Author Archives: celtadmin

Le Garçon de l’Automne- Leaves Are Falling (2020) review



There are five things going through my mind as I listen to Leaves Are Falling, the debut album of Quentin Maltrud, alias Le Garçon de l’Automne. Those thoughts are:
– ‘That sounds nice.’
– ‘Oh wow!’
– ‘This has potential.’
– ‘You might want to rethink that part.’
– ‘Yes he has so much potential.’

The first three are the predominant thoughts I have after listening to Leaves Are Falling though. Leaving me with a really positive feeling after listening to Quentin’s music. You could see this debut album as Quentin’s journey through the pagan folk scene. From medieval music up to pirate folk, and from dark Nordic folk to the warm nostalgic Mediterranean sound, he had a taste of all of them on this record. Quentin’s main instrument is the hurdy-gurdy. He started playing around five years ago, inspired by the music of Eluveite. As our young Frenchman discovered more and more folk music he also taught himself how to play the Irish bouzouki, recorder, several flutes, chalumeau, didgeridoo, kalimba, darbuka, hammered dulcimer, percussion,surpeti, jouhikko, and keyboard, among others. (Oh and he also sings the lead vocals on Leaves Are Falling.) Again a clear cross-section through all de different styles of European folk. It proves Quentin to be a curious person, or as he is described by our college of Mythologica in an interview: – ‘A traveler in music.‘ Well then, let’s travel with him.
The first track I want to mention is called Alioth. It’s an instrumental piece, starting nice and traditional, but you will quickly hear the potential in Quentin’s arrangements. The intro with the hurdy-gurdy and Medieval percussion is fun, but still predictable; the choir, coming in at 01:48 most definitely is not, nor is the cool keyboard sound just before that. An original mix of 70’s Mike Oldfield keyboards mixed with a healthy splash of organ. It really adds to the song, as does the marimba I hear around 2:30. A really cool touch. I also like the way Alioth is built-up, keeping me interested all the way to the end, even though it’s all based upon one single melody. Well done Quentin, a nice first impression.

Quentin tops that straight away with Stars, my first ‘WOW’ moment on Leaves Are Falling. It is a song he wrote together with some members of Scurra, and it is truly impressive at times! The wow-element starts straight away with a lovely music box intro. So nice and delicate! It is followed by a beautiful violin melody, played by Ombeline la Fougueuse (Scurra), that reminds me a lot of Vael. The whole feel of this song reminds me of this Spanish band actually. The choir coming in at 2:40 is really impressive. It is quite bold for a starting musician/music producer to throw something like that into a composition. It is one of the many moments that I can hear the potential in Quentin’s music. He clearly isn’t afraid to try things out. And they quite often surprise me in a pleasant way. I already mentioned the intro, but there is also the music box outro, with a lot of phasing effects on it. I only wish Quentin would have played with some stereo effects here, making the sound wider and even more interesting. That would have been the icing on the cake, but: potential, potential, potential!

Tiniri is another song that gives me a lot of positive vibes. It is a medieval song with an exotic touch of Eastern percussion and Middle Eastern backing vocals. I love the marimba/guitar part in the middle, with some cool spoken word bits over it, in Arabic no less. The powerful orchestral follow-up is also pretty darn impressive. You could only wish the instruments were spread out more in the overall sound for an even bigger impact. Now everything is sitting safely in the middle of the stereo image. Placing some instruments left and right in that stereo image, having the percussion or marimba come from both sides, playing a bit more with effects, are neat producer tricks that would make such a difference. But, having said that, Tiniri is a cool track with a lot of potential to become a WOW song. The same goes for A Devil Made Me Do It. A cool song as is, but with so much more potential hidden in it. The evil laughing in this song for instance. As a listener, you want to be engulfed in it. Had it been coming from all sides on my headphones, it would have scared the living daylights out of me, (and would have had just the effect Quentin intended.) Still, a potential WOW song

