Folque 2014 Live at John Dee

Folque © Per Ole HagenYesterday night I saw Norway’s best known folk rock band from the 70’s, Folque, live for the first time since the late 70’s. They celebrated the 40th anniversary for the recording of their first and self-itled LP, and according to them, they played their first concert with their original singer for 37 years. (Picture above: Morten Bing and Øyvind Rauset)

Folque © Per Ole Hagen

In the 70’s, many of the best bands in Norway were playing in styles like sympho rock and prog rock (Junipher Greene, Popol Ace, Aunt Mary, Prudence, Ruphus and some others). We also had our share of MOR bands, playing covers of British and American hits, and we had a strong folk movement with artists like Lillebjørn Nilsen, FInn Kalvik, Ole Paus, Jan Eggum, more political artists like Lars Klevstrand and Jon Arne Corell. Folque © Per Ole HagenØyvind Rauset, Alexander Lindbäck and Trond Øverland

The referendum to decide if Norway should become a member of the EEC (now the EU) was held in September 1972, and it led to a left-wing political awakening. Norway had just started on our oil adventure, and the right wing parties, and also part of the social democratic party wanted us to join the union, which at that time first of all was an economical union. The Norwegian people decided to stay outside the union, and this gave a start to a movement rooted in Norwegian values and culture, often combined with socialistic political theory. Folque © Per Ole HagenTrond Øverland and Lars Helljesen

Folque wasn’t a political band in the left-right way of thinking, but they found their repertoire in the traditional Norwegian songs and gave them a modern expression. The traditional fiddlers and singers have kept this tradition alive, and still do, but there is a conservatism there that was quite even stronger in the 70’s, meaning Folque’s approach was quite controversial among them. But the general public liked them a lot, and they had a steady following during the years they were active, from 1973/74-1984. During these years they released seven studio albums and one best of album.

Folque © Per Ole HagenLars Helljesen

Folque anno 2014 consists of founding member Morten Bing (guitar, dulcimer, mandolin), Lisa Ormestad (vocal), who was also a founding member together with Trond Øverland on bass, Lars Helljesen (el. guitar), Lisa’s brother, who started in 1975, Øyvind Rauset (violin) and the newest member, Alexander Lindbäck on drums. During the concert founding member Jørn Jensen and violinist Trond Villa joined the band for the melody Reinlender, the band’s biggest hit. Folque © Per Ole HagenAlexander Lindbäck I could see that the band hadn’t played toghether as a band for some years, and Lisa Ormestad said she hadn’t performed from a stage for 37 years. There is something about the chemistry in a band where all the members have total trust in each other. But nothing wrong with their performance, and they got warmed up as the concert proceeded. Folque © Per Ole HagenØyvind Rauset Lisa still has that strong and clear voice I remember, and Øyvind has always been a very good fiddler. Morten Bing his different string instrument just as professional as he always did. Lars plays regularly in his own hobby band, so he is well suited to being on a stage, and that also goes for drummer Alexander, who plays with his own band, Seven Door Hotel, and also with other bands. I don’t know bassist Trond career after Folque, but he had no problemns doing his part.

The venue was sold out (about 350 people), and consisted of an interesting mix of people who obviously don’t go much out for concerts, but who were fans of the band 35-40 years ago, younger fans who maybe have heard the band’s LPs from their parents, and also some who I see at several concerts and festivals through the year. They alson said that fans from Sweden, Denmark, Russia and Switzerland were present. Folque © Per Ole HagenTrond Øverland, Lisa Ormestad and Lars Helljesen

Since I know several of the members and also have played with a couple of them many years ago, I cant do a review of the concert. But it was great fun seeing them, and I sincerely hope they don’t quit now so I get more chances to see them live. I would really like to see them again with a little less nerves than yesterday. Their songs are good, and they showed that they can still perform them, even if most of them have turned 60! Folque © Per Ole HagenTrond Øverland and Lars Heljesen All pictures are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.

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