Thorstein Skarning (1888–1939) was a Norwegian-born musician and bandleader, who toured the Upper Midwest for over two decades and was a Twin Cities radio personality in the 1930s.
Norwegians are a North Germanic ethnic group native to Norway. They share a common culture and speak the Norwegian language. Norwegian people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in the United States, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Mexico, New Zealand and South Africa.
The Upper Midwest is a region in the northern portion of the U.S. Census Bureau's Midwestern United States. It is largely a sub-region of the Midwest. Although the exact boundaries are not uniformly agreed-upon, the region is officially defined as referring to the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota.
Minneapolis–Saint Paul is a major metropolitan area built around the Mississippi, Minnesota and St. Croix rivers in east central Minnesota. The area is commonly known as the Twin Cities after its two largest cities, Minneapolis, the most populous city in the state, and Saint Paul, the state capital. It is an example of twin cities in the sense of geographical proximity. Minnesotans living outside of Minneapolis and Saint Paul often refer to the two together as the Twin Cities.
|Died||October 3, 1939 50) (aged|
|Spouse(s)||Anna Christine Kessell|
Skarning, who grew up near Drammen, Norway, immigrated to the United States in 1909 and by 1917 had begun performing in the new country.From the beginning his wife Anna joined him as a pianist and vocalist. In 1925 they were greeted in Grand Forks, North Dakota by a large crowd that filled American Hall to capacity for a program of Norwegian folk dances, Grieg recital pieces and sentimental ballads. A review in the Grand Forks Herald praised the "celebrated accordionist", who played solo versions of Den store, hvide flok and Solveigs sang during one set. It referred to his "charming wife" and called her a "singer of note", who captivated listeners while singing Breil's Song of the soul and Hvalbye's Å, mor.
Drammen is a city in Buskerud, Norway. The port and river city of Drammen is centrally located in the eastern and most populated part of Norway. Drammen is the capital of the county of Buskerud.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe, which is 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.
Grand Forks is the third-largest city in the American state of North Dakota and is the county seat of Grand Forks County. According to the 2010 census, the city's population was 52,838, while the total of the city and surrounding metropolitan area was 98,461. Grand Forks, along with its twin city of East Grand Forks, Minnesota, forms the center of the Grand Forks, ND-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is often called Greater Grand Forks or the Grand Cities.
Advertised as the "world's greatest accordion virtuoso" and "greatest player of classical music on the accordion", Skarning demonstrated his skill before rapt audiences and enthusiastic dancers alike. The high-brow fare was not to everyone's liking. At the MWA hall in Strum, Wisconsin the crowd showed "little appreciation of a Mozart sonata but raised the roof when he stooped to rip off a Norwegian hop waltz."In 1925 when Skarning and his musicians had an engagement in Blair, Wisconsin, the local newspaper wrote: "This company never fails to please and their every appearance here is greeted with a packed house. After the musical entertainment is over, the players play for the dancers —and this is where both Mr. Skarning and his people come in for a rousing good time."
Modern Woodmen of America (MWA) is one of the largest fraternal benefit societies in the United States, with more than 750,000 members. Total assets reached US $15.4 billion in 2016. Though it shares the same founder, it is not affiliated financially in any way with another, similarly-styled fraternal benefit society, WoodmenLife, and despite the name "Modern" is actually older than its counterpart.
Strum is a village in Trempealeau County, Wisconsin, along the Buffalo River. The population was 1,114 at the 2010 census.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the classical era.
A master of the chromatic button accordion, Skarning recorded "Skarning's Mazurka", "Vals Brilliante" and a few other tunes while still in Norway. Five of these numbers are on the 2017 album "Trekkspillnostalgi fra Modum og Eiker" (Accordion nostalgia from Modum and Eiker) and available through iTunes and Amazon mp3.In 1918 Skarning made a trial recording of "Old Comrades" (Alte Kameraden) for Victor Records. The same year he released four songs on Columbia Records. In 1930 he put out two songs on the Brunswick label.
The iTunes Store is a software-based online digital media store operated by Apple Inc. that opened on April 28, 2003, as a result of Steve Jobs's push to open a digital marketplace for music.
"Alte Kameraden" is the title of a popular German military march. It is included in the Armeemarschsammlung as HM II, 150.
The Victor Talking Machine Company was an American record company and phonograph manufacturer headquartered in Camden, New Jersey.
Skarning adapted to the changing tastes of the public and during the 1930s performed with his sons Thorstein and Osmund as "Thorstein Skarning and his Norwegian Hillbillies", a group whose broadcasts aired three times a week on WDGY radio in Minneapolis. One of their most popular numbers was a country western rendition of Farvel Mit Fædreland (Emigrantvalsen).
WDGY is a commercial AM radio station licensed to Hudson, Wisconsin, and serving the Minneapolis-St. Paul radio market. It is owned by WRPX, inc. and airs a Classic Hits/Oldies radio format. The station's studios and offices are in Lakeland, Minnesota. The transmitter is off Commerce Drive, near Interstate 94 in Hudson.
Country music, also known as country and western, and hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as American folk music and blues.
The violinist Ted Johnson and musicians Ernest and Clarence Iverson also played in a hybrid manner that was both Scandinavian and American. In the early 1930s Skarning and Ted Johnson were the leading Nordic bandleaders in the Twin Cities as well as good friends.The Minnesota Historical Society has an autographed photo of Skarning that he inscribed to his "old friend Ted Johnson, violinist par excellence."
Ted Johnson was a Swedish-American violinist, who led a popular Scandinavian dance band in the Twin Cities during the 1930s and 1940s.
