Scandinavian musicians bring folk music and dance to Kodiak

(left to right) Char Bostrom, Art Bjorngjeld, and Bruce Bostrom. (Photo by Kayla Desroches / KMXT)

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

A group of musicians flew into Kodiak for the Scandinavian festival this week. They stopped by the station to chat about their music.


Bruce Bostrom opens a shoe box and takes out a number of small metal mouth harps, also called munnharpe in Norwegian.

“They’re all over the world. This one’s made of bamboo. And this is a standard metal European one. This one’s made in Norway.”

There are other instruments in the room. Char Bostrom plays the fiddle and Art Bjorngjeld plays the accordion.

The group is based in Minnesota and Bjorngjeld says they’ve been playing together since the early 90s.

“We’re Scandinavian folk dance musicians. We play a lot of what’s called gammeldans, which means old dance, and that’s music that became popular in the 1800s. Waltz, polka, and schottische.”

Bjorngjeld says music and dancing was a big part of life in Scandinavian countries, and the music reflected the environment.

“Like Alaska, you have the dark season and you have times of a lot of sunlight when you don’t want to hardly go to bed, and so there can be very dark music, Scandinavian music, but there can just be happy, lively music that makes your feet want to move.”

And singing is a big deal. Char Bostrom says there’s a song for everything.

“For presentation of a steak, for presenting gifts, for weddings, marches, walking to a party even.”

The group will be in Kodiak until early next week and will perform at events throughout the Scandinavian festival.

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