Talking about WOW songs! Saltatio Vita has it all. It’s a beautiful ballad sung by Quentin and I can say he sounds beautiful in his own language. Saltatio Vita is the perfect song for his slightly fragile singer-songwriter voice. A tender melody carried by the guitar, with lovely flute and violin solos added to it. A perfect match. Quentin’s vocals also blend beautifully with those of guest singer Aubelia l’Ecumeuse, and the backing choir formed by Scurra members Aubelia, Ombeline, and Fergus Mac Aron. Easily my favourite song on this CD. This shows ALL the potential Quentin has as an artist, songwriter, and producer.



After Saltatio Vita, Quentin gives dark Nordic folk a try and.., well…, it isn’t the best part of the album, to be completely honest. Nordic folk from bands like Garmarna, Hedningarna, (or certain Asynje and Brisinga songs), are known for their dark mythological feel; their deep Viking vocals; epic yet melancholic nyckelharpa chords; and (occasional) almost out-of-key seljeflojt solos, that end up being hauntingly beautiful.
I can hear Quentin trying to do the same, but he regularly crosses that thin line between hauntingly beautiful and clearly out of key, especially in Båtens För. Quentin’s voice is too much of a high-pitched, soft singer-songwriter one, to be comfortable in the low, deep chords he is trying to sing. (The same reason why Oliver SaTyr (Faun) would sound totally out of place as the lead singer of Heilung). The seljeflojt- and chalumeau solos do not help the two Nordic folk songs either, especially in Båtens För they are just off the mark. I can hear the potential in these two songs, especially in Nattkulten, but they are saved for prosperity just a touch too soon in my opinion.
Luckily Quentin redeems himself quickly as he leads us into the shanty section of Leaves Are Falling. Au Fond Des Brumes is a nice French shanty, with a cool accordion solo by Laurens Krah, ( Imbue/ Pyrolysis), that plays right into Quentin’s strengths. If I’m nitpicking, Quentin’s voice could be a bit stronger at some points, but nothing a bit of vocal coaching can’t solve. That would be my general advice for the next album actually: Get some friendly pairs of ears to help take the music up to the next level.

In an interview Quentin did with our colleagues of Mythologica (published below) he told that Le Garçon de l’Automne became a solo project because he couldn’t find like-minded musicians in his neighbourhood. In retrospect he said that he actually liked working alone because it gave him the chance to develop his music alone, not having to compromise as you do in a band situation. I agree with him. Working solo gave Quentin the chance to define his own style of pagan folk. He was able to explore all the different styles of folk that inspired him unhindered, and it helped him learn things he might never have taken on if he’d been in a band situation.
Listening to Leaves Are Falling I think Quentin is now ready for the next step, working together with experienced, talented musicians like Laurens Krah, or a talented producer like Štěpán Honc (Perkelt), will make him want to become better, to push his music to the next level. Having talked to Quentin after he read the review I wrote, I could sense his drive to learn. I’m sure more experienced musicians will give Quentin a big push forwards. Not because he has to, no because he wants to!

There is so much potential to be found on this record. NVTTO for instance is a beautiful catchy song that only needs one or two recording tweaks to make it a WOW song. That glockenspiel in NVTTO is so cool, it just needs a tweak and it will become ‘wow’. Or the didgeridoo in the same song. I already like it. Make it sound more massive and Quentin is onto a winner. The same goes for the organ/choir start of Lava Veins. Already a cool idea as it is. Go even bolder with it and it will become epic. It’s those post-production tricks that Quentin now has to learn.
Listening to the whole album I know the ingredients are there for a smashing second CD. All the potential is there. Some of the songs on Leaves Are falling are really good, there are some truly original ‘flavours’ added to the music, and the contributions of the guest musicians are well-choosen additions. I truly feel working with an experienced musician like Štěpán could be the last piece of the puzzle. I know there is more inside Quentin Maltrud. I can hear it between the notes. I’m going to enjoy watching this young musician grow in the coming years. I’m sure of it.

