We are saddened to announce that Sonja passed away on February 8,
2018. We will miss her.
An obituary will be printed in the local Colorado paper which may be viewed online. It includes information on her March 4, 2018 memorial service in Colorado: http://www. legacy.com/obituaries/canyoncourier.
link to Sonja's
From the notes in the booklet of her 1981 record:
My parents came to the United States on a tramp steamer from Norway in 1926 and settled in Boston where I was born. My mother came from Drammen in Eastern Norway, and she sang songs and read stories and poems to me and my brother every day. My father, from Bergen on the Western coast, also sang and played Norwegian melodies on the mandolin and violin. By the time my mother got around to teaching me English so I could start school, I was already singing most of the songs on this album and many more.
When I was six we moved to Denver where there were few Norwegians. Living way out west in the American Rockies, I grew up in two separate worlds; our family atmosphere of Norwegian music, literature, history, and what were then strange and unusual activities like skiing, hiking, and camping. At the same time there was my American existence, my friends and school experiences. I accepted the contradictions in these two worlds, and the songs I absorbed were a source of personal pleasure and comfort as well as a link to my roots.
Then in 1958 I travelled around Norway, living with relatives in various regions and valleys, and studied at the University of Oslo Summer School. I learned more songs and began to understand where the songs of my parents came from and how they fit into the historical, linguistic, and regional picture of Norway.
My mother’s and father’s education was a product of the period of Norwegian Romantic Nationalism which had its beginnings in the dissolution of the 400-year-old union with Denmark in 1814. The result of this break was a discovery and rebirth of the old Norwegian language (Landsmål or Nynorsk) and the wealth of folk art, music, dance and poetry that lay hidden in the remote and isolated valleys of Norway for hundreds of years. It was a Nationalistic revival and a raging controversy between the advocates of Riksmål (“King’s English”) of the Daneified cities and the old “country” Norwegian, (complicated by innumerable dialects of each. A well-known joke says that if a Norwegian knows eight languages, seven of them are Norwegian.) It affected every aspect of Norwegian life: politics, art, literature, and education.
So this album contains old medieval ballads, newer folk songs from rural traditions, and written songs by well-known composers or poems set to folk tunes which embraced the sentiment of the period – in both languages and a variety of dialects. It is essentially a statement of my childhood inheritance, the music and culture of my parent’s generation which they brought with them to this country and passed on to me.
– Sonja Savig