Danish Folk Music on the Big Festival Stages

By Søren Jensen Lund |

In the coming weekend nine-piece band Habadekuk will be in the UK to play at legendary Glastonbury Festival. Next week the trio Dreamers’ Circus are to play at Roskilde Festival. Danish folk music has definitely secured footholds at Europe’s biggest festivals.

Polkas, waltzes and other Danish dance tunes make up the core of Habadekuk. Kristian Bugge has long explored the Danish fiddler traditions, and with Habadekuk the violinist has succeeded in getting these out to an audience who don’t show up at the small venues or the local folk music balls

The inspiration is La Bottine Souriante from Quebec, who spiced up their French-Canadian melodies and songs with funky wind and intense rhythms. Habadekuk consists of people from very diverse music circles and from very different points of departure they have homed in on a compact sound that the great abroad has been fascinated by for quite a long time.

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Habadekuk has played a number of European and Canadian festivals steeped in tradition– such as Cambridge Folk Festival. The concert at Glastonbury this weekend will be a new high for the orchestra. Only a handful of Danish bands have played at the festival before, and a gig there must be considered a serious seal of approval.

Dreamers’ Circus took the Danish folk music scene by storm when the trio released their debut EP back in 2010. The trio started the year before that when violinist Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen had invited the Swedish cittern player Ale Carr and pianist and accordionist Nikolaj Busk on stage together with Copenhagen Philharmonics to play a folk music rendition of Mozart’s Violin Concerto no. 5.

With his classical training Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen and the rest of Dreamers’ Circus have continued the collaboration with Copenhagen Philharmonics since then on the project 60 Minutes, where Kristian Leth (The William Blakes) was on the team as creative entrepreneur. Dreamers’ Circus have also featured as guest stars at concerts with The William Blakes, Folkeklubben, etc.

In 2013 Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen received the Crown Prince Couple’s “Stjernedryspris” (Stardust Award) and in that connection Dreamers’ Circus played at the Sidney Opera House as part of an event which was broadcasted live on both national Danish and Australian TV.

Dreamers’ Circus are not like most bands you get to see at Roskilde Festival. The sound is acoustic and experimental with a distinct Nordic folk music tone, but with intense build-ups and occasional fierce passages there is a lot more rock’n’roll to Dreamers’ Circus than you would normally expect from a folk music trio.

Habadekuk – Avalon Stage, Glastonbury Festival, Saturday 27th June.

Dreamers’ Circus – Gloria, Roskilde Festival, Thursday 2nd June.

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