– Cliff



Editor: Sara
CD Cover: Robin Kley Photographies
pictures:
Lollipop Studio (1)
Robin Kley Photographies(2)

Trolska Polska – EufoRI (2020) review



Being a CeltCast reviewer has made me discover a lot of beautiful records over the years and a selected few became even more than that, they became an addiction. They are CD’s I need to play on a regular basis, just as much as I need my daily cups of coffee! Albums like Matriarch by Shireen, Mythos by Waldkauz and Portal to Elfland by SeeD keep me energized and sane. They help me wander into my happy place, away from the madness of everyday life, the place where I can let everything go and just be me. I can tell you now that Eufori, the newest record of Trolska Polska, made it into that selected few. This album is pure genius. A troll-folk concept album that just works on every single level. From the artwork till the very last note. It’s funny, captivating and addictive. My personal album of the year 2020!
The fun starts right away with the opening song Tøbrud (spring thaw). The beginning is really gentle, tiny drops of sound are faded in, setting the mood. An enchanting flute melody appears, its sound takes you by the hand and leads you into a spring morning. This is going to be the first nice spring morning after a harsh, cold, Nordic winter. The low sun is casting friendly shadows over the frozen meadows. The gentle sound of dripping water is all around you. In front of you are two figures, dancing, waltzing and swirling. Easily evading every drop of melting snow that is falling down from the trees above. As if the old oaks are carefully pulling back their branches, making sure they do not disturb the graceful couple down on the grass…..

Oh, how easy it is to drift away in your own fantasy world when you listen to this album. It is all the small little details that Trolska Polska have hidden in their songs. They have done it so cleverly, so subtle. You can really hear the drops of water fall down when you listen to the music. You can hear the melting water rush down the brooks and creeks of the ancient woods. If you close your eyes you can hear the day start. You can feel the sun heralding the start of spring. The start of big things to come. It is all there, captured in music. In my eyes, Eufori is the folk version of Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the wolf. A bald statement to make, I know, but trust me, it is one hundred percent true. Where Moss was a charming balfolk album and Untold Tails a lovely mix between balfolk and troll-folk music, this album is a huge leap forward. Trolska Polska not only wrote beautiful music for Eufori, but they also created a whole world around it. A whole story they play out in eleven delightful songs. Eufori is the story about one of the most important days in the troll calendar: The big spring ball!

When you dive into the booklet you’ll find that every song represents a chapter of this story, beautifully illustrated by Kent Overby Stück. As the story and music were created alongside each other they enhance one another in a beautiful way. The music becomes so much stronger when you read the tales, and the tales get much funnier when you listen to the songs. I would totally ruin the fun of listening to Eufori for the first time if I tell all about the storylines here, so instead I’m just going to tease you a bit with some hints, just to whet your appetite. I am only going to mention the mischievous troll kids, and how they manage to get the steam blowing out of the conductor’s ears… and the smoke coming from his tail while they’re at it. I’m only briefly going to point out the ‘breathtaking’ appearance of Slattenlangpat and her infamous booby-woogie. And I’m going to let you wonder why ‘the wandering giant’ leaves the party with a castle window pressed into his right eye.
I can assure you, if it ever was worthwhile to buy an actual CD instead of just streaming the music, then this album is it. You really are going to miss out, if you only have the music files without the story.



Tumult, the first single to be released from Eufori

This brings me to the main subject of every review, the music. What can I say? I LOVE this album! From the very first note till the very last chord. This is instrumental folk music at its very, very best. The melodies are catchy and fun, the solo’s mesmerizing and the whole concept is so believable. Where on earlier albums I personally missed a bit of true troll feeling sometimes, Eufori just oozes troll-folk. Every note has something otherworldly, something mischievous about it. Where the melodies on Moss were lead by the higher notes of the flute and violin, Eufori has much more room for the lower string instruments: the cello, the double bass, the hurdy-gurdy, and the bagpipe. And that lower sound is so important to get the feeling of true trolls, gnomes, and other otherworldly creatures across. I can’t help but believe that I have wandered deep into the dark Scandinavian forest, carefully peeking in, watching the trolls have their fun, while I’m trying not to get caught. (You wouldn’t want to get a wedgie from old Slattenlangpat now, would you?)

