10 December 2009


I was looking through a catalogue of twentieth-century Norwegian piano music (the way you do) when I came across an interesting short piece by Geirr Tveitt (b. 1909, Bergen; d. 1981) called 'Huldre - bufora'. Well as we all know, and Wikipedia is always ready to remind us, in Scandinavian folklore a huldre is a stunningly beautiful, sometimes naked woman with long hair; though from behind she is hollow like an old tree trunk, and has an animal's tail.

Well, I suppose 'hollow like an old tree trunk' is a pretty accurate description of BUFORA these days, but I couldn't make out why a Norwegian composer would be celebrating a British UFO group. The catalogue helpfully gave an English translation of the title as 'Huldre - transhumans'. This was even more puzzling. I found that American ufologist Mac Tonnies was claiming to be a practitioner of 'transhuman ufology' HERE, but its relationship to Norwegian piano music seemed marginal. Then I noticed that the word was actually transhumance and all became clear(ish).

Another source told me that transhumance is the "transfer of livestock from one grazing ground to another, as from lowlands to highlands, with the changing of seasons".

So in Norwegian, bufora is the practice of moving cattle around in large numbers. Having learned this, I wish I could make some smart, satirical comment, but I just don't seem to be able to.

By the way, if you'd like to hear some of Tveitt's music, and it's really rather lovely, here's a link to buy the CD with the bufora piece on it in an orchestral arrangement.:

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10.1.10

    Hello John,
    Thanks for the loan of the early BUFORA magazines, which we posted on our website in gratitude for your assistance.
    BUFORA is very much alive and well, as you will find on our latest news.

    "Well, I suppose 'hollow like an old tree trunk' is a pretty accurate description of BUFORA"

    Thanks John