In 2004, American folk music magazine Sing Out! published a review on Frigg’s debut album and dubbed them as the “second coming of JPP”. The comparison referred to the legendary Finnish group that had carried the torch of the Nordic string bands for two decades at the time. In 2012, after multiple tours and festival dates in Europe, North America and Asia alike, Frigg have established themselves as the leading act on the scene.
Featuring the premier talents of the young generation folk musicians in Finland and Norway, Frigg has developed a musical blend of their own. It has been called Nordgrass, which can be read as a word combination of their main influences Nordic folk and American bluegrass, or as a reminder of their straight grassroots attitude for making music. Energy, fun, humour, and interaction are Frigg’s most important virtues on any gig.
And still, having finished five successful albums with several nominations for the best folk music albums of the year and ‘Top of the World’ appearances on Songlines magazine, the joy of performing live and giving the audience an energizing experience is what Frigg enjoy the most. They have six extensive tours in the US and Canada under their belt and keep going there every year. In Europe, they have toured both in shady clubs and bright concert halls as well as appeared on prestigious art festivals such as Austria’s Glatt und Verkehrt.
Although Frigg has gained a solid reputation on the global world music community, these musicians draw their strength first and foremost from the folk music heritage of their own homelands. Nature itself has shaped these age-old traditions that evolved by fjords and rivers, forests and fields. In Finland, the fiddling tradition is alive and well in Kaustinen, a tiny municipality consisted of a string of villages that have given shelter to many a folk musician during the past centuries. One of those villages, Järvelä, gives its name for the most renowned fiddling family of the country. Frigg features no less than three Järveläs, the frontman Antti and his cousins Alina and Esko, who have learnt the tradition first hand from the late Johannes Järvelä (1905-1992) as well as other relatives.
The Norwegian member of Frigg, for his part, hail from the village of Verdal. Einar Olav Larsen master the Hardanger fiddle, which produces a characteristically full-flavoured sound with resonating strings and strong overtones but primarily in Frigg Einar Olav holds back with ordinary violin. His brother Gjermund Larsen was one of the original members of Frigg but band getting busier he stepped aside concentrating on his studies, solo career and family. During their childhood years, Larsens regularly visited older fiddlers of the region with their father. There were especially many visits to the home of Hilmar Alexandersen (1903–1993).
Frigg performs mainly original tunes written by the group, while the core of the traditional folk tunes repertoire remains in their program. Frigg’s line-up is not restricted solely to fiddles, and many of the members are actually multi-instrumentalists. The distinctive sound of the front-row fiddles and the upright bass are complimented by cittern, mandolin, bagpipes and Jew’s harp (Petri Prauda) as well as guitar and dobro (Tuomas Logrén).
The living traditions aside, the second cornerstone of Frigg’s music is innovation. All the musicians of the septet have studied in top-notch music universities like the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki or the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. The folk music departments in these institutions encourage their students to compose, arrange and produce music that goes far beyond the conventional limits. Frigg has embraced this adventurous and open-minded attitude absorbing melodies and rhythms from various world music styles such as Americana, Celtic and Balkan, among others.