Although the whole album is a highlight, I do have some personal favourites, and the song Slattenlangpat is one of them. It’s a schottisch with a really cool, jazzy, double-bass riff as the backbone of the song. That riff alone is enough to get a huge smile on my face, but the whole build-up is great too. The catchy string melody the song has, the funny vocals that get a whole new meaning when you read the story behind it, the bagpipe solo, the pop-like string parts making this an instant hit… Oh, I could go on and on about this song alone.
Vigtigpråsen is the second song I want to pick up on. Again a schottish, again with this really laid back feel to it, again built up so well. The solo’s, the catchy troll-whistle, the cool viola solo, it’s so different to the balfolk music I normally hear, so unique, and yet so cool.

Not all the songs are laidback though. Halvlang Hopsa proves that straight away. It is fast, lightning-fast, and sooo much fun. Especially if you read the story behind it. Definitely one of my favourites. Keen eyes will have spotted the first Scandinavian balfolk references in between the lines. And they would be right, although Eufori is clearly a concept album, the band did not forget about their balfolk roots. Better yet Scandinavian balfolk is stil a big part of their sound. Polkas, waltzes, a hopsa, a halling, a gangar, even a menuet, all the cool Scandinavian dances are all there. Sometimes furiously fast like in Halvlang Hopsa, sometimes jazzy and cool like in Slattenlangpat, and sometimes just really beautiful as in Måneskinsmenuet. Eufori is as much a dance album as it is a pleasure to listen to. For those not too familiar with the Scandinavian dances, no need to worry. Our in house balfolk team have spotted a few an dros, some scottish, and two gavotte de l’avens besides the familiar waltzes polkas and polskas i already mentioned. So plenty to dance to. Eufori truly ticks every box possible.



Eufori, the title track, and second single to be taken off the new album

There are two more songs I want to mention before I wrap this review up. These are my two absolute favourite songs on Eufori. Both with a wonderful build-up, lovely melodies, and stunning solos. First of which is Hylkerne. I love everything about that song. The deep mouth harp, almost like a didgeridoo, laying down an awesome beat together with the double bass. (Or should I call it a power chord, as the song has the feel of an acoustic hardrock power-ballad that wouldn’t look out of place on a Dio album.) That beat is sooo impressive. Do you know the intro of Ayreon’s song Loser? Well, this has the same impact. Those ‘power riffs’ in the intro of Hylkerne are amazing! Acoustic, but exploding in your ears anyway. Combine that with the awesome power of the percussion and you get a sound, as if a whole platoon of mammoths is marching in on their way to a place deep, deep in the Northern woods. A place where you and I don’t want to be seen. This song is something else. I don’t know if I should dance or bang my hair around, so I end up doing both! I cannot wait to see and especially FEEL this being played live. EPIC! Truly epic!!

Den Vandrende Kæmpe is the last song on Eufori, and the last song I’m going to mention. It is a song of amazing beauty. It is another power ballad. It is also the absolute best song on this truly stunning CD, I’m just overwhelmed by it all. Drawn into every single note! Into every single bar! It just goes on and on. Highlight after highlight! This is the moment all my editors dread, because I’m going to become lyrical, (which means I write waaaaay to much, and they have to edit that 😉 ). One by one everybody gets their moment to shine on this brilliant final song: First the percussion, strong and powerful! Followed by the cello, first improvised, then leading us in one last catchy melody. We have the double bass joining in, strong and deep, ‘singing’ its last mesmerizing duet with the cello, their duet echoing through the northern woods, flowing over the fast horizon. Beautiful! And then, THEN comes the true icing on the cake! The flute solos! As if Iain Mars of the Sidh joins in for one last moment of pure bliss. I have tears welling in my eyes as I am listening to this grande finale. This song moves me so deep in my core, so deep in my soul. This song is e-v-e-r-y-thing I adore about music! Truly Epic!

