The Wandering Ballad

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Program Type:

Celebration, Performance

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Registration for this event will close on April 27, 2024 @ 2:00pm.

Program Description

Event Details


Musical Performance by Scott and Johanna Hongell-Darsee

Scandinavian/Celtic Songs - From ancient epics to medieval and traditional ballads


People have sung stories since times immemorial as a way to memorize and record history and myths. A kind of stone age data base. The songs we today call medieval and traditional ballads have their roots among Nordic epic sagas, French romantic lays, Celtic lore and World mythology. As the songs have traveled, they have metamorphosed and melted into various musical traditions, weaving a world of fantasy and mystery. Scott and Johanna Hongell-Darsee are a duo who perform early traditional ballads, songs and tales from Scandinavia, The British Isles and other parts of the world. Their performances blend both modern and traditional instruments in unique, original arrangements.

Hongell-Darsee's wanderings have led them from Finland and Iowa respectively - through Europe, Scandinavia, India, and North America. On the way they have picked up tales and songs that they perform together with the stories behind them, in particular exploring the links between these story singing traditions. Three of their recordings have been nominated for Best Vocal Performance by the New Mexico Music Awards (2014, 2016, 2020). Their performances have been described as magical, inspiring, haunting, mesmerizing. After relocating to New Mexico from Scandinavia in 2001, Scott and Johanna have performed all over the U.S. at festivals, theaters, arts councils, universities, schools, libraries, and live broadcasts.

Johanna Hongell-Darsee began her performing arts career in 1980. She received her education in mime and theater at the Lecoq School in Paris, France and later studied Classical Indian Dance with Gurus Sri Kama Dev and Smt Savithri Jagannatha Rao. She also studied Abhinaya (the mimic part of the dance) with Guru Kalanidhi Narayanan and her students Uma Maheshwari and Nityakalyani Vaydjanathan. The past 25 years she has researched and performed medieval and traditional ballads. Before moving to New Mexico in 2001, she led a dance and theater company (Teater Bava) in Malmö, Sweden as well as toured throughout Sweden, Europe, USA and India. She has performed at festivals such as Avignon in France, La Batie in Switzerland, Tampere in Finland, Differenta Sensationi in Italy, and Kobenhavn Sommerscene in Denmark. She has taught Bharata Natyam as a guest artist at University of New Mexico Department of Theater and Dance.

Scott Darsee is an artist and musician who spent many years in Europe before moving back to the USA in 2001. Parallel to his artistic pursuits, he worked as a consultant at Ballet companies such as Dance Theatre of Harlem, London Festival Ballet, The English National Ballet, The Royal Danish Ballet and Hamburg Ballet. He also taught at the Danish State School of Modern Dance and worked at Teater Bava. Scott composes innovative arrangements and original themes on string instruments.


This program is suitable for adult as well as mixed all ages audiences.


"The Wandering Ballad" program has been made possible by the New Mexico Humanities Council in celebration of the 2024 Santa Fe Reads.


2024 Santa Fe Reads

2024 Santa Fe Reads, part of the NEA Big Read, is presented by the City of Santa Fe Public Library with the support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts Midwest, Friends of the Santa Fe Public Library, local sponsors, and community partners.


NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.


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