Photo of Ellika Frisell

Ellika Frisell

Fiddle Tunes


with Rafael Sida, percussion

Ellika Frisell was born 1953 and brought up in Stockholm. She later moved to Delsbo, a small village in the North of Sweden, where she cultivated vegetables and worked in a factory. It was during that time, in the middle of the 70´s, that Ellika began playing the fiddle and became village fiddler and dance musician.

She moved on to Dalarna where she discovered the wild music of Bingsjö, and she absorbed the repertoires of legendary Dalarna fiddlers Hjort Anders, Pekkos Per, Päkkos Gustaf and Gossa Anders. The lurching, wiggling rhythms of Swedish fiddle polskas, particularly those from this region, can be hard for the listener to grasp, though easier if one learns to dance them. These polskas have certainly become one of Ellika’s specialties.

Ellika‘s cultural collaborations with boundary-crossing musicians are lengendary, including her partnership with the late Senegalese griot kora-master and singer Solo Cissokho, her studies with Indian master Shivakumar, and her time in Mumbai learning from violinist K. Shivakumar. But her work with Mexican-born percussionist Rafael Sida (percussion) opens a new window on the polska’s subtle internal rhythms and their possibilities. Over the years that they’ve lived and played together, Sida has found ways to interpret and accompany Frisell that draw on his wide experience of the rhythms of the world, with his battery of hand and stick-hit percussion. He stays amazingly in tune with the directions that Frisell takes the melodies. His sounds are an inventive, constantly varied panoply of boom, wop, bop, slither, swish, rattle, moan, patter and click, making a conversation and joint exploration with Ellika’s playing. You’d be hard-pressed to find a duo anywhere who does a better job of embracing and exploring traditions without being bound by them.

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