Mandolin Uff Da! Let's Dance: Scandinavian Fiddle Tunes & House Party Music by Dix Bruce
|"Mandolin Uff Da! Let's Dance: Scandinavian Fiddle Tunes & House Party Music" by Dix Bruce. 68 pages with CD ($20.99) or audio download ($19.99)
A fun collection of old-time Scandinavian dance tunes arranged for the mandolin. Great for dancing or listening and a perfect repertoire builder. The audio contains all 28 tunes in the book at slow and regular speeds. Includes a mandolin chord dictionary. Written in standard notation and mandolin tablature with accompaniment chords. Also included: an extensive music and history interview with Scandinavian music expert Bruce Bollerud.
I grew up in the Midwest, specifically in northern Michigan and southern Wisconsin. In the 1950s and 60s, at least in my part of the world, the two main ethnic groups were Norwegian and German. I inherited some genes from both, my father’s parents were Norwegian, my mother’s German and English. In my college years, during the early 1970s, I heard a musical trio called the Goose Island Ramblers. Their music was a mixture of many styles from western and bluegrass to Hawaiian and Norwegian, from Swiss to polka, county to swing, and everything in between or on either side. The Geese’s music was pure joy delivered with passion and humor.
They introduced me to untold numbers of great songs and styles of music. They reintroduced me to my Midwestern roots and made them interesting, fun, and exciting.
We've stayed in touch over the years and I mentioned to the Geese' accordionist, Bruce Bollerud, that if he ever wanted to put any of the Geese’s music down on paper, I’d be interested in helping with the project. Bruce thought about it and decided that he wanted to set down some of the traditional music he’d played all of his life, music he felt was in danger of fading away as the old timers who inherited it from the previous generation passed on. Bruce called it “Norwegian House Party Music.”
Mostly fiddle-based, house party music was played out in the country in an era when farmers would go to their neighbor’s houses for weekend entertainment. It was usually played by a small string combo with a fiddle, maybe some kind of accordion and a guitar or banjo. By the late 1940s, country folk began coming to town on the weekends to shop, see movies, or dance to the hot new regional polka bands. The polka bands were “the latest thing,” larger and louder,horn-based, and there was really no place in them for the old time sound of the fiddle. The country culture changed and as a result, house party music began to fade away.
Bruce Bollerud, who plays a variety of instruments including accordion and bandonion, learned the house party repertoire as a young teen backing up local fiddlers. I had never heard most of these tunes until I recorded Bruce playing them for his Mel Bay book “Accordion Uff Da! Let’s Dance! Scandinavian House Party Tunes.” I grew to love them as I mixed and edited the recording. I told Bruce I wanted to learn some of them. He said he hoped I’d take the tunes and put together a mandolin book. Sounded like a good idea and a great way to get more acquainted with the repertoire. "Mandolin Uff Da! Let's Dance: Scandinavian Fiddle Tunes & House Party Music" is the result.
Thanks to Bruce Bollerud for sharing this great music with me and now, with you. You’ll have a ball, or maybe a house party!
"Accordion Uff Da! Let's Dance: Scandinavian Fiddle Tunes & House Party Music" by Bruce Bollerud also available.
photo by Gene Tortora
|Table of Contents
The Tunes and Where They Come From
Kjarring Og Mann Slust
Red Rooster Two Step
Skjorte Frak Waltz
Herman’s Schottische in D
Auction Pa Strommen
Johnny Homme’s Waltz
Minnesota 6/8 Two Step
Art’s Waltz in A
Abner Juve’s Waltz
Mabel Rag Two Step
Old Utica Waltz
Johnny’s Swiss Polka
Johnson’s Rhinelander Schottische
Cousin Olin’s Waltz
Tobacco Setter’s Waltz
Sugar Candy Schottische
Mandolin Chord Dictionary
I am 84 and I grew up in Wisconsin and Minn. I took up the mandolin four years ago to challenge my mind. And it sure does. I just got you book "Uff Da Let's Dance" and I am having so much fun with the music I grew up with. Thank you and Bruce Bollerud ...for all the effort you put into the book.
See additional blog posting below.
|"Mandolin Uff Da! Let's Dance: Scandinavian Fiddle Tunes & House Party Music" by Dix Bruce. 68 pages with CD ($20.99) Add $2.92 for Media Mail (ten days to two weeks or more); $6.45 for Priority Mail (two to three business days).
"Mandolin Uff Da! Let's Dance: Scandinavian Fiddle Tunes & House Party Music" by Dix Bruce. 68 pages audio download ($19.99) [NO CD INCLUDED] Add $2.92 for Media Mail (ten days to two weeks or more); $6.45 for Priority Mail (two to three business days).
|Mandolin Uff Da! Review
by Lanny Fields
I would like to bring attention to one of my favorite tunebooks: Mandolin Uff Da! Let's Dance! Scandinavian Fiddle Tunes and House Party Music by Dix Bruce, which is a collection of tunes from the repertoire of Goose Island Ramblers accordion player Bruce Bollerud and arranged for mandolin. (An accordion version of the book also exists).
All 28 tunes in the book are written out in both standard sheet music notation and mandolin tablature with chords - in a very easy to read format. Thankfully this book contains a handful of tunes that may have otherwise faded out. Practically all of these tunes were new to me, and in fact there were even some tune types that I hadn't heard of prior to this book (schottische, anyone?). The copy I ordered did not come with a CD, but it came with instructions for how to download these tracks online and that worked out just fine. Each tune on the recording is played at two speeds: a slow version and more up-to-speed. A novice or intermediate player should be able to immediately start playing some of these, even at the faster speed. Although some tunes are going to take a lot of practice to play properly.
The waltzes in particular have more "pop" to them than I would associate with a typical American waltz. Also this music definitely swings with a raggy feel, which I didn’t expect. Highlights for me include Sally’s Hoppwaltz, Ryerson’s Hoppwaltz, Minnesota 6/8 Two Step, Almando’s Polka, Mabel Rag Two Step, Mabel Polka, Johnson’s Rhinelander Schottische, Tobacco Setter’s Waltz, Sugar Candy Schottische and Skjorte Frak Waltz. I doubt I will ever tire of these. Eventually I’d like to learn this complete collection. The book also includes a transcript of an interview with Mr. Bollerud where he talks about the history of this music as well as each individual tune.
If you already play Irish, old-time or bluegrass, these tunes will fit right in with your repertoire. Learn some and take them to your local jams, sessions or contra dance. Others will really enjoy hearing and playing these tunes which you will have discovered!
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