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.
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!
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.
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.
The Sami, formerly called Lapps, live in the far north of Norway, Sweden, and Finland in a land where the sun never sets. Storytelling has a strong tradition among the Sami, with tales that are a little different from other Nordic folktales. Join us as we read story translations from the first collectors, J. A. Friis and J. K. Qvigstad, and from ethnographer Emilie Demant Hatt. We read from the 2019 translation of Demant Hatt's "By the Fire: Sami Folktales and Legends" (translated by Barbara Sjoholm).
We also hear Nick Ericson of The Six Feet Back Band playing "The Dwight Lamb Polka" on his button accordion.
Join us for the unusual stories about reindeer, sheep, Stallo the troll, and a shaman!
Sven Lindauer is an accomplished historical artist who worked for National Geographic and museums. Now Lindauer has set his artistic eye on the Norse of the Viking Age -- the non-Viking Vikings" who weren't the warriors, but the farmers, blacksmiths, Skaldic poets, musicians, sail-makers, among others. He published The Art and Crafts of Ancient Scandinavia in 2020 with scenes of everyday life and explanations of these scenes. Join me as I interview Mr. Lindauer about his career as an artist, his historical research, and the 7 year journey to these historically-accurate and fascinating scenes of ancient Scandinavia.
In this Winter Solstice/Christmas podcast we hear two stories and an interview about "trees" - the krumkake, the noble fir, and the lingonberry. That is, the challenge of making a functional krumkake, the odyssey of cutting our own ragged Christmas tree, and a special on-site interview with Pacific Northwest lingonberry farmer, Leslie Lindskog. We also investigate the origins of the beautiful Ave Marias of Bach/Gounod and Franz Schubert. Join us!
The centerpiece of every farm in Norway was always the storehouse, or stabbur. The food stored during summer and fall in this humble log and stave building was what got people through the long, cold winters every year. They were built so well, many are still standing 300 years later. Join us as we l hear the story from a man who built his own version in the mountains of Montana, and learned to carve the portals just like the stave churches of old. We also hear a song played by the Nordahl Grieg Spelemannslag.
Our first folktale podcast was so popular, we thought we’d bring you another! This time we hear a tale from Finland called The Mighty Mikko, and my son Carl Stavney is the featured guest reading the classic Norwegian folktale, The Lad Who Went to the Northwind. We also bring you a lovely accordion, mandolin, and guitar piece by the Folk Voice Band out of the Seattle Area. So take a load off and listen to some storytelling and Finnish music from old Scandinavia.
In the early 1900s, there were hundreds of Scandinavian immigrant newspapers. Meet Lori Ann Reinhall, the Editor of the last remaining Norwegian newspaper in the USA, the Norwegian American. You'll hear how this amazing and talented woman keeps this excellent paper alive in a time of quarantine, unemployment, decreased popularity of print media, the "noise" of the internet, and biased opinions and interpretations masquerading as "news". She affirms the importance of bringing people together as a community rather than seeking to divide them. We'll also hear cuts from Lori Ann's CD, Duo Scandinavica, featuring songs that were favorites of immigrants in the early 1900s.