rock musician or a ski jumper?
I always imagined I’d be a rock musician or a ski jumper, playing drums with the hardest band in the world or flying for hundreds of meters off the ski jump. And it felt like it, too, those fabulous moments rehearsing with my band at the youth centre in Ulvik or stretching way past the 30 meter mark at Myråsen in Aurdal. But something else entirely was pulling me, music that I’ve known ever since I was a small child visiting my grandparents’ house at Dale. I always headed straight for the wall where my grandfather kept his fiddles. He had a corner in the living-room with his fiddles hanging on the wall and a table full of sheet music and cassettes. When my grandfather was at home, he had a fiddle in his hands most of the time, and when he didn’t, he’d sing or whistle. I used to think my grandmother’s patience knew no end. Still, this was where I could listen and try out things, and where my passion was born.
I was still quite young when my grandfather bought me a cheap fiddle. In the beginning, it was probably used as much for tennis as for music. My brother had a wicked backhand. Later on, I went to music school in Ulvik with Knut Hamre as my instructor, a wonderful time with an excellent instructor who has influenced me a lot. My lessons took place at the garden nursery at Holmen in Ulvik, so I’d ride my bike straight from rehearsals at the youth centre to the garden nursery with my ears still ringing and the fiddle in my backpack. Sometime during the ’80s the Hardanger folk music archive released a cassette recording of fiddler Halldor Meland. Knut gave me a copy, and Meland immediately replaced Metallica on my Walkman. Seeing me riding past on my bike with the fiddle on my back and Meland in my headphones, my mates were convinced I had taken leave of my senses.
This is how my grandfather, Knut and Meland got the better of me and the world had to do without my rock drumming and ski-jumping abilities. Most probably, this was just the way they wanted it / Frank Rolland