Scott and Johanna Hongell-Darsee,
medieval and traditional ballads

February 2, 2018 — 5:30 pm
Scandinavian Medieval Ballads and Beyond

Scott and Johanna Hongell-Darsee (USA/Finland) are a duo whose wanderings have led them from Finland and Iowa respectively – through Europe, Scandinavia, India, and the U.S. On the way, they have picked up tales and songs that they perform, together with the stories behind them, in particular exploring the links between Scandinavian, Celtic, North American and other story singing traditions.

They research, edit, translate, adapt and arrange traditional melodies and lyrics from Scandinavia, British Isles, Europe, India, and North America and perform them in their own unique way, with both modern and traditional instruments.

Their performances have been described as magical, inspiring, haunting, mesmerizing …
“… the Hongell-Darsees summon ancient characters from the depths of our collective unconscious and bid you take leave of the modern world and join your ancestors, huddled together in a hut around a fire as the storyteller makes the hair on your arms stand straight up.” (Mel Minter, Musically Speaking, Albuquerque, NM)

Songs from both The Wandering Ballad (2014) and The Mountain King CD (2016) were nominated by New Mexico Music Awards for Best Vocal Performance, and their songs can also be found on numerous traditional music compilations.

After relocating to New Mexico from Scandinavia in 2001, Scott and Johanna have performed all over the U.S. at festivals, theatres, arts councils, universities, schools, libraries, and live broadcasts including:

• Provincetown Playhouse and Scandinavia House, NYC
• Outpost Performance Space with AMP Concerts, Albuquerque, NM
• Folk Festivals: Traditional Music Society, Los Angeles, CA; and Albuquerque, NM
• Scandinavian Festivals: Atlanta, GA; Los Angeles, CA; Thousand Oaks, CA; and Lindsborg, KS
• Storytelling Festivals: Los Angeles, CA; Four Corners, NM; Taos, NM; and Albuquerque, NM
• Universities: NYU; UNM, ENMU, San Juan College and College of Santa Fe, NM; UA; Coe College, IA
• NPR Affiliates, KUNM, KSFR, WFHB
• TV 2KASA Morning Show
• New Mexico Humanities Council – Inducted as scholars in 2005

Johanna (vocals, woodwinds, jouhikko, kraviklyra, research, translation, arrangements) was born in Finland. Apart from music she has a background in theater and dance. She studied theater in France and Bharata Natyam dance in India. She has worked as a performing artist for over 30 years in Scandinavia, Europe, India and USA.

Scott (stringed instruments, arrangements, composer) was born in USA. Before relocating to New Mexico, he spent 16 years in Europe, where parallel to his artistic work he worked as a therapist at ballet companies such as Dance Theatre of Harlem, London Festival Ballet, English National Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet and Hamburg Ballet, and also taught at Danish State School of Modern Dance.

Visit Scott and Johanna’s website.