So there you have it, Eurori put in words. Quite a lot of words actually. This review became quite a story although I only scratched the surface of it all. There is so much more to tell, both about Trolska Polska, and about Eufori. So I inserted one more video below, where Martin Seeberg himself tells the story of the band and the album. And with that I want to end, hoping this will not be the final chapter in the Trolska Polska tale. No, I’m hoping for many more chapters to come. And I’m hoping the very first of those chapters will be a performance on Winter Castlefest, in the great hall, with the band playing the whole album in one go, and Mia Guldhammer (Virelai) narrating it, reading out all the stories of the booklet in between the songs, making it all come to life. Of course, there should be enough room for the balfolk dancers on either side of the podium, so they can become part of the performance too. Now THAT would be a magical moment to experience. A worthy way to celebrate this magical album. Let’s hope that dream comes true one day.

Cliff



Editor:
– Anna Schürmann
Balfolk editors:
– Berit van der Jagt
– Erik Leguijt
Cover art:
Kent Overby Stück
Pictures:
Emma Engstrom (2)
Cliff de Booy (1, 3)

Bandcamp friday

Today it’s the 3rd of February, which means the first Friday of the month is fast approaching. And since the start of the corona pandemic,that has become a special day on Bandcamp. Why? Well, every first Friday of the month Bandcamp wave away their share of the revenue of the music you purchase from their site, giving the artists that extra boost to help them through these rough times. Ever since we got wind of this initiative, I tried to review an album that is only available on Bandcamp in the week before Bandcamp Friday. Well, this time we didn’t find one album, we found three!
Två Fisk Och En Fläsk was a young Swedish folk band that released three records between 1998 and 2016. Starting out playing ‘classic’ medieval folk, the bandmember’s diverse musical backgrounds surfaced and the sound quickly turned towards alternative prog-folk. We managed to contact Jan Liljekvist, one of the former violinists of the band, and he was quite willing to tell Två Fisk’s story. And here it is.

Our Februari monthly marker is…..

Jiggle The Old Bones by Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer

It’s only February, but maybe you have noticed a little bit of spring in your step the last couple of days? It could very well be because with the new month, we also have chosen a new Monthly Marker, and hearing this track it is very hard to sit still and not let your mood be lifted! For a full month, Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer will do just that, five to six times a day, with the single Jiggle The Old Bones of their latest album Sleep Deprivation.
Released in 2020, the album was designed to keep the road-weary musician awake and safe on the late-night drive home. Somehow, that feels quite fitting to our current situation: tired of it all, but thankfully we have the right music to keep us going, accompanying us on the trip towards the better days that are bound to return.

“So let’s dance. Feel the groove, and dance, let your body move and dance, put your cares away, safe away for another day and dance, … Jiggle the old bones!” (for sure we can do with the exercise)



Alex

Två Fisk Och En Fläsk – Discography (1998-2016)

