16 Sep 2023

Online Folk Music lessons? Finally, yes!

In December 2019, two remarkable folk musicians, Olav Luksengård Mjelva from Norway and Jens Linnell from Sweden, embarked on a journey to bring their long-cherished project to life. In July 2020 this endeavor gave birth to The Folk Music Academy, which swiftly emerged as one of the most innovative forces in the world of folk music.

These globally renowned musicians took ancient instruments and time-honored traditions, traditionally passed down through personal stories and oral traditions, and etched them into the digital landscape, effectively filling an educational void that had long been overlooked.
Undoubtedly, folk music embodies themes of sharing, community, intimate gatherings, and the genuine moments of life. Yet, in today’s context, it’s more crucial than ever to preserve certain traditional music forms, often obscure and at risk of fading away, using the latest technology.
This is precisely the achievement of The Folk Music Academy, which has not only produced highly practical and technically sound instructional videos but has also infused them with passion, excitement, and a profound sense of the humanity and enthusiasm that define traditional music, wherever it may be found worldwide.

The idea of sharing this technologically driven approach, where innovation complements tradition, and the imperative to simultaneously safeguard the human and communal elements of traditional music, prompted Voices of the Americas Heritage Institute to establish a partnership with The Folk Music Academy. Together, they aim to disseminate and preserve this invaluable musical heritage by promoting the online lessons via the Voices of the Americas Heritage Hub.

Now you can learn from some of the Nordic folk tradition’s biggest names, including Olov Johansson, master nyckelharpa player in the Swedish folk group Väsen; Ottar Kåsa, award-winning instrument-maker and Hardanger fiddle virtuoso from Bø i Telemark; Lena Jonsson, Swedish fiddler who has performed for President Barack Obama and climate activist Greta Thunberg.

The forthcoming developments in this partnership hold promise. The Folk Music Academy intends to expand its current educational offerings by introducing lessons on traditional music from the Americas. Voices of the Americas Heritage Institute is fully committed to supporting this endeavor, with the aim of involving as many traditional musicians from the Americas as possible.


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