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Between sets of synths, turntables and experimental singing, I walked into a dim lit massive church in Knoxville, TN. I was surrounded by the droning of two organs at either end and a musician switching between Hardanger fiddle and violin near the altar. Each performance I saw at Big Ears Music Festival took me to a different sound world, broadening the way I thought about musical genres and performance traditions for various instruments. For any adventurous listener looking to learn more about music I recommend this festival. And for anyone needing an album that is beautiful, calming, but also creatively charged check out the music of Nils Økland and Sigbjørn Apeland and listen to my interview with them below.

The hardanger fiddle next to the violn.

 

 

Sigbjørn showing us the organ.

Nils playing at Church Street United Methodist at Big Ears Festival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sara Soltau is the Education Programs Manager at 90.5 WUOL and Louisville Public Media.