Vasen is an acoustic trio from Sweden with about a dozen studio albums and a Swedish Grammy to its credit.
It features Olov Johansson — world champion of both the modern chromatic and older historical nyckelharpor, or keyed fiddles — Mikael Marin, who plays a five-string viola, and guitarist Roger Tallroth.
Vasen will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 25, at Havurah Shir Hadash, 185 N. Mountain Ave., Ashland. Chambergrass trio The Bee Eaters will open the show. Tickets cost $20 in advance and can be purchased at Music Coop, Bellwood Violin, online at www.brownpapertickets.com or by calling 800-838-3006. Tickets will cost $23 at the door; $10 for ages 25 and younger.
Johansson and Marin began playing together as teenagers. They became a link in the living tradition that is Swedish folk music by learning music from Curt Tallroth and Eric Sahlstrom, older musicians who lived in Sweden's Uppland region.
Johansson and Marin played straightforward folk-music duets until they were joined by Tallroth, who put a different twist on traditional Swedish music. His guitar chordings and rhythms attracted an entirely new audience, and the trio's popularity grew internationally.
"Their musical interplay is a combination of structure and improvisation as they swing through arrangements with pure joy, spontaneity and humor, endearing them to audiences everywhere," according to NPR's "All Things Considered." "This is 'local music' in the best sense of the word: believable, human-scaled and fluent in the international language of musical interaction."
Shortly after Johansson became world champion of the nyckelharpor at the first Nyckelharpa World Championships at Osterbybruk, the trio released its first CD, "Olov Johansson: Vasen," in 1990. Many others followed. The trio recorded a CD with Darol Anger and Mike Marshall in 2007. Its newest CD, "Mindset," was released in 2013.
Members of Vasen will teach a workshop for young string players from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Thursday, April 25, at Bellwood Violin, 330 E. Hersey St., Ashland. The workshop costs $35. Those who participate will be eligible for half-price concert tickets.
Brother and sister duo Tristan and Tashina Clarridge — long steeped in American fiddle traditions — along with hammer dulcimer player Simon Chrisman are The Bee Eaters. Together they draw on roots in bluegrass, Celtic, jazz and old-time music.
Grand National Fiddle Champion Tashina Clarridge has toured with such artists as Mark O'Connor, Tony Trischka and Laurie Lewis. Her multi-instrumentalist brother is a five-time Grand National Fiddle Champion and a pioneering cellist who sythesizes folk influences with rhythmic vocabularies from jazz, rock and pop music.
Tristan Clarridge has toured the world with Crooked Still and Darol Anger's Republic of Strings, along with Mike Marshal, Bruce Molsky and Natalie MacMaster.
Newgrass fiddler Anger calls The Bee Eaters "the instrumental cream of the brand new string nation."