety, or a Washington lighthouse. Her sketches of her adopted town capture the beauty and detail in the commonplace. Her maps of islands, nations, and mountain ranges go beyond the USA, but are especially focused on the Pacific Northwest. We like her recipes for Scandinavian-American classics like lefse, krumkake, and kransekake which are as delightful as they are frameable. Join us, as we meet this talented and generous artist, to learn about her passion, her part in the thriving Everett art scene, and her willingness to share how she has become a successful artist and businesswoman. Be sure to visit nordicontap.com to hear more audio from our interview, links to her website, and a video tour of her studio.
March 10, 2022
It is difficult to talk about the indigenous people of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Russian Kola Peninsula without talking about the Sami musician and activist, Mari Boine. Born into a strict religious family, where speaking Sami and expressing oneself by traditional singing or joiking was considered "wrong", Boine struggled with being assimilated as a Norwegian and being ashamed of her heritage. Fortunately, she later embraced her heritage and began combining her joiking with other Western styles like pop, jazz, and rock. She has become extremely popular among the Sami as well as loved by audiences around the world. In her concerts, Boine talks about Sami culture and the struggles of indigenous peoples. Join us for this rare interview with Mari Boine, a behind-the-scenes look at who she is and what matters most to her. We also play a recording of a yoik from a man from Karasjok, Norway.
February 8, 2022
Join me for a tale of adventure with a very unlikely hero - a little tailor who dreams big but has trouble with the reality of dangerous situations. This Grimm Brothers folktale was collected in Denmark in the late 1800s and features hungry giants, a not so friendly unicorn, and a ferocious wild boar. Why do the people he meets think he’s heroic material? How does our hero even survive, let alone succeed? And how do you define success, anyway?
We also hear a hardanger “quartet” with instruments built by Lynn Berg (see our previous podcast) - with the nearly one-of-a-kind hardanger viola and cello. They play the rousing Ulrik Polka….which has a secret song hidden within it. Can you help us figure out what that is?
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January 3, 2022
The hardanger fiddle (hardingfele) is the national folk instrument of Norway. What makes this unique instrument different from a standard violin, in construction and sound? Join me as Lynn Berg, one of the best hardanger fiddle luthiers (violin makers) in the USA, walks us through what it takes to make a fiddle and how he came to be a luthier. Then Rachel Nesvig, the talented and accomplished musician who plays a Berg fiddle, tells us her story in becoming a freelance hardanger fiddler and much more. Rachel plays the tune "Gamle Erik" for us. Other music in this show includes a tune played by Petter Eide of Sandane, Norway, and the opening measures of Grieg's Morning Mood, which was inspired by the hardanger fiddle.
December 9, 2021
Who is that unseen elf that takes care of the animals on the farm? Join me as I interview Dr. Lotta Gavel Adams to understand the origins of the Swedish tomte, learn about Viktor Rydberg's classic poem, and identify the major artists who have contributed to our picture of the tomte. We owe the concept of the jolly American Santa Claus to a Swedish illustrator too. We conclude the show with a 2020 recording of the Gustavus Adolphus College Lucia Singers performing the Sankta Lucia song accompanied by the Christ Chapel organ. A great way to celebrate by candlelight on long and dark winter nights.
November 26, 2021
I met Tove Dahl at a language camp in Norway in 1981. She was the staff troubadour who taught us to sing Norwegian songs and thereby learn Norwegian language and culture. She was a such a people magnet back then, a natural leader, and I wondered what ever happened to this quintessential summer camp "counselor" who we all loved. Forty years later, both she and I grew up, as people do, and I tracked her down in her home in Tromsø, Norway to talk about her long tenure as Dean of the Norwegian language camp Skogfjorden in northern Minnesota. Join me as I learn about her travels, her fascinating research as an educational psychology professir at the University of the Arctic, and how she came to be knighted by the King with the Norwegian Order of Merit in 2009. At the end of the show, Dr. Dahl consents to play and sing (over Zoom) the camp song I learned from her in 1981, now 40 years later: Fideli Bom Bom. Join us and sing along!
November 1, 2021
Come along with us to the world's first open air museum - the Norsk Folkmuseum in Oslo! We interview Inger Jensen and Siv Ringdal, both first curators at the museum about the oldest buildings, such as the Gol Stave Church from the 1200s, as well as more contemporary history in farm buildings of the 1950s, a Trekking Association (DNT) hytte, and an apartment building from downtown Oslo. Living history museums are relevant and important to us today. Listen to this podcast to learn why.
September 18, 2021
Have you struggled at home with recipes for Nordic dishes or in creating Scandinavian Christmas cookies like krumkake? I sure have. In this program I interview Kristi Bissell of the True North Kitchen Blog, whose recipes are found in the Taste of Norway section of the Norwegian American News, and who teaches cooking in the Folk Art School at the Vesterheim Museum. We explore how preparing "ethnic" food teaches you about a culture, then about Kristi's journey to become a chef and food blogger, creating "simple, seasonal, Nordic-inspired recipes tailored especially for the American home cook".
After finishing and posting this podcast, I thought back about my own six-year search for a reliable krumkake recipe - six years of humiliation making limp, greasy krumkake that wouldn't stay rolled. Then I found yet another recipe in a newspaper last year that I'd not tried - I had nothing to loose in trying one more time. And finally, for the first time, I made crisp, nutty, and crunchy krumkake. My reputation as a Scandinavian-American was saved!
In looking at my recipe card after completing this podcast, I found my notation: "This is a winner!!", followed by, in my tiny writing, "a recipe from Kristi Bissell of Nebraska". So I can personally attest that Kristi can teach even me to reliably make this challenging cookie. She's for real! Check out her blog at true-north-kitchen.com.