Sondre Bratland

 

No one else has the ability to merge Norwegian folk music with country as Sondre Bratland does in such a credible way. He has collected material and impulses from such widely different places as the country of Telemark in Norway, Himalayan Bhutan, Pakistan, Ireland and America.

Over the last 30 years Sondre Bratland has proven to be the most important folk singer in Norway. He has collected material, taught, given concerts and released records: 13 solo albums and appearing on 25 others. His record company all these years has been KKV. The church is the most important arena for Sondre Bratland, and he has given concerts in more than 600 churches from Lindesnes in the south of Norway to Finnmark in the north. But he is just as comfortable singing in jazz clubs, culture centres and at festivals.

Religious folk songs are Sondre Bratland's specialty, but his expression also spans from the old Norwegian "kvedar" tradition (unaccompanied performance of four-line poems, words and melodies often from medieval times) to country. He has helped to break down the boundaries between music genres, and in this way he has made Norwegian folk songs accessible to a larger audience.

With the organist Iver Kleive he has created a new genre in Norwegian hymns, and together with the conductor Grete Pedersen and the Oslo Chamber Choir he has created new song expressions in the Norwegian choir tradition. He has also worked with the Pakistani artist Javed Bashir, using song to enhance the dialogue between Muslims and Christians.

 

Sondre Bratland has written melodies to texts by Norwegian poets and writers Olav H. Hauge, Tarjei Vesaas and Olav Mosdøl, and he has also written lyrics to Irish folk melodies and translated lyrics by Hank Williams.

In the autumn of 1996 he played the lead role in “Juleevangeliet” (The Christmas Gospel), a play performed at “Det Norske Teateret” (the Norwegian Theatre).

In addition to concerts in Norway he has also sung in Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, the Faeroe Islands, Belgium, Germany, the US, Palestine, Pakistan and Bhutan.

In 1982 he received the musician’s “Spellemannsprisen” award for “Pilegrimens Sangbog” (Pilgrim's Songbook). In 1986 he was awarded Vinje local authority's culture prize.

From 1997 he has been a Government fellow.

In 2003 he was awarded the Telemark county authority's culture prize.

In 2007 he was awarded a prize by “Folkelarm” (What’s On) for the album Dialogue with Javed Bashir.