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Helge Lien | Knut Hem


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Biography


From Paris, Texas to Oslo, Norway

It’s a whopping 7644,27 km to get from Oslo to Paris, Texas. But once Helge Lien and Knut Hem reach for their dobro and piano, the distance feels like a stone’s throw. Combining the best from jazz and bluegrass, these two exceptional musicians are revealing the bewildering similarities between two contradictory worlds: The silent melancholy of the fjords and the endless solitude of the canyons; the freezing cold of the Norwegian hinterland and the red-hot freedom of the American highways.

References to Wim Wenders and Ry Cooder are entirely coincidental. And yet, the term ‘cinematic americana’ fits this music like a glove. Next to his dobro, Knut Hem’s Weissenborn, a legendary instrument from the 1930s and a spin on the well known lapsteel guitar, is at the heart of this unique sound.

As one of the leading specialists on the Weissenborn, Hem is capable of extracting every single nuance from it, creating a brilliant and crystal clear tone from it. And yet, it is precisely in those instances, when Lien’s piano temporarily takes the initiative that Hummingbird truly lifts off.

There may be many thousands of kilometres between Oslo and Paris, Texas. But you couldn’t even slip a piece of paper between these two musicians.

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