New single – Borrowed Days – out now!

Borrowed Days – the last single before The Smoky Smirr o Rain comes out in full – is out now! You can on Bandcamp, on Spotify and all other good streaming services.

Until a couple of years ago, we lived on top of a hill on Nesodden, a peninsula in Oslofjord. One wall of the house was completely glass, and we had an crazy view of Oslofjord. It felt like we lived inside the clouds, and stormy days were especially exciting. Late one evening, towards the end of March, I was sitting at the kitchen table playing the fiddle, watching a dark storm. The black clouds were swirling madly, and I kept thinking about the birds whilst I was playing, hoping they would be ok.

Borrowed Days throws you straight into a raging storm. The temperature is then turned down in an interlude which is the psychedelic ‘eye of the storm’, where time stands still and the main character hallucinates away, accompanied by birdsong from alien planets. The intensity slowly builds up again, and the song ends in the same storm it started in.

The title refers to a fable that exists in several countries, including Scotland, Ireland and Spain. It tells of an old cow who boasted that even the harshest weather in March could not kill her. March therefore borrowed three days from April and filled them with all the rage it could muster, killing and skinning the old cow (!!! 🙁 … ) The last three days of March were therefore known as ‘Borrowed Days’, and people who are superstitious neither borrow nor lend during those days.

New single – Borrowed Days – out now!

The Smoky Smirr o Rain is available here and an Bandcamp.

Celtic Connections 2018 – we’re coming your way!

Sarah-Jane Summers & Juhani SilvolaHello!

Celtic Connections released the programme for next year’s festival last night and we are part of it! Can’t wait!

We’re playing twice, firstly as part of Sarah-Jane’s New Voices commission on Sunday 28th January, alongside these truly wonderful musicians: Hayden Powell (trumpet), Morten Kvam (double bass), Leif Ottosson (accordion) and Bridget Marsden (fiddle). If you don’t already know them, do check them out!

By the way, Bridget & Leif are playing a duo concert as part of Celtic Connections at The Piping Centre on Thursday 25th January. Their music is spellbindingly beautiful; music for the soul.

Secondly, we are sharing the bill with the wonderful Adam Sutherland, who was also taught by Donald Riddell, on Friday 2nd February in the New Auditorium at The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. I’m sure it’ll be a great night. A night for fiddle lovers for sure!

Beautiful new album by traditional Norwegian singer, IngebjĂžrg Lognvik Reinholdt

We are really proud to be of this beautiful new album Songen Om Guro by the traditional singer, IngebjĂžrg Lognvik Reinholdt. A song cycle from the Telemark tradition, it tells of the beautiful Guro Heddelid, who caught the fancy of pretty much every male from far and wide. Flirtatious and enjoying the attention, she had trouble deciding who to marry. Eventually she narrowed it down to the only two men who were strong enough to lift a particular sword: the rich and charming Torgeir and the poor fiddler, Tore. Tore had the soul, Torgeir the bluster. In the end, bearing in mind her deceased parents’ advice to marry someone who could keep the farm intact, she chose the wealthy Torgeir. Tore was devastated, utterly heartbroken and ran off into the mountains having lost his mind with grief. Torgeir was a terrible husband, drinking, fighting and not taking good care of the beautiful Guro at all. They had three children, all of whom ended up dying from the plague.

The album was recorded in Flatdal Kirke in Telemark in February. Such a beautiful time of year to be in the countryside in Norway. Several mornings I was woken up by the snowplough going past the house we were staying in.

I first met IngebjĂžrg when we were studying together at Norges Musikk HĂžgskole (The Norwegian State Academy of Music) and I was instantly bowled over by her rich voice and her ability to get the story across even if you don’t understand the lyrics.

The line-up is:

IngebjĂžrg Lognvik Reinholdt – vocals
Sarah-Jane Summers – fiddle / viola
Juhani Silvola – guitar
Morten Kvam – double bass / church organ

Recorded by Roar Nilsen
Mixed by Juhani Silvola
Mastered by Morgan Nicolaysen

Record label – ta:lik

The lyrics are poems from the local Telemark poet, JĂžrund Telnes, written in 1880.

You can hear it on Spotify here.

Hope you enjoy it!

Best wishes,


“This duo goes straight to somewhere near the top of the ‘Musicians to See Live’ list.” (The Living Tradition)

“This duo goes straight to somewhere near the top of the ‘Musicians to See Live’ list.”

Dell Daisy Records DELL006

A real cultural mix produces the goods here in this thoroughly likeable album. Widdershins is Highland Scots for anti-clockwise, or against the norm, and that is what is served up here. The combination of Inverness’ Sarah-Jane’s Scots-inflected fiddle and the virtuosic guitar of the Finnish Juhani Silvola is an exciting one. They live and play in Norway and must sound rather exotic there as well.

