The musical traditions of the Balkan Mountains have been introduced to audiences in Norway by multi-instrumentalist Stian Carstensen and his band Farmer's Market.
Although he formed the group as a free jazz ensemble, Carstensen increasingly steered the band toward Balkan folk music, combining traditional and modern approaches into a unique, folk-rooted music. Playing the accordion from the age of eight, Carstensen immersed himself in heavy metal music as a teenager. Although he taught himself to play the guitar, the accordion remained his instrument of choice. Joining with students of the jazz department at the Conservatory of Trondheim, Carstensen formed Farmer's Market in late 1991. The original group, which featured bassist Finn Guttormsen, guitarist Nils Olav Johansen, saxophonist Havard Lund, and percussionist/drummer Jarle Vespestad, recorded their debut album, Speed-Balkan-Boogie, at the Molde International Jazz Festival in 1994. With Lund's departure in 1995, woodwinds player Trifon Trifonov was recruited as his replacement. Carstensen recorded his second album, Music From the Hybrids, with a scaled-down version of Farmer's Market that included Johansen, Vespestad, and Guttormsen. His third album, Sommerbrisen, released in 1998, featured bassist Arild Andersen and guitarist Frode Alnaes. ~ Craig Harris, Rovi