A fine day three talented Swedish folk musicians decided to combine their efforts to make up some nice modern folk music. They are the renowned percussionist/multi-instrumentalist Olle Linder (Ranarim, Jul i Folkton), the cool Scanian Dan Svensson (Alla Fagra) and a star on the rise, nyckelharpa player Emilia Amper (Skaran).
They still don´t have any record, but they posted some nice videos from youtube on their facebook page. Here I share them with you, hoping you like them too.
Alla fagra has started a “vinterblogg” (yeah, you guessed it “winter-blog”) where they will post 7 (!) new songs with a wintery theme before Christmas.
They Write: “För oss som bor i Norden är tiden runt jul den kallaste tiden på året. Vi tror att oavsett vem du är, är det extra viktigt med något som värmer, inte bara utanpå utan även inuti. Alla Fagras musik har sin grund i den svenska folkmusiktraditionen men färgas ständigt av omvärlden. Nu vill vi skänka värme till alla som fryser när snön yr runt husknuten. Vi är alla fagra!”
In translation, “For us who live in the Nordic countries, the time around Christmas is the coldest in the year. We believe that no matter who you might be, it is extra important to have something that keeps you warm, not only on the outside but also within. Alla Fagra´s music finds its ground in the Swedish folk music tradition but it is constantly coloured by the surroundings. No we will give away warmth to all who freeze when the snow swirls around the corner of the house. We are alla fagra/all beautiful!”
I strongly recommend you check them out, at the moment there are four of them and cannot decide which is better…
Michal Shapiro (contact her) has conducted a nice little interview with Austrian hurdy-gurdy player Matthias Loibner, where he talks about his instrument, his playing and he actually ends up showing how the hurdy-gurdy works and sounds like.
The Hurdy-Gurdy has an undeserved reputation as a “medieval” instrument. In truth, it has been developing since then, with many innovations added to it along the way. In the hands of Matthias Loibner, recognized as one of the great players of the instrument, it moans, growls and coos within a startling dynamic range. Beyond the modifications he has personally developed with Wolfgang Weichselbaumer, who crafts the instruments he also uses pedals and computer technology to expand the palette of the instrument even further.
Mr. Loibner was in town for two back-to-back gigs, one at Joe’s Pub and the other at the Austrian Cultural Forum. I had the opportunity to see both performances, and I snagged him for an interview and explanation of his instrument.
Even if you already know a lot about the Hurdy Gurdy, I recommend watching this all the way through to catch the last bit of performance in which Loibner plays a passage worthy of Bill Frisell.
Melnitsa is a Russian folk rock band. It was founded in 1999 by Natalia “Hellawes” O’Shea and Alexey “Chus” Sapkov around the remnants of a local folk band ‘Till Eulenspiegel’.
For the first several years the band had worked the club and festival circuit, earned a bona fide cult status in the folk-n-fantasy teenage sub-culture and released an acoustic album Doroga Sna (Дорога Сна, The Road of Dream) featuring the underground hit Gorets (Горец, Highlander) set to the Russian translation of Robert Burns’ Highland Harry Back Again.
Luck struck in 2005, when the lead single Nochnaya Kobyla (Ночная Кобыла, Night mare) off their second, more pop-infused album Pereval (Перевал, Mountain Pass) had been sneaked into rotation on Nashe Radio (the name and lyrics of the song are a complex allusion to Mara, a Norse mythical entity that caused nightmares). A grass-roots chart effort by fans propelled the song to #1 position in the “Best Of Year” chart, and the band to the small arena circuit (sparsely populated in Russia).
Their latest albums Zov Krovi (Зов Крови, Call of Blood) and Dikiye Travy (Дикие Травы, Wild Grasses, released early 2009) features the same lyrical and melody themes underscored by more rhythm section support from the band.
Video: Мельница (Melnitsa) – Невеста полоза (The Snake Bride)