Most readers of this magazine will probably come at this via the fiddle, which has echoes of Shetland about it. At first glance, you might expect it to be the lead instrument, with the guitar getting second billing as an accompaniment. It is not, however, as simple as that. Juhani’s guitar is played with such attack and such imagination that it often seems to be straining to take centre stage. The result is, as the sleevenotes claim, “Virtuosic and innovative with a dark Nordic edge” – something that will chime with the current popularity of Scandinavian drama, perhaps.

This is not music, though, which hangs around admiring its own credentials. The other description that fits it very well is “powerhouse”. The 11 tracks were recorded live, in the same room, and were left completely unedited. Hence the infectious spontaneity achieved on tracks like Juhani’s Silver Spring Reel and Sarah Jane’s Spike On A Bike. There are times on those numbers (and on others) when Silvola, in particular, sounds destined to inflict terminal damage on his instrument. Happily, we all come out safely at the other side.
This duo goes straight to somewhere near the top of the ‘Musicians to See Live’ list.

Dave Hadfield

This album was reviewed in Issue 118 of The Living Tradition magazine.

Lira review of Widdershins

For those of you who read Swedish, a review from Lira.

LÀgg ordet SydÀnyö pÄ minnet! Hur svÄrt kan det vara? LÀttare Àn att sÀga skotskt-finskt. SydÀnyö betyder midnatt, eller mer poetiskt: Nattens hjÀrta. Denna cd:s första lÄt inleds med att Juhani Silvola lugnt plockar toner ur sin akustiska gitarr och Sarah-Jane Summers glissandon lÄter som om hon spelade med fiolstrÄken pÄ sÄg. Fascinerande och ljuvligt melankoliskt.

TitellĂ„ten Widdershins kunde vara Sarah-Janes roliga performance om nordiska myggor, hon sĂ„gar med strĂ„ken pĂ„ ett irriterande, vinande sĂ€tt i gitarrens ökande mörker, men det Ă€r enligt konvolutet hennes grandfather som bygger en klocka som rĂ„kar gĂ„ moturs (”widdershins”).

En lÄts historia kan vara underhÄllande, men resultatet Àr förstÄs viktigast. Det blev en schottis som fÄr hjÀrtat att hoppa och benen att spritta. Sen fortsÀtter skivan med traditionella och nyskrivna reels som en antingen gillar, beroende pÄ lÀggning, eller fort tröttnar pÄ.

Skön andhÀmtning frÄn hoppandet ger lÄten Vaajakosken Maija, skriven av Sarah-James till en vÀninna, den gÄr att dansa en gangar eller stillsam slÀngpolska till.

Invid titeln pÄ de egna kompositionerna stÄr Tono, Norges motsvarighet till Stim. Tono har i höst, frÄn sin största kvartalsavrÀkning nÄgonsin, delat ut 131 miljoner till in- och utlÀndska kompositörer, textförfattare och förlag. Det var ÀndÄ innan nyheten med Bob Dylan detonerade. Gilla Tono pÄ Facebook! Och gilla Widdershins, förstÄs.

Recenserad av: Anne BrĂŒgge

Great review of Widdershins from Rob Adams in The Herald

Thanks to Rob Adams for this review of Widdershins in The Herald.

“An album full of contrasts…Widdershins makes a great case for seeing Summers and Silvola in concert.”

Album review: Sarah-Jane Summers & Juhani Silvola, Widdershins (Dell Daisy)

2 Dec 2016 / Rob Adams, Folk & Jazz critic

Sarah-Jane Summers & Juhani Silvola
Widdershins, Dell Daisy

THE Scottish-Scandinavian alliance continues with this Norway-based fiddle and guitar partnership’s second album.

As with another of the teams with connections from this side of the North Sea, the Nordic Fiddlers Bloc, Inverness-born fiddler Sarah-Jane Summers and Finnish guitarist Juhani Silvola pay due respect to their native traditions but are imaginative in their arrangements and pretty fearless in taking the music out into the margins.

Summers’ rugged title track borrows a word she learned from her grandfather but it’s unlikely that her esteemed fiddle teacher, the late Donald Riddell, is responsible the wild, atmospheric and exciting bowing style she brings to its more adventurous developments.

Silvola’s playing ranges from dainty and nimble to swashbuckling as the pair show a superb musical understanding and an easy interchange between melodist and accompanist roles.

An album full of contrasts – as illustrated by the delicately picked and pizz’ed Silver Spring Reel and the robust, characterful strathspey Donald Morison – Widdershins makes a great case for seeing Summers and Silvola in concert.

Rob Adams