Surprised by the tremendously enthusiastic response of American audiences, they sold out of cd's within weeks of their 1st U.S. tour in 2002. Encouraged, and well-prepared, they returned to a rapidly expanding fan base for more rewarding concerts (including some sell outs) in 2003 & 2004. The tours confirmed that BjÃ¤rv has a place in the hearts (and ears) of American audiences.
On fiddle is the charismatic unofficial frontman, 25 year-old Olof GÃ¶thlin. From the deep forests of VÃ¤rmland, Olof was already a skilled violin player by the age of six. While a former member of two acclaimed groups: "Gorm", playing jazz-flavored Swedish folk music; and the jazz group "Fyffes Bananer", Olof began to hone the performance skills that have allowed him to become the centerpiece of BjÃ¤rv - that, and the fact that he stands in the middle during shows. Olof says that "playing traditional Swedish music is like opening a window into the joyful souls of the Swedish people." Watching him play, one would certainly have to agree!
30 year-old Mikael GrafstrÃ¶m provides both the hypnotic rhythm and the artistic nuance with his beautifully fluid guitar playing. Raised in a musical family in Ã…ngermanland, he grew up playing different styles of music, from modern blues and rock, to the old traditional Swedish tunes and then studied with the best artists in the traditional field. Mikael is an outstandingly brilliant guitarist, and his contribution provides the solid backbone that is the heartbeat of the band. His precise, deftly executed, joyful performance leaves almost no listener untouched.
The youngest member at 23, on the attention-stealing, hauntingly beautiful nyckelharpa, is Ben Lagerberg-Teitelbaum, the American Swede. A natural musician from the foothills of Colorado, Ben was well-known to the Denver bluegrass community for his skill on banjo, guitar, mandolin and fiddle before deciding to make the nyckelharpa his life's instrument. After being awarded Sweden's Eric SahlstrÃ¶m scholarship in 2000, Ben was invited to attend the music academy, where he met Olof and Mikael and BjÃ¤rv was born. Now attending college in Lindstrom KS, Ben traces his Swedish ancestry back to the provinces of VÃ¤stergÃ¶tland and VÃ¤rmland.
BjÃ¤rv's U.S. tours, notably 2003's World Music Festival in Grass Valley, were highly acclaimed. Folks of all ages rushed to meet them after every performance, lining up to talk to the charming personable trio, ask about Sweden and check out Ben's Nyckelharpa. World Fest proved to be one of the high points of 2003's U.S. tour, exposing them to a discriminating audience used to hearing exceptional performances. BjÃ¤rv proved themselves worthy of the audience's attention, as the unknowns delivered musical magic, attracting initial attention with their passionate musicianship, and holding it with their Swedish charm, gorgeous vocal arrangements and captivating stage presence. Trained at Sweden's prestigious Eric SahlstrÃ¶m Institute, some say the three are considered to be among the finest young Swedish folk musicians on guitar, fiddle and nyckelharpa, the national instrument of Sweden.
1. Vi Ã¤r BanabrÃ¶der Alla (trad)
2. Inte SÃ¶rjer Jag (trad)
3. Gangar (Olof GÃ¶thlin)
4. Polska FrÃ¥n Dalsland (trad)
5. Hej Hus Kom Ihej (trad)
6. Polska PÃ¥ G (Mikael GrafstrÃ¶m)
7. GÃ¥nglÃ¥t FrÃ¥n BohuslÃ¤n/Marschen (trad)
8. Vore Du Ett Blad (trad)
9. Springlek Till M (Olof GÃ¶thlin/Mikael GrafstrÃ¶m)
10. Spel-Annas Polska (trad)
11. Schottis FrÃ¥n VÃ¤rmland (trad)
12. Vi Ska Ut Ã¥ GÃ¥ (trad)
13. Hurv (trad)