A Concert by The Berntsons (April 2011)

Norwegian American Folk Music Group

Frank Jones, Eleanore Bernston Lundeberg, granddaughter MarikaFrom our April Meeting: Frank Jones with Eleanore Bernston Lundeberg and granddaughter Marika.
The Berntsons performed for our lodge at our April meeting. The evening featured musical selections from their 2008 CD as well as releases from their hot off the press new for 2011 CD. We've purchased a selection of both CDs to sell at our bazaar or at future lodge meetings.

The evening of music was led by Karl Berntson Lundeberg of Los Angeles, California, whose mother is Eleanore Berntson Lundeberg of Alexandria, VA. Karl's two daughters also perform with the band these days. Eleanore has been performing in the Berntson Band for over 70 years. Her father started the group in the late 1890s in northern Wisconsin with his son, cousins and neighbors. Eleanore joined the group as a teenager in the early 1930s, and today she plays the pump organ. This is their second concert at Washington Lodge, having played for us in 2009.

Please visit the band’s website for more information. Pictures taken from the Berntsons website.


The Berntsons
Eleanore Berntson Lundeberg
was born in a rural community near Superior in Northern Wisconsin, in 1926. She is the daughter of Bennie Berntson and sister of Maurice. It was in this farm setting the 7-year-old Eleanore began teaching herself to play the pump organ, learning the traditional Norwegian folk music from her fiddler father. The family living room became the gathering place for local Norwegian and Swedish musicians. As she grew up, Eleanore began teaching herself how to read music, and sent for sheet music from Norway, which she then taught to the group. Her brother, Maurice, was learning to play guitar, and as the two of them became fixtures in the musical group, they brought into Scandinavian music two instruments not traditionally associated with Scandinavian folk music.
Loretta Kelley of Takoma Park, Maryland, is a member of Washington Lodge, and has performed many times for Lodge events as soloist and in a group. Her involvement with the Hardanger fiddle (hardingfele) began in 1976, when she met Sigbjørn Bernhoft Osa, virtuoso hardingfele player and Norway's "musical ambassador to the world." Immediately she was attracted to this unique instrument and the music it could play. In 1979 she spent a year at the folk high school in Rauland in Western Telemark, where she studied hardingfele playing with local fiddlers and was a member of the fiddlers' group Falkeriset. Since then she has made many trips to Norway to study with master hardingfele players. Loretta has participated in numerous fiddling competitions in Norway, winning first prize in her class several times. In 1985 she became the first American ever to compete in hardingfele at the Landskappleik, the Norwegian national fiddling competition, finishing sixth in a field of 25 in class B. She has performed in concerts and festivals in Norway, and in 1994 her playing was featured in an hour-long radio program on Norway’s national radio station, NRK. In the USA Loretta has been active since 1985 as a performer and teacher of the hardingfele. Loretta's performances in the USA include appearances on Garrison Keillor's :Prairie Home Companion and American Radio Company”, National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," in Washington DC at the Kennedy Center's Millenium Stage, the Christmas Revels, and Norwegian Christmas at Union Station. Loretta, Andrea Hoag and Charlie Pilzer received a GRAMMY nomination for their CD album, Hambo in the Snow, in 2007.
The Berntsons
Andrea Hoag
has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Goddard College and a certificate in Violin Pedagogy from Malungs Folkhogskola in Sweden. Andrea is one of North America's foremost performers of traditional Swedish music, as well as a highly respected player of several American, English and Celtic styles. She has performed at many festivals in USA, Scandinavia and United Kingdom. Andrea was director of the Seattle (Washington) Skandia Spelmanslag (violin players' association) for 7 years, and led the group on a concert tour in Sweden. A warm and innovative teacher, Andrea gives workshops and coaches ensembles throughout USA, Canada and Scandinavia.
Karl Fredrik Berntson Lundeberg resides in Los Angeles, California. As a CBS/Sony recording artist, Karl has released four albums with his jazz/world music group, FullCircle, and performed throughout USA, Canada, Europe, Japan and Brazil. He has performed and/or recorded with jazz legends Miroslav Vitous, Steve Gad, Eddie Gomez, Alex Acuna, Branford Marsalis, Gilberto Gil and Gladys Knight. Karl is a composer of classical music, also, and his works have been performed at Symphony Hall, Boston, Massachusetts, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York City, and at famous festivals worldwide. From 1994-2004 Karl was the composer-in-residence at the Mark Taper Forum Theater at the Los Angeles Music Center. He has composed scores and worked with Steve Martin, Al Pacino, Donald Sutherland, Brian Bedford, Sir Peter Hall and many others. He has worked in television and films, composing scores for Paramount Pictures, Imagine Films and all the major TV studios. Currently Karl is a songwriting partner with the legendary Gerry Coffin.