Oslo, Oslo County, NOR

Exciting soundscapes that eliminate boundaries between musical genres. Seglem his a pioneer using Norwegian folk music as a source of inspiration, making original world-jazz music. Sit down, close your eyes and listen as tradition meets innovation, south meets north, and the past meets the future.


Karl Seglem is an institution in the Norwegian music community. Since 1988 he has released 27 albums both as a solo artist and fronting his own groups. Seglem has forged his own unique idiom as a tenor saxophonist, goat horn player and composer. Rhythm, movement, drive and serenity are key words that could describe the kind of music Karl Seglem creates. He´s still pursuing his long-term project: combining the Norwegian folk music idiom with improvisation and with elements of other musical traditions and genres. Presenting world and jazz music with Norwegian roots. This is truly genre-bending music in the best sense of the word: the clamour of the goat horns, electronic flights of fancy in exquisite sheets of sound, echoes of rural folk music from the home of the Hardanger fiddle, and compelling urban improvisation.

His albums "Ossicles", “Femstein" and "Urbs” attracted a great deal of attention in the Norwegian and International press (Two of them nominated to the Norwegian "Grammy" Spellemannprisen). Seglem has been called one of Norway’s foremost tenor saxophonists, with an original and distinctive voice and a unique ability to renew himself. Born and raised in the county of Sogn og Fjordane in Årdalstangen, the heart of Norway’s fjordland.

His collaboration with fiddler Håkon Høgemo, a leading traditional player of Hardanger fiddle (the distinctive fiddle traditional in some regions of Norway, with a shorter neck than a standard fiddle and bearing an additional four or more sympathetic strings that resonate to enhance the music’s ringing drones), has been going on for over twenty years now.

The music that Seglem has developed over the years is, like the Norwegian traditional music that inspired much of it, a creature of melodic line and rhythm rather than the vertical structures of harmony and chords that prevail in the western classical tradition and much other present-day western music. It reconnects with the older layers of European music, and indeed starts to show some affinities with Arabic music, which is similarly non-chordal.

Its textures are of air, stone, wood and bone, not the night-time, finger-snapping urban images of much American jazz. Seglem is still a tenor saxist, but his playing has the husky, vocal sound of traditional pastoral instruments, and indeed he also uses two of those, the bukkehorn, goat-horns; one a trumpet-horn and one sounded by a tied-on reed. Having found his native musical language, he speaks it fluently; the themes he uses often sound like traditional melodies, and indeed they sometimes are, but on is latest albums they’re all his own compositions.

There have been composers who have claimed their music is a free spirit, purged of any influence of the past. It's never true, of course; we all carry around with us a personal tradition made up of all we've ever heard, and it's often the musicians who accept and understand this the most deeply who make the most distinctive and communicative music. So it is with Karl Seglem and the music on his CDs.


Karl Seglem (www.karlseglem.no)
Discography and works

Ossicles, 2010
NORSKjazz.no, 2009
Skoddeheimen, w.Kallerdahl, Eple trio, 2009
Draumkvedet, w, Opheim Versto, 2009
Urbs, 2007
Dikt, w. Jon Fosse, 20066
Reik, 2005
Femstein, 2004
New North, 2004
Utla, Song, 2003
Isglem, Fire, 2003
Nye Nord, 2002
Henriksen, Seglem, Isungset, Daa, 2000
Utla, Dans, 1999
Spir, 1998
Struggle for life, 1998
Karl Seglem / Reidar Skår, Tya, 1997 (EDVARD-prisen 1998)
Jon Fosse / Karl Seglem, Prosa, 1996
Isglem, Null g, 1996
Utla, Brodd, 1995
Rit, 1994
Utla, Juv, 1993
Utla 1992
Isglem, To Steg, 1992
Isglem, Rom, 1991
Sogn-a-Song, 1991
Poems for trio, 1988

Actofoil:Actiflo, 2009
Underlege dagar, 2008
Tidvatn, 2007
Ny rørsle, 2006
Fanfareførde (fanførdefare) 2006
Ei blå rørsle, 2005
Årle i old, 2004
Auge i vind, 2003
Berget grå, berget blå, 2003
Blå Morene 2002
Lærdalstunnelen, 2000
Brot 2000
Tya, frå bor til bytes 1997
Koshkonong 1995
Katedral 1993
Øko 1992
Lysspyd 1990
Titt-Titt, Tv-etyde-leg 1989

Book - poetry
Stilla er ein åker, 2006

Music to other arts

Ei blå rørsle, 2005 (paintings/poems)
Nå skal du høre... 2005 (filmmusic)
Svik 2002 (teatermusikk)
ROMiROM 2000 (installasjon)
Varp21.null.8. 1999 (installation)
Struggle for life, 1998 (filmmusic)
300 år i himmerik 1992-93 (theatermusic)

As a producer
Arve Henriksen, Ellivan, 2009
Tromsø Kunstforsyning, 2009
Berit Opheim, Den blide sol NORCD0768, 2007
Veslefrekk, Valse Mysterioso, 2004
A.R.S., Ambjørnsen& Bo, NORCD0142, 2001
Synnøve S. Bjørset, Ram NORCD0140, 2001
Håkon Høgemo, Solo NORCD0036, 2000 (Spellemannprisen 2000)
Smak av himmel, spor av jord Grappa, 2000
Groupa, Lavalek MNW, 1999
Niss Kerstin Hallgren, Träd Amigo, 1999
Åse Teigland, Dansarsteinen NORCD9829, 1998
Lars Underdal, Gullfakse NORCD9827, 1998
Lorentz Hop, Hardanger fiddle NORCD9721, 1997
Berit Opheim, Eitt steg NORCD9618, 1996

Set List

Flexible. On the 2011 tour in November - we will play more new tunes, and from the "Ossicles" album (2010)

We prefer 1 set gigs about 70 minutes, but also play club sets 2x50 minutes

Titles: (selected)

NYE NORD (2006)