Ernest and Clarence Iverson were popular radio personalities on Twin Cities stations WDGY and KEYD during the 1930s and 1940s. Ernest (1903–1958) was known as Slim Jim. His brother Clarence (1905-1990) was the Vagabond Kid. Together they performed an eclectic mix of music ranging from country western and Tin Pan Alley to gospel hymns and Scandinavian ballads.
Scandinavia is a region in Northern Europe, with strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties. The term Scandinavia in local usage covers the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The majority national languages of these three, belong to the Scandinavian dialect continuum, and are mutually intelligible North Germanic languages. In English usage, Scandinavia also sometimes refers to the Scandinavian Peninsula, or to the broader region including Finland and Iceland, which is always known locally as the Nordic countries.
Thorstein Skarning died in 1939, but his son Thorstein kept the orchestra going into the 1950s, promoting it as "the only Norske band in the United States featuring old style mixed music."
The polka is originally a Bohemian dance and genre of dance music familiar throughout Europe and the Americas. It originated in the middle of the 19th century in Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic. The polka remains a popular folk music genre in many European countries, and is performed by folk artists in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia and Finland, and to a lesser extent in Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. Local varieties of this dance are also found in the other Nordic countries, Spain's Basque Country, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Latin America, Canada and the United States.
The Eurovision Song Contest 1986 was the 31st Eurovision Song Contest and was held on 3 May 1986 in Grieghallen in Bergen, Norway. It was the first occasion on which Norway played host to the contest. The presenter was Åse Kleveland, a well-known folk guitarist who was President of the Norwegian Association of Musicians.
In traditional Sámi music songs and joiks are important musical expressions of the Sámi people and Sámi languages. The Sámi also use a variety of musical instruments, some unique to the Sámi, some traditional Scandinavian, and some modern introductions.
Sissel Kyrkjebø, also simply known as Sissel, is a Norwegian soprano.
"Beer Barrel Polka", also known as "The Barrel Polka" and "Roll Out the Barrel", is a song which became popular worldwide during World War II. The music was composed by the Czech musician Jaromír Vejvoda in 1927. Eduard Ingriš wrote the first arrangement of the piece, after Vejvoda came upon the melody and sought Ingriš's help in refining it. At that time, it was played without lyrics as "Modřanská polka". Its first text was written later by Václav Zeman – with the title "Škoda lásky".
The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra is a Norwegian orchestra based in Bergen. Its principal concert venue is the Grieg Hall.
Ole Olsen was a Norwegian organist, composer, conductor and military musician.
Peer Gynt, Op. 23, is the incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's 1867 play of the same name, written by the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg in 1875. It premiered along with the play on 24 February 1876 in Christiania.
Solveig Kringlebotn, better known outside Norway as Solveig Kringelborn, is an internationally known Norwegian operatic soprano. In April 2006, she created the role of Refka in the world premiere of Kaija Saariaho's opera Adriana Mater at the Opéra National de Paris
Herman Wildenvey, born Herman Theodor Portaas, was one of the most prominent Norwegian poets of the twentieth century. During his lifetime he published 44 books of his own poetry, in addition to translations of William Shakespeare, Ernest Hemingway, and Heinrich Heine. He was married to the novelist Gisken Wildenvey.
Myles Peter Carpenter Rudge was an English songwriter, known for writing the lyrics for novelty songs. His songs "The Hole in the Ground" and "Right Said Fred" were both British Top 10 chart hits in 1962, both recorded by Bernard Cribbins to music by Ted Dicks and produced by George Martin for Parlophone. Another of his songs, "A Windmill in Old Amsterdam", was a hit in 1965 for Ronnie Hilton, and won an Ivor Novello Award in 1966 for the Year's Outstanding Novelty Composition.
Carsten Woll (1885-1962) was a leading Norwegian-American singer and recording artist of the 1910s and 1920s.
Ted Dicks was an English composer. He is best known for composing the music for the novelty songs "Right Said Fred" and "The Hole in the Ground". They were both Top 10 hits in the UK Singles Chart in 1962, recorded by Bernard Cribbins with lyrics by Myles Rudge, and produced by George Martin for Parlophone. Another song by Dicks and Rudge, "A Windmill in Old Amsterdam", was a million-seller hit in 1965 for Ronnie Hilton.
Carl G. O. Hansen was a Norwegian-American journalist, musician and author.
Abocurragh is an album by Andy Irvine recorded in Dublin, Norway, Australia, Hungary and Brittany between February 2009 and April 2010. It was produced by Dónal Lunny who also plays on all the tracks, except the last one.
Stan Boreson, the "King of Scandinavian Humor," was an American comedian, accordionist and singer from Everett, Washington. Boreson was an early local TV star in the Seattle area, with a career that included 12 years as the host of "King's Klubhouse" on KING-TV. In addition to his television show, Boreson was adept at musical parody and brought his “Scandahoovian” stylings to the genre. Throughout his career he released 16 albums. Stan Boreson died aged 91 in Seattle, Washington, on January 27, 2017.
Solveig Heilo, simply known as Sol Heilo, is a Norwegian composer, artist, musician, music producer, arranger, designer and costume designer. She is mostly known for the band Katzenjammer.
Ottar Edvardsen Akre was a Norwegian accordionist, composer, and educator, known for his many recordings and ensembles.
Harald Trygve Henschien was an accordionist, composer, accordion manufacturer, editor, and the founder of the music magazine Rytme (Rhythm). He started his career as a performing musician at age 13 and became a prominent figure in Norwegian accordion and popular music.
Historic American Newspapers
Articles and advertisements
Thorstein and Anna Skarning lyrics
Anna Skarning sheet music