Ola Grihamar - hardingfele
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Ola Grihamar
Hardingfele (Ta:lik, Norway)

Historic recordings by Norwegian hardangar fiddler Ola Grihamar (1910 - 1978).

Excellent historical and musicial notes in Norwegian and English


About the artist
Ola had an early interest in folk music and began to play at the age of 13. There was a living folk music milieu in the neighboring area, with many fiddlers who could teach him. Among those most available were Lars Svien, Ola og Andris Skogstad, and Arnfinn Hermundstad. Boye Skeie was a teacher in Øye for many years and a good fiddle player. He was also Ola Grihamar’s master teacher for many years. One of Boye Skeie’s fiddle teachers was Kristoffer Dæhli, who was a hotel manager at Bygdisheim. Boye Skeie was also influenced by Hallingdal fiddling. He had an excellent fiddling style, and Ola learned much from it.

Ola had many other master teachers, from Valdres as well as other places. When he was 14, he heard Ivar Ringestad play at Ola and Maria Skogstad’s wedding. This made a deep impression on him. Later he learned many tunes from Ivar Ringestad, which he interpreted very well and in his personal fashion. Ola also learned a great deal from Johan Henrik Kvam, son of the great fiddler Trond Eltun. Johan Henrik was one of the last who knew the bonde dance (the Valdres form of gangar) very well and could play many bonde tunes. In addition, Ola learned many listening tunes from Johan Henrik Kvam. After a while Olav Moe came into the picture. The tune probably most associated with Ola Grihamar’s playing, “St. Thomasklukkelåtten,” he learned from Olav Moe. He also learned many springars from him, including “Firefingslåtten,” a technically difficult springar in the tradition of Ola i Hamrisbrøto, from Vestre Slidre. But Ola had a large sphere of influence.

In Lærdal there was only one well-know fiddler during Ola’s lifetime, Jen Frydenlund. Ola learned the two Hulebakk tunes from him. They are associated with the saga about Hulebakken, who lived in the mountains between Valdres og Hemsedal. No other fiddlers in Valdres played these fine listening tunes. Ola heard much Telemark music as a matter of course and was together with the Løndal brothers, among others. Voss wasn’t far away either, and Ola had contact with both Sigbjørn Bernhoft Osa and Lars Skjervheim. Ola had a much larger network of contacts than mentioned here, and he found inspiration in many places, but nevertheless the old Valdres tradition was his trademark.

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