Lords of the Fjords delivers the chords

Lords of the Fjords

Photo courtesy of Lords of the Fjords
The duo of Jef Lestingi (left) and Michael T. Nelson named themselves in honor of their heritage.

Victoria Hofmo
Brooklyn, N.Y.

While walking around my neighborhood of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, I came across a flyer for a performance by Lords of the Fjords. Of course I was curious, being of Scandinavian extraction. They also had a cool logo composed of Viking elements: a shield, intertwined dragons, and a helmet.

My community used to be filled with Norwegians. But now locals are a very mixed bag, tracing our roots from Afghanistan to Argentina. So, being Norwegian has become almost like a secret club. I have to admit, I’m always surprised to find out how many folks will reveal that they’re half, a quarter, an eighth Norwegian (I’m three-quarters, myself).

So I was happy to finally experience Lords of the Fjords on a Friday evening this fall at PC’s Bar & Grill. They did not disappoint. The audience was treated to an upbeat yet mellow evening with acoustic duo Michael T. Nelson and Jef Lestingi, with many singing along to favorites. This pair is talented at creating a balanced sound where the vocals can actually be heard and appreciated.

I wanted to learn more, so I reached out to Nelson.

Victoria Hofmo: How did you come up with the name Lords of the Fjords?

Michael T. Nelson: We are both of Norwegian descent and we thought of the fjords and rhymed it with lords.

VH: Who designed your cool logo?

MTN: The logo was designed by my great friend Alfred Accettura, who is a great artist and also designed my Odin tattoo. Al and Jess are also in a band called the Al Boulder and the Rockers. Great stuff.

VH: How did you get interested in music?

MTN: Both my parents got me into music. My dad raised me on ’50s doo-wop, and my mom had me listening to The Kingston Trio and Irish Rovers. Jef and I have both been with original bands before.

VH: You play a lot of popular cover songs. Do you compose original music as well? If so, can you speak about that?

MTN: Jef is a legitimate singer/songwriter. I have written lyrics, but I cannot read or write music. I would give the band the cadence of what I was hearing for the music and they did the rest.

VH: Do you have any upcoming performances? When and where are they?

MTN: We are proud to be the house band at The Lock Yard [9225 Fifth Ave, Brooklyn, NY]. We are there every third Friday of the month.

To learn more, follow Lords of the Fjords on Facebook.

This article originally appeared in the November 30, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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Victoria Hofmo

Victoria Hofmo was born, raised, and still lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, the historical heart of Norwegian New York. She is 3/4 Scandinavian: 1/2 Norwegian and 1/4 Danish/Swedish. Self-employed, she runs an out-of-school-time program that articulates learning through the arts. Hofmo is an advocate for arts and culture, education, and the preservation of the built and natural environment of her hometown, with a love for most things Scandinavian.