How a song brought a guitar
January 8 2015 was a great day for Lillebjørn. Two days before he had arrived in Canada. A long night flight from his home town Oslo, Norway. Second day he saw his Laskin guitar for the first time in luthier William Grit Laskin’s wood smelling workshop in Toronto, Canada. Third day Lillebjørn played the instrument at his gig in the fameous Toronto venue Hugh’s Room.
About the Lillebjørn GOD NATT OSLO guitar:
Not knowing anything about the LUTHIER Laskin, Lillebjørn was in a recording session singing a song from his good friend, Pete Seeger’s repertoire. The Photographers. A bowdy parody a cappela ‘folk’ song. Very close to British isles. Set in a traditional style. Lillebjørn couraguesly translated, putting it in his native tongue. This time in Nynorsk, the Norwegian language closest to our inherited old ballads. Strangely the song lost little in translation! The Photographers became Vidvinkel Stev. The record company had to ask for permission. And Lillebjørn found the guitar maker..
Lillebjørn contacted Laskin asking if he could make him a ukulele?
‘No way! To small a canvas.
Master Laskin said: ‘OK. I like your music. Usually my waiting list is 6-8 years, but since I have put myself in the line, I’ll give you my number in the queue.’
Laskin asked Lillebjørn about doing his inlays. Lillebjørn: ‘Our Hardanger fiddles have mother-of-pearl and lots?’
Laskin: ‘Too boring.’
Lillebjørn: ‘Grit, free hands, you are the master!’
About William ‘Grit’ Laskin
WILLIAM “GRIT” LASKIN, a professional guitar maker since 1971, builds steel-string, classical, and flamenco guitars that are known and coveted around the world.
In 1997, he received Canada’s prestigious Saidye Bronfman Award For Excellence in the fine crafts and is the only instrument maker to be so honored.
He is also an elected fellow of the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts and is included in the ”Who’s Who in Canada” as well as the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.
In addition to building instruments, Grit is known internationally for his engraved inlay art. His most recent publication is A Guitarmaker’s Canvas: The Inlay Art of Grit Laskin.
To encourage the growth and public awareness of the luthier (makers and repairers of stringed instruments) craft, he co-founded the Association of Stringed Instruments Artisans. This is the international trade organization geared to professional builders and repairers of musical instruments. As president, in 1993 he authored the first code of ethics for luthiers.
Recently, for his groundbreaking work and for his contribution to the art, craft, and music communities in Canada, he was awarded in 2010 the Estelle Klein Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2012 he was presented with the Order Of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honour, given to those whose efforts and innovations have enriched the national culture.