Bio

Hans-Hinrich Thedens (guitar, banjo, song)

Hans-Hinrich started to play traditional music on guitar and fiddle as a teenager in rural Germany. He played in an Irish/British isles band in high school and was the fiddler in the country band, Oklahoma Lone Star Heartbreak Institute, based in Hamburg. His university studies in ethnomusicology led him to Norway where he wrote his doctoral dissertation on Tovdal hardingfele spelemann Salve Austenå, also learning to play most of his repertoire. On sabbatical in Johnson City, TN in 2004, Hans-Hinrich took up the banjo and has continued to learn from many inspiring teachers every summer including Richard Blaustein, Paul Brown, and David Holt. In addition he sings country songs and Norwegian stev.

Elizabeth Gaver (fiddle, hardingfele, song)

Elizabeth has a background in early music and is a leading performer on medieval fiddles. She has learned old-time tunes from some of the most well-known and generous fiddlers from the tradition including Bruce Greene, Mike Bryant and Brad Leftwich. Elizabeth has learned hardingfele slåtter from Salve Austenå and helped with the transcription of over 100 of his tunes for Hans-Hinrich’s study of the repertoire. She also plays Norwegian tunes on vanlig fele, or violin, from Røros, Finnskog and Gudbrandsdal. Elizabeth sings mountain ballads she learned at workshops with Sheila Kay Adams.

Mattias Thedens (fiddle, hardingfele, banjo)

 

Mattias was born and raised in Oslo, Norway and been immersed in old-time music from an early age. After years of travelling to various old time festivals in the Appalachian mountains with his parents he started playing fiddle at the age of nine. During visits to the south every summer he has had the opportunity to learn from and play with some of the most experienced old time fiddlers from various regions in the area including Rayna Gellert, Bruce Greene, Eddie Bond, and Bruce Molsky. He has also taken part in classes in Cajun fiddle with David Greely and Michael Doucet.

In addition to playing old time music, Mattias plays Norwegian folk music on the violin and Hardanger fiddle, and has danced Norwegian folk dance since the age of four. He has been flatfooting and taking part in square dances since the age of six and taught flatfooting to German children at a folk music festival at the age of twelve. Mattias will graduate from the Oslo Waldorf high school in 2018.

Mattias' own US-based band,  "Moose Whisperers" won the traditional band contest at the Appalachian String Band Festival at Clifftop, WV, in 2016 and will perform a concert at the festival in July, 2017.

 

 

Alix Cordray (bass and dance caller)

Alix Cordray has played bass with Feleboga in Norway, Germany, and on Stena Line's "Dansebåten". She also plays with the Norwegian gammeldans band "Fanteladdane" and has played for Norwegian dances for decades.

Alix is an active dance instructor of Norwegian traditional dance in Oslo as well as at numerous workshops throughout the United States. She has lead dances at a wide variety of events and parties for all ages and is equally at home with social dances, traditional dance and as a square dance caller.

Alix has worked closely with Feleboga on their Tovdal dance project, learning local dances from archival materials as well as the few dancers of the tradition.

Alix grew up in the international folk dance scene (especially Balkan) in the San Francisco Bay Area. She danced in and later directed Westwind International Folk Ensemble, and taught at the Mandala folk dance coffee house in San Francisco. She also has extensive training in modern dance (Martha Graham technique) and has Masters of Arts in dance from Mills College. She has a Royal Scottish Country Dance Society teacher certification.

 

Paul Kirby (vocals and banjo)

Paul Kirby is a trained classical singer with Masters Degrees in Opera Performance (Boston University) and Management (BI Oslo).  His interest in traditional American music goes back to his youth on his parents’ farm in central Illinois where he spent time between cuttings of hay teaching himself how to play the guitar and later the banjo. After years singing classical music across Europe, he returned to the music of his youth: the fiddle tunes and songs of Appalachia. 

In addition to his active classical singing and teaching, he leads the Oslo-based bluegrass band Moving Day! He is a permanent member of the Norwegian Soloists Choir, enjoys an active career as an arts management consultant, and relishes the opportunity to perform with Americana groups The Expatriates and Feleboga. He is married to Norwegian flutist and cultural journalist Torun Kirby Torbo.

 

Hans Olav Gorset (flutes)

Feleboga Stringband

Feleboga Stringband was formed in 2014 with the addition of Paul Kirby, lead singer and banjo, and Alix Cordray, bass and dance instruction/square dance calling. The band has played at Buckley's Pub in Oslo, at the Roots Rock and Roll stage of the Oslo Music Festival, as well as several other festivals and markets. Feleboga Stringband is carrying on the older traditions of Southern Square Dance and has presented dance evenings at the American church in Oslo and for folk dance clubs. The members of the band are all avid dancers and two are dance callers. Hans-Hinrich has studied calling with Phil Jamison (Asheville, NC) who is one of the most well-known callers in the US. Alix instructs and calls southern squares and circle dances and has a wonderful ability to encourage people onto the dance floor!

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