THE HALDEN GUITARISTS – GEIR SUNDSTØL
Updated: Aug 12, 2022
As we all now are beginning to understand, to the south of Oslo on the border of Norway near the Swedish border and northwest frontier lies the town of Halden. Musically and culturally, this is the deep south – and a strong bastion to the country’s Americana music movement and music in general.
For the better part of a decade, Halden was home to the “Down on the Farm” Americana music festival, with Halden IMFF co-founder Tom Skjeklesæther being one of the primus motors behind the initiative.
Although Down on the Farm is now history, the music and culture in the town flourishes. This town is the home to the iconic Athletic Sound Studio, the Culture House (Kulturhuset) recently opened, the historical Aladdin theatre – and the roots of a wide range of musicians.
Today we profile one Halden guitarist who has definitely made his mark far beyond their hometown of Halden – Geir Sundstøl.
A Haldenite, Geir Sundstøl is a multi-instrumentalist who has toured all over the world, drawing his inspiration from jazz, blues, roots, and country. But he is more than just a musician. For those who know him, and his music characterize it – and him - as original, eccentric, all told – an interesting fellow. An avid collector of instruments, his home studio is full of rare and unusual finds.
In 2015, his first record came out under his own name, Furulund. For the album, he was nominated for the Spellemannprisen (Norwegian Grammy), later winning the prize in 2018 in the open class for his third album, Brødløs.
His Niche in Cinematic Lore
Knowing an interesting personality when they meet one, the Coens created Fargo character and Swedish sociopath Gaear Grimsrud based on Geir. Of course, the Coen brothers truly occupy a special niche in film, and forever, Geir Sundstøl occupies a place in the seven-time Oscar nominated film that took away two Oscar wins.
He is charismatic with true character, and it was in the mid-90s, Geir toured with the American musician Jimmie Dale Gilmore in the USA after he was discovered by Gilmore during the Down on the Farm festival in 1993. It was during that tour with Gilmore that Sundstøl met the film directors and brothers Ethan and Joel Coen.
He is everywhere!
If you listen to the airwaves, you cannot miss Geir Sundstøl, for years he was the most frequently played performer on Norwegian radio. In total, he has contributed to more than 260 Norwegian, Swedish and American releases.