Showing posts with label Scandinavian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scandinavian. Show all posts

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Interview and first San Francisco show with Swedish teenage sister duo First Aid Kit

Klara, 17 and Jöhanna, 19 Soderburg are First Aid Kit

“When I fall in love with music...I want to share.” That was the email I received from a friend of mine the Fall of 2008 introducing me to First Aid Kit’s cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song.” I fell in love too and can’t wait to check out the two Swedish teenage sisters play the Bottom of the Hill next Tuesday, June 2nd.

First Aid Kit is Jöhanna and Klara Soderburg, ages 19 and 17. They grew up in a suburb south of Stockholm getting an early start making videos in a forest near their home and posting them on youtube and myspace. The cover caught the attention of fellow Swedes the Knife, who released the EP Drunken Trees on their label Rabid Records last year. Earlier this year Wichita Records released the full length album The Big Black and the Blue.

The Fleet Foxes cover might be what draws you in, but their original music is what keeps you there with lyrics well beyond their years and vocal harmonies perfectly intertwining the girl’s strong voices.

Other than a quick jaunt to South by Southwest earlier this year, this is the duo’s first American tour. I caught an email interview with Jöhanna, the older of the two sisters. She talked about writing songs with her sister, advice for other female musicians and how the Internet has helped First Aid Kit on their way.

Read the interview here



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Swedish Radio Choir: leading in adventurous programming - another cool choir

The Swedish Radio Choir does not play it safe. They go all out for the rare, hard-hitting, obscure and difficult. And when a musical ensemble takes risks, it is memorable. Even a week later, my ears are still buzzing from some of the repertoire performed by The Swedish Radio Choir by Cal Performances at Hertz Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. It was also exciting to see Ragnar Bohlin, Chorus Director of the San Francisco Symphony as guest conductor. He has worked with the Radio Choir in the past and teamed up with them for their 2010 Spring tour.

Even though I have sung in choirs for over half of my life and have a deep love for this music, I would not consider myself a choral music specialist. However, I will usually be familiar with at least one or two selections on any given program. From this program, I only recognized the names of Gustav Mahler and Johann Sebastian Bach. It is always exciting to hear music that is completely new to the ears. The Radio Choir features Swedish compositions, rarely performed pieces of the great masters and relatively obscure composers from all over the world.

The piece that I can still hear buzzing in my ears and that I am most excited about is Anders Hillborg's "Mouyayoum," composed for 16-part-chorus without text [hear excerpts in video below].

TO READ MORE CLICK HERE

Monday, May 11, 2009

Theresa Andersson's one woman show comes to the Swedish American Hall

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I first saw Theresa Andersson and her one woman band in Austin last March at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas.  But as soon as she started I was a fan. This tiny woman has pipes, she's got creativity and she's got spirit. And I'm excited to again see the Swede now calling New Orleans home this Thursday, May 14th at the Swedish American Hall in San Francisco.

Many artists use audio looping to take their show on the road: it's cheaper than taking along band. I've seen KT TunstallImogen HeapYoav and Magnet do it (click on the links and watch them do it!).  It's always interesting and each artist uses the technology in a different creative way. Some people layer one instrument over and over again like Tunstall, Magnet and Yoav and some, like Andersson are multi-instrumental. You're not watching a regular performance where one note can be played wrong and in a split second it's gone, each musical moment depends on the one before it. It's more of an intricate dance between person and machine.

Continue Reading my article at Examiner.com...



Friday, March 20, 2009

SxSW Day 2 highlights: Efterklang, Girls in Trouble, The Sway Machinery & Golem


















If I had a Girls Rock Camp day on Wednesday, Thursday was my Jewish day. 

My sunlit hours were a bit of a wash (which has to be expected), but we did stumble upon experimental Danish band Efterklang (meaning "echo") at the French Legion. With 8 musicians on stage, I think each instrument on earth was present.  This is of course, not true, but this band is interesting enough for me to pass onto fans of folks like Akron/Family.

I then got myself a seat at the gorgeously remodeled speakeasy on Congress to see the JDub Records showcase including: Girls in Trouble, The Sway Machinery & Golem.

Firstly, let me just share that within the first hour of arriving, a girl came around with free sausage wraps - at a jewish record label sponsored party. I had myself a good chuckle. People, of course, ate them up. 

Golem violinist, Alicia Jo Rabins, has a new project called Girls in Trouble. This description comes from their myspace page
GIRLS IN TROUBLE started as an attempt to get out of writing a thesis for a masters degree in theology and grew into a song cycle which grew into a band.

These are songs that tell ancient stories of girls in trouble from that hotbed of human and divine darkness, The Bible.

Girls with names like Dinah and Tamar, and some whose names were never recorded. Tales of runaways, human sacrifice, and illicit seduction from a time before God and the Devil got separated out from each other. 
This was my favorite tune of the set:  

Hunter from hoovesontheturf on Vimeo.

Finally the club filled up, and we got to bask in the frenetic energy of The Sway Machinery and Golem. I've now seen The Sway Machinery three times since October, and they never disappoint (read an old blog post here). With an all-star lineup of musicians (from Antibalas, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Balkan Beat Box & Arcade Fire), these guys are tight. They also have a lot of fun, bumping into each other onstage and dancing around.  I love their suits too.

Finally at 1am, Golem took the stage. Rather than donning an according, the pregnant Annette rocked a red keytar. That baby is going to be cool.  My favorite new song?: "Tucheses and Nenes" (listen on their myspace page). For  those that don't know, these are certain female body parts.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Gunther: And why the Swedes crack me up



To those that have not yet been graced with his presence, let 2009 welcome you with Sweden's Gunther (Mats Söderlund): a hysterical model turned europop parody.   

Once you get past the pornographic mustache, pouty lips, terrible dance moves, and mullet (and the scantily clad "Sunshine Girls"), you won't be able to get these songs out of your head. You are welcome to curse me for it.

Here is "Ding Ding Dong"




And another gem: "Tutti Frutti Summer Love." Nothing beats the flying fruit and extra special surprise you get at 3:13.



What's the funniest thing you've seen on the internet lately?

Friday, November 21, 2008

First Aid Kit: "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" Cover

Since I'm on a kick of showing you guys awesome covers, here's Sweden's First Aid Kit forrest version of "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" by the Fleet Foxes.  Thanks to Liz for showing this to me a few months ago.



I don't know what is up with the forests in Sweden, but those are some crazy acoustics they're getting!  I was thinking that maybe there is a large rock wall behind the camera that the sound is bouncing off of.

See the Fleet Foxx original here (psst, when I listen to their version, I just wanna listen to those two Swedish girls sing it again) But it really is a gorgeous song.

I really dig this 60s folk rock thing that is going on right now.

Here First Aid Kit's original music here.

I added a couple Fleet Foxes songs I dig on the playlist and First Aid Kit's "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" cover.  

Enjoy the gorgeousness.