Tune of the Month: Na Fiskar's Vals
"Na Fiskar's Vals" aka "New Fisher's Waltz" from Clair Lundin
Clair Lundin of Spokane, WA played this lovely Swedish Waltz, aka the Fisherman's, or New Fisher's Waltz, for Annie and I back in 1992. Bernice played the piano and their son Arvid added some tasteful harmony lines. Listen carefully and you can hear the real Scandinavian flavor that makes up a large part of his style. Na Fiskar's Vals also appears on Northwest Folklife's "Washington Traditional Fiddlers Project: Volume I." Clair learned many of his first tunes from the fiddling of his uncle Axel and from his mother who would whistle the tunes. Other big chunks of his repertoire include the jigs and reels of the Canadians and the hoedowns of the "Missouri Homesteaders" whom he heard in the Idaho panhandle where he was born (1920) and raised. This mixing of cultures was quite common among traditional Northwestern dance fiddlers of his, and earlier, eras and more or less defines the Northwestern style of old time fiddling.
Clair and his twin brother, Grant, remember cutting a cord of wood in trade to the town barber for a fiddle. In no time at all they were playing regularly for dances. Though jobs were scarce as hen's teeth, they did manage to earn a few extra dollars with the old time tunes they played so well. Clair farmed, logged, repaired autos for a spell and in 1971 opened a violin shop in Spokane. Bernice's father, Dave Cassons, was also quite a fiddler in Idaho. Arvid avidly continues the family tradition, regularly regaling us with some lovely music at fiddle shows, Scandinavian events and contra dances.
Please contact me if you have questions or requests.
Stuart Williams, Music Editor
Updated April 1, 2010