Andrea Hoag, Loretta Kelly and Charlie Pilzer’s Hambo in the Barn

UnknownBack in the twentieth century, a lot of Scandinavians relocated from Sweden and the surrounding countries to the upper Midwest where they became farmers and shopkeepers for the most part.  Naturally they brought both their instruments and their music with them. Not surprisingly, this music has persisted to this day which is why this lovely CD exists.

Every tune here is either trad. Swedish or written by composers whose identity is known to this day which is remarkable given how fast a tune can be thought of his trad. arranged! There’s even a story of how ‘Music for a Found Harmonium’ written by Simon Jeffes of Penguin Cafe Orchestra found its way into the repertoire of Irish sessions within a few years of its being recorded.

Hambo in the Barn is a companion recording of sorts to  Hambo in the Snow. Which rather obviously is one the intended to be Winter music. So what do we have here? Well a plentitude of great dance music provided you like waltzes which are what hambos are akin to.

The hambo is in the gammaldans (old-time dance) tradition that actually developed fairly recently around the beginning of the 20th century. Hambos which are dances in 3/4 time also popular in North America in the social clubs formed by immigrant Swedes and much more recent at contradances. Many social waltz groups include the hambo among their regular dances.

Charlie Pilzer (Bass, piano and accordion) plays with fiddlers Andrea Hoag and Loretta Kelley on a recording of sixteen hambos, two waltzes, a snoa and two schottisches. With the added playing of Frank Brown on guitar and Larry Robinson on mandola  <em>Hambo in the Barn</em> includes fast and slow, major and minor, solo and ensemble pieces suitable for dancing, tune learning or just listening.

It’s not really music that you’d listen to as a primary undertaking but rather as music to put on while you’re cleaning, cooking or perhaps reading. It is, for those tasks, quite wonderful.

(Azalea, 1996)


I'm the publisher of Green Man Review and Sleeping Hedgehog. My current reading is the Wylding Hall novella by Elizabeth Hand, Simon R. Green’s Night Fall, and listening to Rita Mae Brown’s Crazy As A Fox. I'm listening to a whole bunch of new Celtic and Nordic new releases but I'll dip in my music collection for such artists as Blowzabella, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, and Frifot as the weather stays nasty.

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