Local fiddler Tatiana Hargreaves will be Väsen’s special guest.
The Swedish word Väsen has three meanings — essence, spirit, and hullabaloo — making it the perfect name for a band that is part Nordic tradition and part whirling dervish. To its roots in the musical traditions of Uppland, Sweden, Väsen brings playfulness and vitality, transforming venerable polskas and marches into modern groove masterpieces, yet retaining the consummate playing skills and ageless appeal of the best traditional music.
Väsen’s unique sound showcases the playing of Olov Johansson, a virtuoso of the nykelharpa, a bowed, 16-string instrument related to both the hurdy-gurdy and the fiddle, along with violist Mikael Marin and guitarist Roger Tallroth, in a ensemble that swings through dense, sinuous arrangements with amazing intensity and deft interplay, on stage and on albums like their recent Väsen Street.
Public radio’s All Things Considered said of the group, “The absurdly broad term ‘world music’ is rendered useless in the face of these musicians who play with such passion and glee that everything on the globe seems to disappear except their hometown fires. This is ‘local music’ in the best sense of the word—believable, human-scaled, and fluent in the international language of musical interplay.” As one member of Väsen put it more succinctly: “We can promise you one thing. You never know quite what’s going to happen.”