Lotusfest Features Finnish Folk Collective Frigg
No stranger to the sights and sounds of Bloomington’s Lotus Festival, the Finnish folk group Frigg made a notable mark on the weekend-long event’s musical lineup. The lone Scandinavian representatives on stage Friday and Saturday, Frigg’s members – now on their fourth trip to Bloomington – took to the surrounding diversity with aplomb. “The atmosphere,” bandleader Antti Jarvela told Bloomington’sHerald-Times, “is something special.” Frigg’s comfort with its surroundings came through in its music, but also in Jarvela’s stage banter and the band’s signature encore, where community members who had taken part in a workshop with the band were invited on stage to play a final song with Frigg.
While this isn’t something that Frigg does at all of its concerts, Jarvela noted that “We try to make that happen whenever possible.” All of Frigg’s members are also music teachers, and they are always interested in engaging young people with music. In Bloomington, Jarvela said, things came together very smoothly. “I suggested that we try to put together a workshop,” he recalls, an idea that was quickly taken up by the Lotus Festival organizers: “They made it happen in Bloomington.”
With roots going back generations into the fjords and fiddle-playing heartland of Finland, Frigg released its first album in 2002. Although band members Alina, Esko, and Antti can all claim the heritage of the very same Finnish fiddlers – Mauno Jarvela, Johannes Jarvela , Antti Jarvela, and others – the band itself has from the beginning been a pan-Scandinavian endeavor, a fact reflected in its choice of name. Frigg was the Norse goddess of love and fertility, and Odin’s wife – and a symbol of shared history and culture across the cold northern countries of Scandinavia. With current band members from Finland, Norway, England and more, it may be easy to see how Frigg has grown so comfortable in mixed and diverse settings.
Or perhaps it’s the simple beauty of Frigg’s four fiddles at work. It’s hard to imagine an audience, no matter where or made up of how many diverse spectators, who would react to Frigg with anything other than a smile.
Frigg performed in Bloomington on Friday, September 23 and Saturday, September 24, as part of the Lotus World Music & Arts Festival, sponsored in part by IAUNRC. They’ve since moved on with their American tour, but can be caught in Minneapolis on September 28 and Crystal Falls, Michigan on October 2.