A Brief Overview

Osterøy Spel- og Dansarlag (Osterøy Fiddle and Dance) was founded in 1976.  Through this group, many children throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s began playing the Norwegian hardanger fiddle, thanks to eminent fiddle teacher Jon Jelmert (1953-2013).  All of the fiddlers on the troupe’s debut album have been Jon Jelmert’s students.  In addition, troupe members also dance, sing and play accordion, guitar and bass.

As more people started playing hardanger fiddle, dance activities increased.  Troupe members Geir and Jartru Reigstad are highly respected dancers and teachers of the region’s local dance traditions. 

At present, Osteroy Spel- og Dansarlag is one of the largest folk music groups per capita in Norway.  When compared to similar folklore groups, one also discovers that youth membership is very high.

Over the years, the troupe has performed extensively, as well as arranged several local folk music concerts, festivals and contests.

Troupe members consider themselves fortunate to be located close to the City of Bergen, Norway’s second largest city.  It is here that they have been able to have some of Norway’s top musicians come to Osterøy to teach hardanger fiddling.  At the Norwegian National Fiddle Championships (known as the “Landskappleiken”) each June, some of the troupe members have placed highly and sometimes have won various classes.  Troupe members who play button accordion have also won prizes at the Norwegian Traditional Dance Music Championships (known as Landsfestivalen), which takes place each July.

Osteroy Spel- og Dansarlag has two album releases to its credit:

Spikjespel (April 2003):  The album title comes from the words “spikje” meaning wild, and “spel” meaning playing.  This recording consists of traditional and original hardanger fiddle selections, along with folk singing and accordion music. 

FelaLiv (May 2012): The album title comes from the words "Fela" meaning fiddle, and liv meaning "life". This album consists of arrangements of traditional hardanger fiddle tunes created by the troupe with piano and harpsichord accompaniment on selected tunes. A modern classical work for hardanger titled "Huldresong" is also included on the album. This selection was composed by Marcus Davidson of London, England.