“Ervesong” celebrates past and present

A song of heritage


Photos courtesy of Inger-Kristine Riber and Reidun Horvei
A hundred children and young people appeared onstage in Bergen’s historic Håkonshall to perform Inger-Kristine Riber’s “Ervesong.”

The Norwegian American

It was an exhilarating moment when 100 children and young people in the choir Ung i Kor Vest appeared onstage to perform “Ervesong” by composer Inger-Kristine Riber in Bergen’s historic Håkonshall on March 27.

“Ervesong” means songs that are inherited, and the composition is a new work based on old folk tunes and melodies. Many of the tunes had been collected by Reidun Horvei, fylkeskveder for Hordaland/Vestland. As fylkeskveder, Horvei is involved in the preserving of the area’s folk music heritage and sharing it with new generations.

Mari Byrknes, general manager of Ung i Kor Vest, commented on the importance of Horvei’s work: “For many years, soloist Reidun Horvei has collected folk tunes so that we will not forget them. When they are not written down, they fall away.”

But Byrknes also pointed out that with “Ervesong,” Riber and Horvei were doing something new: “Composer Riber has put the folk tunes together in a completely new way,” she said.

Soloist and fylkeskveder Reidun Horvei (left) and composer Inger-Kristine Riber (right) have once again collaborated together on “Ervesong.”

Two of the young choir members, Alida Vedeler-Seland (14) and Martha Nesse Monsen (16), thought it was a lot of fun to be part of “Ervesong.”

“It’s new and different but fun,” said Vedeler-Seland. “The music is pretty cool.”

Monsen agreed. “It is exciting to learn about a new type of music. I have not sung much folk music before,” she said.

The “Ervesong” concert in Håkonshall was scheduled to take place in 2021, but because of the pandemic, it had to be postponed for a year.

“When the restrictions were over, we could finally gather. We had two joint rehearsals beforehand, but the different choirs have rehearsed a lot separately,” said Byrknes.

Riber and Horvei have collaborated on numerous productions, both in Norway and the United States. With pandemic restrictions lifted, plans are underway to tour in North America again, and we look forward to hearing more from them.

A sincere thanks to Ingrid Hjellbakk Kvamstø for her collaboration on this article. 

This article originally appeared in the May 6, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Lori Ann Reinhall

Lori Ann Reinhall, editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, is a multilingual journalist and cultural ambassador based in Seattle. She is the president of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association, and she serves on the boards of several Nordic organizations.