Sunday, 15 January 2012

Norwegian Grammy for best country CD goes to bluegrass band

Dagfinn M. Pedersen reports that the Norwegian Grammy (Spellemannspris) for the best country CD in 2011 has been awarded to Onkel Tuka (photo above):

Yesterday was the big night for celebrating the Norwegian music industry. There were three nominees in the country class, and two of them are well known bluegrass bands.

Onkel Tuka from Halden sing in Norwegian and write much of their own material. They released their first CD in 1999, Geriljagress, a rocking experience more than bluegrass. In 2006 they started on a trilogy 'about God, Death, and Love', and then it took off. Their first trilogy CD, the one about God, was called Geriljagospel and recorded with a full bluegrass sound. It was released in 2006 and included translations of some of bluegrass's most beloved gospel standards. It was a great success and they toured churches and prayer houses all over Norway. In 2008 came their 'Death' CD, called Hotell Helmann, also to great reviews. Their last effort, the 'Love' CD that earned them a Grammy award for 2011, was named Hvit honning - 'White honey'.

Onkel Tuka can be seen at the Risør Bluegrass Festival almost every year and they are one of the most popular bands we have. Their front man, Haakon Ohlgren, is a true entertainer who makes the band an audience favorite. Their banjo player, Rino Silden, is a relative newcomer on the bluegrass scene but he plays like Earl Scruggs and Béla Fleck built into one. Their next project is a children's CD, hopefully before the 2012 festival. We know it will be something special. On their festival concerts they often have the stage full of children to be part of the fun.

Earlybird Stringband, the '#2 European Bluegrass Band' at EWOB in 2010 and 2011, and the most popular Norwegian band at the Risør Bluegrass Festival according to the audience votes, was the other bluegrass band nominated for the Grammy. To top it off, musicians in the third band, Ni Liv, have been known to play in a bluegrass band at the Risør festival a few years back. The bluegrass bands are certainly putting their mark on the country scene in Norway these days.