Arne Sørensen – Danish bluegrass pioneer retires from organizing concerts

This report is a contribution from Lars Hansen, a member of the Board of Directors for Bluegrass Music Denmark.

After a lifetime of organizing concerts in Denmark, and bringing European and US bands to Copenhagen, Arne Sørensen has retired as chair of Bluegrass Music Denmark this fall, coinciding with his 80th birthday November 26.

Arne started as a jazz musician, but soon fell in love with bluegrass music and the banjo after his brother built him one, using metal hoops made by Arne. Becoming a prolific banjo player and teacher, he has played in numerous bands since the early years, and continues to perform live gigs. He has been a regular visitor to events and festivals throughout Europe, and many will also know him from his visits to IBMA conventions, and US tours with his band, Græshopperne.

Since 1980, he has played a key role in the organizational work, first with Country, Bluegrass & Oldtime in Denmark, and until this year as head of Bluegrass Music Denmark, arranging 10 concerts each year featuring local, European, and international bluegrass artists in Copenhagen.

Not only has he brought numerous musicians and bands to town, his basement in the capitol’s suburb has also been a famous location for jams and band practices, and has served as a guest house for many visiting musicians. 

The retirement has certainly not put an end to bluegrass in the Copenhagen area, and with new members of the board Signe Borch, Rick Hauchman, and Lars Hansen, the next generation is ready to keep the music flowing and the concerts happening – touring bands are encouraged to reach out to Bluegrass Music Denmark if visiting northern Europe.