Legendary violin- and accordion fiddler from Wermland. Teaches violin, ear training and ensemble. Acquired the first national fiddler's badge for accordion in 1979, after one year of practise. Trained composer who graduated from the Norwegian Academy of Music. Is a member in FST, SKAP and STIM. Has been a commissioner for folk music in the Swedish Arts Grants Committee's musician's group, 2000-2006. Plays with Groupa, Tina Quartey, Ellika Frisell, Jonas Simonson and others. Loves strong coffee with lots of honey.
Mats Edén is a brilliant fiddler firmly rooted i Wermlandian folk music tradition and he is an active musician, composer and pedagogue. He has also been one of the most important actors for the development of the Swedish folk music since the 1970s.
He is the artistic leader of the folk music group Groupa, which, since the beginning of the 1980s, has inspired both the development of ensemble play in Swedish folk music and the development of so-called world music, by involving folk music from different parts of the world in a meeting with Nordic folk music.
His trendsetter influence as a violin player, ensemble musician, composer and improviser within Swedish folk music can hardly be overstated and he has contributed majorly to today's multifaceted folk music life in Sweden.
Mats Edén is a musician who constantly challenges limits. His artistry has meant integration and meetings between different traditions, both between different folk music traditions, but also between folk music and art music and folk music and jazz.
A few examples
In the 1970s, Mats Edén actively participated in the documentation of Wermlandian folk music along with Leif Stinnerbom, among others. At the same time he has able to convert knowledge gained from documentation and archive research to artistically sustainable play styles, founded in tradition but with a strong personal interpretation. His and Stinnerbom's interpretation of Jössehärspolska, with a strongly assymetrical beat, has become something of an international peculiarity for Swedish folk music of today and is used in many genres.
Through this work he has also paid attention to the one- and two rowed accordion’s great value as a folk music instrument and in 1979 he becomes the first national fiddler on one rowed accordion. Along with his masterful violin playing, his both innovative and expressive playing on smaller accordions has come to inspire others both in Sweden and abroad.
He was one of the first to artistically prove that the music from the bordering countries of Sweden and Norway is closely connected and he extended his interest of Norwegian folk music by delving deeper into other Norwegian folk music traditions. His introduction and launching of these play styles in Sweden has completely changed today's Swedish fiddler tradition and has strongly contributed to the integration of Norwegian and Swedish folk musicians.
Many musicians who don't come from a fiddler environment have found their way into folk music through Edén's group Groupa. Many of these musicians have created their musical identity within folk music. Thereby, many of the folk music groups of the late 1980s and 1990s are a result of this work. Groupa has been one of the most important folk music groups from an international perspective for a long time, with followers in a number of other countries. His ability as a song writer has also inspired to an innovativeness of melodies within the genre. This also includes his abilities as an organiser, where he has created new patterns for how folk music can be played in ensemble form, taking off in initiated knowledge about the folk music's tonal, rhythmic and metric peculiarity.
Alongside his musical deeds, Mats Edén also works as an art music composer (trained at Norwegian Academy of Music under Lasse Thoresen and Olav Anton Thommesen). In a long line of compositions, he has sought different ways of integrating style elements of folk music into new art music. This is, for instance, documented on the internationally published portrait album Milvus.
Apart from the purely artistic work, Mats Edén is also of great importance as a pedagogue. He's been the head instructor for the folk music education at Malmö Academy of Music since the beginning of 1993. As such he's very much contributed to the place folk music has found within the music teacher programme, which resulted in music teachers specialising in folk music, trained in Malmö, working both within cultural schools and within classroom teaching of music.
Even though these examples above all concern the historic significance of Mats Edén's achievements, he is at his most active in the present day with, for instance, his work with Tina Quartey, where Nordic traditions meet afro cuban percussion in a congenial interaction in a new music, he demonstrates more convincingly than ever so many political manifests or musicological studies, how locally anchored music can meet across the borders in creating something new, without losing character and artistic integrity. (Ahlbäck, Hjorth, Ramsten, from nomination missive to the Royal Academy of Music).
• Mats Edén was named Composer of the Year at Music by Siljan , 1992. He wrote "Rättviksserenad" - a potboiler from Music by Siljan.
• He became National fiddler in 1979 on the one-rowed accordion, and thereby he became the first one on this instrument to receive the silver Zone badge and along with it the National fiddler title, with the repertoire he learnt from Oskar Andersson and Alfred Magnusson from Mangskog in Wermland.
• He's been represented with his own work at UNM (Young Nordic Music) festivals 1985 (Oslo), 1987 (Reykjavik) and 1988 (Oslo).
• Mats Edén has several hundred songs registered at STIM and several of Groupas repertoire are Mats' compositions. His present day works are located on Swedish Music (link)
• The opera, ”Den farliga natten”. Lyrics Anders Österling, arranged by Jan Mark and Jonas Jarl. Potboiled by Malmö Opera 2002. Written for five singers and four musicians in folk music style (flute, violin, keyed fiddle and cello).
• Pulsjord. Potboiler for Sveriges Radio P 2 for EBU broadcast 11 February 2008
• Fyrklöver, concert for treble saxophone and string-band.
• Concert for violin and orchestra in A, first performed September 11th 2008 Kirsebergs church, soloist Anne Sophie Andersen.
• ”Knaverlek”, concert for keyed fiddle and orchestra, written for Markus Svensson, potboiler for Royal College of Music in Stockholm.
• Den flygande kofferten, for cello and chamber ensemble, written for Mette Spang Hansen and for her graduation from Det Fynske Musikkonservatorium.
• Four miniaturs for violin, viola and guitar, performed by Stefan Östersjö and Ars Nova - Malmö.
• Stendroppar, music for guitar and percussion, played by Stefan Östersjö and Jonny Axelsson.
• Groupa received a grammy for the album Månskratt in 1990 and in 1995 for the album Imeland.
• In 1996 Mats Edén recieved a grammy for the ECM - productionen Nordan, which was a project initiated by Ale Möller and Lena Willemark.
• Grammy nomination in 1989 with Utan Sans/Groupa and in 1999 with Läckerbiten/solo project.
Discography, a selection
• Unga Värmlandsspelmän, 1977
• Lika många fötter i taket som På golvet, 1978
• Höppesving, 1980
• Av bara farten/Groupa, 1983
• Vildhonung/Groupa, 1985
• Utan Sans/Groupa-Grammisnominerad, 1988
• Månskratt/Groupa-Grammis, 1990
• Struling/soloprojekt, 1992
• Imeland/Groupa-Grammis, 1995
• Nordan-Grammis, 1996
• Agram/Nordan, 1997
• Läckerbiten/Solo, 1998
• Milvus/solo, 1999
• Tokpolskan/Ellika Frisell, 1999
• Lavalek/Groupa, 1999
• Avtryck/Solo, 2001
• Träd/Niss Kerstin Mattsson, 2002
• Fjalar/Groupa, 2003
• Vägen In/Tina Quartey, 2004
• Crane Dance. Jonas Simonson, Mattias Perez, Sten Källman, Johannes Lundberg
• Mats Edén, 2006
• Frost/Groupa, 2008
His first string quartet, played by the Norwegian string quartet CIKADA, is recorded on the solo album Milvus, published on ECM in1999.
Commissioner for folk music in the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s musician's group, scholarship inspector for folk music and song, 2000-2006. Nominated for the Royal Academy of Music in 2006.
In 1992 he was elected into FST och in 2000 into SKAP.
Since 2007, Mats Edén sustains the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s 10-year long time scholarship.
Last modified 18 Apr 2013