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Accordion Uff Da! Let's Dance: Scandinavian Fiddle Tunes & House Party Music by Bruce Bollerud

Accordion Uff Da! Let's Dance: Scandinavian Fiddle Tunes & House Party Music by Bruce Bollerud. 60 pages with CD ($20.99) or audio download ($19.99)

The House Party was a rural neighborhood affair with fifteen or twenty people in attendance. People brought food, “a dish to pass,” and the musicians were local folks, mostly farmers. The parlor rug was rolled back, the musicians, two or three, played accordion, fiddle and guitar or banjo. The musicians sat in a corner or sometimes in a doorway between the kitchen and the parlor so the music, which was not amplified, could be heard in both rooms. Later in the evening the musicians would take a break and lunch would be served — then more music.

The party could last all night. Party goers would pass the hat and take up a collection for the musicians. The last song of the night was often “Home Sweet Home.”

If there was any alcohol at the party, it was usually handled pretty discreetly. Sometimes there might be a jug of homemade wine or some home brew beer in the milk house or behind the shed. My Uncle Lawrence (who played the fiddle) told me he had played a house party with a bandonion (a type of concertina) player by the name of Henry “Step and a Half” Hanson. Henry had a bad leg and limped. After they had played a while, Henry said he was going out for some fresh air. When he came back into the house he had a tell-tale red ring around his mouth which my uncle said came from drinking red wine from a jug.

I remember one party I went to with my parents when I was quite young. The farm had a wind mill generator to furnish the power for their lights, which were rather dim compared to our electric lights today. I remember it as quite cozy. They had a guitar, fiddle and button accordion playing. I remember them dancing a square dance called the Texas Star in which two couples had their arms on each others’ shoulders, four people in a group. They swung around in a circle until the ladies’ feet flew off the floor. It looked like a lot of fun.

They also played waltzes, polkas, schottisches and two steps. It was a close-knit group of neighbors and relatives, very warm, like a big family gathering. There were people from every age group, all sharing lots of food and conversation. When I hear House Party music, it brings back memories of a simpler time when neighbors got together and visited and had fun.

Bruce Bollerud

You'll also enjoy "International Accordion Favorites" book/CD set by Bruce Bollerud.

Table of Contents
The Tunes and Where They Come From
Kjarring Og Mann Slust
Sally’s Hoppwaltz
Stegen Waltz
Red Rooster Two Step
Skjorte Frak Waltz
Herman’s Schottische in D
Ryerson’s Hoppwaltz
Gra Lysining
Auction Pa Strommen
Johnny Homme’s Waltz
Minnesota 6/8 Two Step
Sentimental Selma
Art’s Waltz in A
Almando’s Polka
Abner Juve’s Waltz
Mabel Rag Two Step
Ryerson’s Waltz
Art’s Schottische
Grandpa’s Mazurka
Grandpa’s Waltz
Mabel Polka
Old Utica Waltz
Johnny’s Swiss Polka
Johnson’s Rhinelander Schottische
Cousin Olin’s Waltz
Tobacco Setter’s Waltz
Ole’s Schottische
Sugar Candy Schottische
Bruce Bollerud

photo by Dix Bruce

Customer comment:

I am 84 and I grew up in Wisconsin and Minn. I took up the mandolin four years ago to challenge my mind. And it sure does. I just got you book "Uff Da Let's Dance" and I am having so much fun with the music I grew up with. Thank you and Bruce Bollerud ...for all the effort you put into the book.

D. G.
Cleburne, TX

See blog review below left.

"Accordion Uff Da! Let's Dance" "Sugar Candy Schottische"

"Sugar Candy Schottische" audio sample

Bruce Bollerud Interview Excerpt #1 (How Bruce discovered Scandinavian House Party music)

Bruce Bollerud Interview Excerpt #2 (The House Party & Music #1)

Bruce Bollerud Interview Excerpt #3 (The House Party & Music #2)

Bruce Bollerud Interview Excerpt #4 (The House Party & Music #3)

Bruce Bollerud Interview Excerpt #5 (Future of House Party music)

Watch Dix Bruce play three tunes from "Mandolin Uff Da! Let's Dance: Scandinavian Fiddle Tunes & House Party Music."

"Accordion Uff Da! Let's Dance: Scandinavian Fiddle Tunes & House Party Music" by Bruce Bollerud. 60 pages with CD ($20.99) Add $2.92 for Media Mail (ten days to two weeks or more); $6.45 for Priority Mail (two to three business days).

"Accordion Uff Da! Let's Dance: Scandinavian Fiddle Tunes & House Party Music"60 pages audio download ($19.99) [NO CD INCLUDED] Add $2.92 for Media Mail (ten days to two weeks or more); $6.45 for Priority Mail (two to three business days).

A Note on Shipping & Postage

Orders shipped outside the U.S.A.

"International Accordion Favorites" book/CD set by Bruce Bollerud.
The Goose Island Ramblers, 1960s, l to r:
George Gilbertsen, Wendy Whitford, Bruce Bollerud.
Bruce Bollerud, 1958.
Mandolin Uff Da! Review
by Lanny Fields

I would like to bring attention to one of my favorite tunebooks: Mandolin Uff Da! Let's Dance! Scandinavian Fiddle Tunes and House Party Music by Dix Bruce, which is a collection of tunes from the repertoire of Goose Island Ramblers accordion player Bruce Bollerud and arranged for mandolin. (An accordion version of the book also exists).

Most of the tunes are fairly easy to play - wonderful, memorable melodies straight from the folk traditions of Minnesota and Wisconsin, with strong Scandinavian and German influences. This is music that the 75+ year old Bollerud has been playing all his life; learned as a youth in the Northern Mid-West from old Norwegian fiddlers/farmers and local string band combos (fiddle, accordion, guitar, maybe a banjo). The folk music of this region has not been preserved anywhere near as much as the Southern Appalachian fiddle tunes, for example.

All 28 tunes in the book are written out in both standard sheet music notation and mandolin tablature with chords - in a very easy to read format. Thankfully this book contains a handful of tunes that may have otherwise faded out. Practically all of these tunes were new to me, and in fact there were even some tune types that I hadn't heard of prior to this book (schottische, anyone?). The copy I ordered did not come with a CD, but it came with instructions for how to download these tracks online and that worked out just fine. Each tune on the recording is played at two speeds: a slow version and more up-to-speed. A novice or intermediate player should be able to immediately start playing some of these, even at the faster speed. Although some tunes are going to take a lot of practice to play properly.

The waltzes in particular have more "pop" to them than I would associate with a typical American waltz. Also this music definitely swings with a raggy feel, which I didn’t expect. Highlights for me include Sally’s Hoppwaltz, Ryerson’s Hoppwaltz, Minnesota 6/8 Two Step, Almando’s Polka, Mabel Rag Two Step, Mabel Polka, Johnson’s Rhinelander Schottische, Tobacco Setter’s Waltz, Sugar Candy Schottische and Skjorte Frak Waltz. I doubt I will ever tire of these. Eventually I’d like to learn this complete collection. The book also includes a transcript of an interview with Mr. Bollerud where he talks about the history of this music as well as each individual tune.

If you already play Irish, old-time or bluegrass, these tunes will fit right in with your repertoire. Learn some and take them to your local jams, sessions or contra dance. Others will really enjoy hearing and playing these tunes which you will have discovered!

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