The Sutter Brothers, a poetry and music duo. The brothers are both artists but award winners separately. Bart and Ross Sutter both see the world artistically — Bart through words writing poetry and books. Ross through music by writing music, singing, and playing instruments to educate and entertain. Brothers they are and third-generation Nordics who recognize the history of their past and the culture of America that their great-grandparents came to for a life of freedom from the starving and feudal life they left.
The afternoon concert will be held at 2 p.m. at the Henning Landmark Center, 415 Douglas Ave., in Henning, and will be co-hosted with the Leif Erikson, Sons of Norway, of Vining. Refreshments will be served at the event.
Ross and Barton explore the experience of Scandinavian immigrants and their descendants in a series of programs, “Sons and Daughters of the Northern Lights,” starting Nov. 4 in Glenwood which includes Hancock, Wheaton, Browns Valley, Starbuck, Morris, Fergus Falls, Pelican Rapids, Osakis, Perham,New York Mills and the Nov. 19 in Henning.
Ross is best known as an instrumental player and singer of Scandinavian, Scottish, and Irish songs, and for his wide repertoire of American traditional and popular songs. He is at home in any situation from concert hall to library or school, from outdoor festival to senior center, as a solo performer or with additional musicians or dancers. With a degree in music education, Ross has years of experience working with children, and has developed many popular and time-tested school programs on a variety of engaging themes. In 2011 Ross was honored to receive the Sally Ordway Irvine Award for excellence in arts education.
Primarily a poet, Bart enjoys working in a variety of genres. For several years, Bart wrote and broadcasted monthly commentaries for Minnesota Public Radio. These essays were collected in “Cold Comfort: Life at the Top of the Map” (U of MN, 1998), which won both the 1999 Minnesota Book Award for creative non-fiction and the Northeastern Minnesota Book Award. He has published poems, essays, and stories in dozens of magazines and produced nine books.
His most recent book is “Nordic Accordion: Poems in a Scandinavian Mood” (Nodin Press, 2015). “My Father’s War and Other Stories” (Viking, 1991, U of MN 2000) won the 1992 Minnesota Book Award in fiction. “The Book of Names: New and Selected Poems” (BOA Editions, 1993) won the 1994 Minnesota Book Award for poetry.
Bart Sutter has read his work to a wide variety of audiences—from the public library in Bovey, to the City University of New York, from the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis to Pittsburgh’s International Poetry Forum. He often performs as one half of The Sutter Brothers, a poetry-and-music duo. He is featured in the documentary “Pretty Much 100% Scandinavian: Saga 4” by the Swedish film company, Camera Q.
Ross accompanies himself on guitar, dulcimer, button accordion and bodhran, the Irish goatskin drum. He is happy to tailor a program to a sponsor’s event, such as songs of immigration for museums and schools, Irish and Scottish songs for Celtic festivals, or Scandinavian singing games and dances for midsummer or Christmas celebrations.
Ross’s instrument building workshops are a special treat for children and families. His popular one-string dulcimer and dancing limberjack building workshops are time tested and always lead to successful completion and an instrument that will last for years. These workshops are appealing for mixed age groups and have been a great success in schools, festivals, camps and churches.
As third-generation Swedish-Americans, Ross and Bart are inspired by their Scandinavian heritage, performing songs learned from their grandmother and from travels and study. They were raised in small towns in the Upper Midwest with Bart graduating from Southwest Minnesota State University in 1972 with a B.A. in language arts and an M.A. from Syracuse University in 1975. Ross’ “adopted” cultures of Scotland and Ireland have also provided a rich resource of music and song.
Barton is the only author to win the Minnesota Book Award in three different categories. For 10 years, Sutter worked as a printer (Boston and Minneapolis) and then made his living as a freelance writer and part-time instructor at various institutions, including St. John’s University; the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; and the University of Minnesota, Duluth. In 2011, he retired from more than a decade of teaching fulltime at the University of Wisconsin, Superior.
Brother Ross’ work is featured on the recordings “Walking on Air,” “Up the Raw,” “Crossing the Shannon,” “Hunger No More,” “Songs By Heart,” “Over the Water,” “Ye Banks and Braes,” and on his highly popular children’s recording, “Mama Will You Buy Me a Banana?”
For more information about their programs, call 218-739-5289 or viking.lib.mn.us or for the Henning performance call 218-282-0332.