“But what really matters is not what you believe but the faith and conviction with which you believe,” wrote the great Norwegian authur Knut Hamsun in his novel Mysteries. Hamsun — who, unfortunately, ended up believing some pretty vile stuff — nonetheless may have been forecasting the astral projections of fellow countrywoman Martine Kraft, the virtuoso violinist and songwriter whose ethereal sounds will provide a swan song for final staging at Mount Pisgah of the Faerieworlds festival this weekend.
With her lushly layered instrumentation and ice-chip vocals, Kraft merits comparison to fellow Nordic musician Björk, minus the twee twaddle and artsy drift. By turns wispy, plucky and prog, Kraft and her band conjure an atmospheric swoon that would seem the perfect fit for Faerieworlds; in fact, her music has inspired an entire online world, Spirits from Norway, a site dedicated to Scandinavian folklore and representing art and travel ops in that overseas land.
A European sensation since she was 14, Kraft (née Lund Hoel) is a master of the hardanger fiddle, an instrument indigenous to southwestern Norway with upward of nine strings, four of which are bowed while those underneath resonate. The results, under Kraft’s nimble stewardship, are enchanting, as in her song “Thisledew,” which uses sweeping string work and haunting medieval melodies to evoke the Middle-Earth magic of J.R.R. Tolkien and Terry Brooks.
Along with such luminaries of trance dance-ability as Tierro and The Wicker Men and purveyors of Celtic clang like Omnia, Kraft rounds out a sprightly lineup of music for this bittersweet farewell, at least at this Eugene location, for the festival Maxim called “a Bonnaroo staged for Middle Earth.”
Martine Kraft plays 9:30 pm Saturday, July 26, at the Faerieworlds’ Main Stage; visit faerieworlds.com for more info.