Kizomba at First Sight Jorun Marie Kvernberg

Kizomba at First Sight – Jorun Marie Kvernberg

In “Kizomba at First Sight” we interviewed Jorun Marie Kvernberg.

Jorun Marie Rypdal Kvernberg (born 10 July 1979) is a Norwegian traditional musician (hardingfele, violin, vocals) and composer. She is the daughter of traditional musicians Liv Rypdal Kvernberg and Torbjørn Kvernberg, and the sister of classical musician Kari Kvernberg Dajani and jazz violinist Ola Kvernberg, and granddaughter of the fiddler and traditional music composer Peter L. Rypdal

Hello. It is great to have you with us, please, tell us a little bit about yourself. Your background, education etc?

Hi! I come from a family where music is essential. My parents are a doctor and a nurse but they both play different instruments and are interested in both traditional Norwegian music and classical music. Me and my three siblings all got trained through the local music school, on piano and violin. And besides my mother teached us tunes on the violin and helped us along with practising all through my childhood. I thank her for this. She stayed home with the children for 17 years, and her work with us made results. Today three of us four children have music as a living. My older sister is a classical pianist and pedagogue (Kari Johanne Dajani), my younger brother is a jazz violinist and composer (Ola Kvernberg) and I have specialized in Norwegian traditional folk music, on fiddle and Hardanger Fiddle (traditional Norwegian fiddle), and also folk song. The latest years I also have included composing and arranging as a part of my living. My education was at the State Academy of Music in Oslo (1999-2004), where I was one of the first to study performing arts in traditional music. Here I met my collegues in the fiddle ensmble Majorstuen (etablished 2000), and next year we celebrate 20 years as a band. We have been active all through these 20 years.

You come from a family of great musicians, is it something that has greatly influenced your musical career?

Yes. I was always encouraged to get better on my instruments. They gave me the joy of music, and they often had music friends over and played with them. Music was a natural part of life. I am told I was sitting in the couch crying when I was three, because this small ‘Kvernberg’s husorkester’ was playing something in minor.

Music was always first priority. In our livingroom we had a grand piano, and if anyone wanted to play (on this or on the violin), the TV-sound was to be shut off. Whenever.

Kizomba at First Sight Jorun Marie Kvernberg
Jorun Marie Kvernberg

How would you define your musical evolution since you published your first album, titled “Album”, in 2006 until now?

On my solo album I paid respect to the old traditional music with playing them in a conservative way. I still do this in many occations, and it is necessary to keep the traditional music alive. But now I also feel more free to use this music in different ways, stretching and changing both melody and lyrics, adding chords and instruments from other musical worlds. The sources of this music are not hanging over me like judging ghosts, but more like giggling ghosts nodding and thinking ‘Yeah, this is also a way of doing it. Good – the music is alive!’

What are your future plans?, Is it true that you are preparing a new album that will be released in February 2020?

There will actually be three albums released within two months… Strategy has never been a strong trait in me 😉

First I will record a new project called Perleskum. My compositions and Aasmund Olavsson Vinje’s words (a Norwegian poet and journalist who celebrated 200 years last year). Here I am joined by folk singer Unni Boksasp, and the jazz-musicians Dag-Filip Roaldsnes on the piano and Daniel Herskedal on tuba(!).

Next up is Kviven duo – a very traditional fiddle project together with master fiddler Britt Pernille Frøholm. We lift old fiddle tunes from the district where I now live and she comes from (Hornindal/Volda in the west coast of Norway).

Finally, me and my long time friends in Majorstuen celebrate 20 years together in 2020, in different ways. On of them is the new CD ‘Jubel’ with new tunes and some commisioned surprises!

You have collaborated with great artists such as Majorstuen or Gabriel Fliflet. What other great artists would you like to work with?

I’m very fond of building long relationships in music. I often find that playing together gets better and better when you know someone really well, both as a musician and as a person. But at the same time; new meetings gives a lot of inspiration and new influences that are very valuable.

At the time I’m composing a lot. I have a dream of finding a unique singer that would like me to compose melodies for him/her, and the she/he would bring this melodies to a new audience. Even though I love violin; – the voice is the worlds most beautiful instrument!

How can people find you and follow you online?

I’m not very good at social media, but I try to keep an updated webpage at and also to put things on my facebook site:

AgoraKizomba magazine is about Afro-Latin rhythms, have you ever seen kizomba dance? what do you think about this kind of music and dance?

No – I have never even heard of it before! Looking foreward to the videos in next question!

Finally, I’m sending you some links to Afro-Latin music and dance videos, can you tell us about your impressions?

Video 1

This is a really sensual dance in my eyes. The couple melt together like waves in the sea. I am thinking that you have to be lovers or very professional to dance this dance together. At the same time as it is sensual, it also have a kind of cold in it – a distance between the two even they are so close. Like they are constantly wondering where they have the other person, reaching out and holding back at the same time. Maybe it is mostly the facial expression that give me this thought. But this also gives me associations to lovers that gradually gets to know each other.

My hang up on the sensual elements in the dance might be more undersandable if you watch traditional dance from my country. It is… very different!

Finally I get curios how much of it is planned and how much is improvised. It seems so perfect that it is hard to believe it is improvised. But at the same time, you might not get something so perfect if it was all planned.

Her controlled bum movements are very fascinating. Like it is a dancer itself!

Video 2

Oh, this was really enjoying! So full of life, skills, fun and humour. The knee bending movement looks very unique to me. I have never seen anything like it. Especially the girl draws my attention. Her movements are so seamless, like she sometimes is made of jelly. And also her face expression gives the whole dance a lot extra, like she tells a story with her whole body.