The Sarahs
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The Sarahs


Band Folk Spoken Word


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The best kept secret in music


"Duo presents music, stories with Scandinavian style"


A mix of traditional Scandinavian music and storytelling was presented in five Mid-Iowa schools and two retirement centers Thursday. Two more schools were scheduled for today, with a weekend workshop and concert and more schools next week.

It's the type of schedule a long-running performance group could expect, but Sarah Granskou and Sarah Nagell - known as the "Canwegian" Sarahs - are accomplishing this type of effort their first time touring together.

"Everybody always comments; they're always surprised to see we've only been together a short time," Granskou said. "We complement each other well I think."

The duo met a couple years ago, but Oct. 10 was their first day together, followed by a few days of practice before heading out on the road for a month of touring with 30 stops.

"It's really a whirlwind tour," Nagell said. "It's just all over, but it's really exciting."

The duo is in central Iowa this week and early next week, stopping at schools and retirement centers, with a public performance at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4.

Granskou, 32, raised in Ontario, and Nagell, 25, born in Arizona, have both lived and studied music in Norway. Granskou's stay in Norway included living among reindeer herders in northern Norway to learn their music. Nagell was most recently in Norway studying at Telemark University College.

The Story City stop for the duo is funded by a grant from the Iowa Arts Council to Sons of Norway.

"Story City is really special for us," Nagell said. "It's really a wonderful community program."

Saturday's performance will be preceded by a workshop for children from 1 to 3 p.m. during which children will participate in singing and dancing and will help make trolls for the night performance.

Granskou said the one-and-a-half-hour evening performance is hard to define, but could be described as musical theater with folk music, in which the duo helps make the music accessible through storytelling.

"Everybody always says 'that was so different than what I would have expected and it was very unique,'" Granskou said. - By: Christopher Weishaar


"Flying on the Tradewinds", our first album, is available for listening and purchase from CD It includes 17 tracks, 3 of which are original stories told in poetic narrative with music. The rest of the tracks are either traditional songs or tunes (arranged by the group), or our own compositions.

Sarah Granskou was featured on the album Midnight Sun by Ensemble Polaris (Dorion label) with both traditional and original works.
Her composition, "On the Farm" was aired repeatedly by Tom Allen on the CBC.

Sarah Nagell's solo album, "Farwell to Sollia" was recorded in her own "Singing Fiddler Studios". Selected tracks are available from


Feeling a bit camera shy


Named after a butterfly, Sarah Longwing brings the Scandinavian experience to life with an accessible perspective through traditional music and tales as well as contemporary lyrics and stories. Their unique style seamlessly fuses English, Norwegian, Swedish, and Sámi and the instrumental music is played on folk instruments such as the 8-string Hardanger fiddle and jaw harp. Through song, fiddle, flute and story they integrate North American innovation with ancient Nordic traditions.

The name, Sarah Longwing, was adopted after the duo visited the Reiman butterfly gardens, while in Iowa on a concert tour of the US Midwest. It was there that they came across a beautiful blue butterfly by the name of Heliconius sara, or Sara Longwing. Since both members are named Sarah, they decided that the symbol of the butterfly, morphing dramatically through different stages of its life and traveling great distances on delicate wings, was appropriate for their music. At that time, their name was Canwegian, for Canadian-Norwegian. Both Sarahs come from Canadian backgrounds and have lived, worked, and studied in rural Norway, picking up folk traditions there. However, when on tour in the Midwest in October/November of 2006, they realized that some of the Swedish-Americans were boycotting due to a perceived lack of Swedish content. They were, however, mistaken. Sarah Longwing does not simply perform Norwegian folk music, but a variety of music from Scandinavia and North America, as well as their own compositions and poetic recitations. On their most recent tour in April/May of 2007 the two Sarahs represented the Sons of Norway Foundation as young cultural ambassadors of Norwegian tradition, to perform in local schools, community centers, and folk clubs. This summer, they are looking forward to performing more of their Sámi repertoire for Fargo’s Hjemkomst festival, and are also scheduled for a tour of Canadian folk festivals including the Mill Race Festival of Traditional Folk Music (Cambridge, Ontario).

A little more about each Sarah:

Sarah Granskou is an authentic modern scald (Nordic bard); her unique poetic narrative gives context for this exotic music. While Sarah draws on ancient art forms, her translations, lyrics and recitations are accessible today and relate often to her own experiences, such as living amongst the Inuit people, following the Sámi reindeer migration, working on Norwegian farms, playing for weddings in a Swedish ice church, and building 8-string fiddles. In 1998, 2000 and 2006, she presented a solo show throughout 11 states and provinces. Her thought-provoking and humorous performances have reached countless community and school audiences and she has performed at dozens of festivals such as the Yukon International Storytelling Festival, the Edmonton Heritage Festival, Hillside Festival, Nordic Festival, Høstfest, and the Trondheim Literature Festival. She was an opening act for
Oliver Schroer (Harbourfront) and for the Arrogant Worms (Vital Spark Folk Club), and was featured at the opening of the Museum of Civilization Viking exhibit and on the album, Midnight Sun, released by Toronto’s Ensemble Polaris. Sarah’s original English, Norwegian and multi-language lyrics have been aired repeatedly on the CBC, and in Norway she has been featured on national radio and television channels. Sarah has studied Norwegian, Sámi and Swedish folk music independently and with the support of the Canadian Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

Singing fiddler, Sarah Nagell, is an internationally touring folk musician specializing in traditional Norwegian singing and fiddling on both the Norwegian 8-stringed Hardanger fiddle and the vanleg fele, or violin. She currently runs her own music studio, Singing Fiddler Studios, offering musical recording as well as singing and fiddling lessons. Her formal education includes a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from St. Olaf College and a Master of Music degree in Contemporary Improvisation (voice and fiddle) from the New England Conservatory of Music. Nagell has also received vocal, fiddle and dance instruction at the Høgskolen i Telemark (Telemark University College) in Rauland, Norway. While there, she competed and played for dance in several folk music festivals including Rauland's Vinterkappleik, Kongsberg's Markenskappleik, and the national festival, Landskappleiken. In 2006 Nagell traveled to Japan with her 5-peice Norwegian group, Gjetord, to give concerts of Norwegian folk music in celebration of the 100-year anniversary of Edvard Grieg's life. In the summer of 2007, she will teach classes in singing and the playing of the Hardanger fiddle at the annual workshops of the Hardanger Fiddle Association of America.
Check out her website:

“He tunes and plays, and soon his gaze went wild and caught and burned all the tunes he’d learned as a child. Embers remember the spark…even in the dark.”

(from “Playin