Hans Togersen Haugen
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Hans Tøgersen Haugen
Fele (Ta:lik, Norway)

In the summer of 1955 Rolf Myklebust, from NRK, went to Susendal to record the folk musicians. Myklebust writes in Femti år med folkemusikk (Fifty years with Folk Music) that Hans Haugen was happy the old tunes were saved on recordings, because he reckoned that the tunes wouldn't be played in Hattfjelldal after he was gone. Most of the recorded tunes are in the usual fiddle tuning (g-d-a-e), but some of the pols dances are also played in tuned-up bass (a-d-a-e). A couple of other more unusual tunings are also used: "Knepparen" is played in a-e-a-e, and "Tussepolsdansen" is played in ad- f#-e. This last-mentioned is very unusual in the ordinary- fiddle district and is called Gjermund tuning. On the ordinary fiddle only four tunes are known in this tuning besides Haugen's "Tussepolsdans." On Hardanger fiddle it is called Thomasklokkestille (St. Thomas church bell tuning).

The CD includes excellent historical and musicial notes in Norwegian and English.

See the full series of historic hardingfele recordings from Tal:ik Records, Norway

Hans Haugen

Hans Tøgersen Haugen was born November 22, 1900, at Gammel-Haugen farm in Susendal. His parents were Tøger Johansen Haugen (1861-1955) and Sina Pedersdatter Haugen (1866-1941). He was the second youngest among four siblings. His paternal grandfather, Johan Nekolai Nilsen (1813-1905), bought the Haugen farm from a widow and moved there in 1853. The family lived at Haugen for many years, but when Hans’s father was a grown man, he began to build a new place on the flat area down the hill, where the farm still stands. Tøger took over the farm in 1905 when his father died. In 1915 Hans, still a boy, and his brother Johan took over the farm and ran it jointly. After a while, Hans received Sørum, which is the south part of the main farm, and moved into the newly built house there with his mother and father in 1926. Hans married Hilda Skundberg (1906-1977), and they had a daughter, Synnøve Hedvig, in 1946. Synnøve has taken over Sørum and lives there today with her husband, Dagfinn Vollan.

Hans began to play the fiddle when he was 11 or 12, and he learned from his father, Tøger. Tøger was one of the great fiddlers of Hattfjelldal, and as soon as Hans had a fiddle in his hands he went around with his father playing for dances in the area. All four of the Haugen siblings played the fiddle, some perhaps more than the others. It is said that Hans and his brother Johan played together often for dance parties.

MANY-SIDED FIDDLER
In addition to being a farmer and fiddler, Hans had a number of other interests. He was a butcher, helped with calving, cared for animals’ hooves and was called by the local people when their cows had milk fever. He was also a shoemaker, an active woodworker and a blacksmith. His old smith still stands at Sørum. Hans is described as even-tempered and easy going. Hans played fiddle his entire life except during some periods of illness. At 18 or so, he had pleurisy and spent a whole summer in the hospital in Sandnessjøen.

Hans thought drinking goat milk made one healthy — and healthy he became. Later he broke his back after falling out of a horse cart and wore a leather corset most of his adult life. Otherwise, Hans was quite healthy until his heart stopped. His daughter, Synnøve, tells that Hans played up to the very end—exactly as he wished to end his days.

Hans Haugen died June 23, 1973.

ROOTS
The rural communities Hattfjelldal and Susendal were settled 200 years ago by people who moved there from the south. The first settlers are said to have come from Gudbrandsdal, and later from Trøndelag and Valdres. This can be heard in the dialect in the area, a blending of north Norway words and expressions with an intonation from the south. It’s natural to think that these incomers brought their cultural traditions from their home areas and that among these settlers there were fiddlers who brought tunes new to Hattfjelldal and Susendal. Names of several of the fiddlers who came are known, but the information about them is spotty and it is difficult to date when they arrived. Neither is there documentation as to which tunes in Hans Haugen’s repertoire, or in the rest of the local music, came with the incoming settlers. One can only look for variants of the same tunes and possibly draw conclusions through comparisons.

Hans Haugen was not from among the newer settlers in the area—the Haugen family had roots in Helgeland. All the same, many tunes in Hans Haugen’s repertoire have variants in other places in the country. Hans certainly played not only with his father, but his father is said to be the source of the pols dances in his repertoire. One finds variants from the south particularly in these tunes, and they don’t otherwise have much in common with pols tunes from Helgeland. Both Tøger and Hans played often with their fellow Susendal fiddler Torger Larsen Svenskvoll (1856-1930). Torger was born in Susendal, but his family moved there from Meråker in 1850. Torger played several instruments, was a barrel-organ builder and composed a large number of tunes, many of which Hans played.

TUNES AND NRK RECORDINGS
In the summer of 1955 Rolf Myklebust, from NRK, went to Susendal to record the folk musicians. According to Myklebust, during this collecting tour in Nordland NRK obtained, through Hans Haugen, the largest collection of folk music tunes on ordinary fiddle. In NRK’s folk music archives there are 30 solo tunes played by Hans Haugen and 20 tunes played by the quartet of Hans Haugen and Ingebrigt Fagerbakk on fiddle and Torbjørn Haugen and Bjørnar Mikkeljord on accordion. The solo repertoire contains 13 pols dance tunes after Tøger Haugen, 6 reinlenders, 6 waltzes, 2 polkas, 3 mazurkas and a halling. The archive material of Hans Haugen is among the most extensive from this part of the country, and Hans Haugen is also one of the greatest sources for pols dance tunes from Nordland. Rolf Myklebust writes in Femti år med folkemusikk (Fifty years with Folk Music) that Hans Haugen was happy the old tunes were saved on recordings, because he reckoned that the tunes wouldn’t be played in Hattfjelldal after he was gone. Most of the recorded tunes are in the usual fiddle tuning (g-d-a-e), but some of the pols dances are also played in tuned-up bass (a-d-a-e). A couple of other more unusual tunings are also used: “Knepparen” is played in a-e-a-e, and “Tussepolsdansen” is played in ad- f#-e. This last-mentioned is very unusual in the ordinary- fiddle district and is called Gjermund tuning. On the ordinary fiddle only four tunes are known in this tuning besides Haugen’s “Tussepolsdans.” On Hardanger fiddle it is called Thomasklokkestille (St. Thomas church bell tuning).

Hans played fiddle tunes at a high tempo, but it was even and steady. He is ahead of the beat in the music, which is experienced as an intense forward drive in the presentation. With the help of the bow he stresses every beat so one gets a clear sense of the pulse in the tunes. His music is energetic, outgoing, hypnotizing and unrefined.

This CD presents a selection of the tunes Rolf Myklebust recorded in 1955.

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