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Norwegian Jew's Harp Forum

Norsk Munnharpeforum (NMF)

NMF was founded in 1998 and we now have nearly 150 members. NMF wants to fuel the interest in the Jew's Harp in Norway by teaching playing technique and supplying knowledge about our traditions, both on how the instruments are made and on music made for Jew's Harp. We find it important to maintain contact with societies in other countries and the international interest has become so huge that it has become an important task for us to publish this web site. Comments and suggestions on how to improve it are welcome.


The Board of Norsk Munnharpeforum:


Chairman: Bent Åserud


Deputy chairman and treasurer:

Sven Håkon Jørgensen

Secretary: Mona Ottesen

Board member: Karina Tangen

Board member: Viggo Vestel

Board member: Reidar Ottesen




Please contact Sven Håkon Jørgensen

E-mail: sven.jorgensen<at>vegvesen.no (Spam filter; replace <at> with @.)
Membership includes the journal Munnharpa.
Overseas members receive an English translation with each quarterly newsletter.


Member's newsletter "Munnharpa":

Editor: Bernhard Folkestad        

The quarterly newsletter "Munnharpa" is included in the membership fee. The newsletter contains

-          articles on well-known Jew's Harp players, smiths and on Jew's Harp traditions in Norway,

-          information about our festivals,

-          national and international news,

-          CD productions and other special events,

-          letters from interested readers.


We encourage readers to contribute! Please contact Bernhard Folkestad, 

E mail: bernhard.folkestad<at>gmail.com (Spam filter; replace <at> with @.)


Honorary members:


Erik Røine, Member of Honour in 2016:

Erik Røine played munnharpe longer than most. He was born in 1946 and grew up in a musical environment. His father was a violinist, but also a renowned fiddle-player who also played most other folk instruments, langeleik, ram's horn, lur and munnharpe.

Erik started folk dancing at an age of five and supposedly he had also begun with harmonica then. Moreover, he attended the Conservatory and learned to play the piano. Nine years old, he was almost like a professional to work on munnharpe: In 1955 he played in radio at several occasions, and in the late sixties he had a radio hit together with guitarist Robert Normann.

In 1992 and 1994 he won the Landskappleiken (national folk music competition). He participated in the founding of Norwegian Jew’s Harp Forum, and was a popular instructor and performer.

Erik Røine has made several recordings, of which “Munnharpa” and Munnharpa i 100” have to be highlighted. These were made together with Hallgrim Berg.

Erik Røine is appointed honorary membership for his lifelong engagement for the Norwegian munnharpe.


Bernhard Folkestad, Member of Honour in 2013:

Bernhard Folkestad was born in 1946 and grew up in various places in Vestfold. He has been a high scool teacher, and he has engaged himself in a lot of voluntary organizations, including collecting folk music and instrument making in addition to his work for Norwegian Jew’s Harp Forum, where he was a board member from the founding in 1998 till 2011. Beeing a teacher, he has made a great contribution to developing education methods and material and he has been a instructor for numerous munnharpe courses.


Bernhard Folkestad has been the editor of the members newsletter, Munnharpa,  since the beginning in 1998.

During this time, he has developed the journal into what it is today with four annual issues in color print. The journal plays an important role in documenting and informing about activities related to minnharpe in Norway. He has allways contributed with articles, and also translated all issues into English for foreign members. This has contributed to making the Norwegian munnharpe tradition known fare beyond the Norwegian borders. Bernhard Folkestad has a huge network of contacts all over the world.


Bernhard Folkestad’s contributions have been essential for  making the Norwegian Jew’s Harp Forum one of the most active Jew’s harp organizations of the world. The board of the Norwegian Jew’s Harp Forum find that Bernhard Folkestad more than full-fills the criterias in the statutes for beeing appointed a honorary membership. By doing this, the board of the Norwegian Jew’s Harp Forum want to thank Bernhard Folkestad for an unusual strong contribution for the Norwegian munnharpe, and we hope that we can benefit from his experiences and knowledge for years to come.



LeifLoechenLeif Løchen, Member of Honour in 2004:

Leif Løchen (1921 - 2011) was appointed honorary membership for his strong engagement for folk music and for his work on collecting information about, and revitalizing, older folk music instruments. He was also honorary member of "Landslaget for spelemenn" and of "Norsk lur- og bukkehornlag". In 2001 he got “The King's Medal of Merit” in gold. He got several other prizes for his cultural contribution.

He published several articles and books.




Rolf Karlberg, Member of Honour in 2004:

Rolf Oddvar Karlberg was appointed honorary membership for his work on arranging the first Jew’s harp festivals in Norway. He was judge at competitions and held several courses in playing and dancing techniques, of primary interest are the annually held Jew’s harp playing courses. Rolf had an outstanding knowledge of folk music and dance and he was also a top performer on Jew’s harp, Hardanger fiddle and kveding (folk song). Together with his wife, Magny, he has won a first prize in dance at the Landskappleiken.

Rolf has been CEO at Valdres Folk Museum and has taken on several duties in folk culture organizations. He produced the Jew’s harp CDs "Låtta o låttestev frå Valdres" and "Tre ord te de", and published several articles, resulting from his music and dance research.




Bjorgulv 320x360.jpgBjørgulv Straume, Member of Honour in 2008:

Bjørgulv was one of the main contributors in the Norwegian revival of the Jew’s harp in the 1980s. The cassette "Luftslaget", the first with munnharpe as the main instrument, was enthusiastically received by several younger people, and became a reference for the new trend in Jew’s harp playing for several years. Apart from creating his own style, Bjørgulv has held several workshops and published the CDs Frå ætt til ætt and Hrynhendt, the latter with the pianist Øystein Kikut. He has also participated on other recordings, like Frå Senegal til Setesdal together with Kirsten Bråten Berg, Solo Cissokho and Kouame Sereba.

Both at home and abroad, he has built a reputation as one of the best and most productive munnharpe smiths. He has won his class at the Landskappleiken two times, and this has led to the acceptance of the munnharpe as a serious instrument.



IMG_0067 Reidar.jpgReidar Sevåg: Member of Honour in 2008:

Reidar Sevåg has been central in the folk music research in Norway. He has had several positions at the Norwegian Folk Museum and at the University of Oslo. He has also been editor and author of several publications. Especially, his book on folk music instrument, “Det gjallar og det læt” (1973), has become a classic.

In 1966, Reidar Sevåg participated in a popular TV program, Falkeklubben, where he told about the Jew’s harp. This was the main reason for the Norwegian munnharpe boom in the late sixties.

With his engaging lectures and radio programmes, he was a force behind the increasing interest in the munnharpe, and gave several people their first knowledge of it as a Norwegian music instrument. Sevåg also encouraged Arne Haugli, one of the employees at the Folk Museum, to start making munnharpes. It became a great success, and Haugli produced more than 600 instruments. 



Are you interested in receiving e-mail about upcoming events?

Send a mail to: sven.jorgensen<at>vegvesen.no (Spam filter; replace <at> with @.)


Web page editor is Einar Turtum.


E mail: einar<at>turtum.no (Spam filter; replace <at> with @.)


©2000 Norsk Munnharpeforum

Sist oppdatert 2018-10-25