A CeltCast Classic



This is not going to be a true review, but it is more going to be a story. The story of a young group of Swedish musicians, from their beginnings as starting a medieval folk band to the last fusion-folk/ world music jam session they recorded. A story that spans over 10 years.
For me, the story started halfway through 2020, with our Marielle sharing the link of an acoustic album by the Viking metal band Månegarm. Although Urminnes Hävd (The Forest Sessions) is a nice acoustic CD, it is still too much a rock album to fit our folk format. But one other thing caught my interest, a female guest vocalist by the name of Umer Mossige-Norheim, then lead singer of a band called Två Fisk Och En Fläsk. Her voice impressed me from the first moments I heard it and the band name sounded intriguing, very intriguing actually. So a quick hop to Bandcamp for a listen was the next step. It didn’t take long before I started sending links to Ilona, and we both knew right there and then we found something special. Something we wanted to share with you all.
And thus started the search. Cause the only things to be found on Bandcamp, (or anywhere else on social media for that matter), were four albums, some videos, and the names of the band members. That was it. Oh and a couple of photos found on the site of a certain Jayne Insane (second from left). Well, that Jayne Insane turned out to be the Swedish composer and musician Jan Liljekvist; known amongst others as the former violinist of Månegarm AND Två Fisk Och En Fläsk. So I sent him an email hoping he would be willing to tell me more about the history of the band. Luckily Jan was quick to respond.
-‘ You asked about Två Fisk och En Fläsk?! I have been deep down in my memories and tried to recall the days of Två Fisk. I will try to tell our story. Although I am not a man of the written word, I have put together a brief history of the group. My history, that is.‘ And so the story started.
-‘Två Fisk & En Fläsk were active ca 1993-2003, though we had a brief reunion in May 2019. We went through a couple of member changes, but the core of the band was mostly Umer, Marcas and myself, and later on Olof and Stebbe.

MARK I: HOW IT ALL STARTED:

-‘When I first met Marcas Oreglia he was singing in the choir in an opera, Le Villi by Puccini. I worked at the opera company’s office, slacking around after the disbanding of The Shoutless, a garage rock group I played with for more than 10 years. With that band, we made a couple of vinyl singles and albums that can still be found on Bandcamp and toured Sweden and Europe. I was not exactly looking for a new musical vehicle, but when Marcas suggested we should jam together, I accepted. So we started to play together in the fall of 1993, and he soon brought in a friend of his: Umer Mossige-Norheim, a vocalist with a taste for baroque opera. First, it was Marcas on violin and me on guitar, but I soon switched to violin, with a possibility for us both to change to guitar occasionally. Umer of course sang lead, with us on harmonies. We even gave her a drum to bang on. Shortly afterward, I brought in my friend Anna Westman on flutes, violin, and occasional vocals. This version of the band existed for about 6-7 months.

MARK II: THE FIRST CHANGES

-‘When Anna left the group in 1994, we met Anders Peev who doubled on keyed fiddle and guitar. This is also when Jie Zelf on percussion came into the group. It was during this period we created our musical language. Umer was strongly influenced by the Swedish group Folk & Rackare (check them out) and got us on the way to play Swedish Medieval Ballads. At this time, we didn´t compose our own material, but we arranged the ballads in our own way. We took parts from different songs we found in books in the musical library, changed the keys, added chords, and took lyrics from still other songs to put them together. Umer and I had become a couple, and we lived really close to Anders. So, we were constantly working on the music, playing and rehearsing in the basement of Umer’s place.
We used to play at home parties and student clubs. We also got in contact with the role-playing community and played a lot in the woods where they arranged medieval re-enactments over the weekends. And of course, in the medieval week in Visby, Gotland. After a week in Visby, Jie left the group, and in came Robert Lundin, also known as Gaahnfaust, drummer of the Swedish black metal band Dark Funeral.


MARK III: THE DEBUT ALBUM

-‘When Anders went on to more folkish music, we teamed up with Olof Öberg (guitar) and Stebbe Grapenmark (percussion). They had played together in obscure punk groups, and I think they came in through an ad we put up in a music store. This turned out to be the most fruitful and long-lasting version of the band. Olof’s aggressive but delicate handling of the 12-string guitar, together with Stebbes heavy pounding on the cow drum, was perfect for our mix of medieval folkish music with an attitude. Jie soon rejoined on djembe and percussion, and we recorded our debut CD in Sunlight Studio, with Tomas Skogsberg, the legendary metal producer.
As a sidenote: It was during these sessions we met with Månegarm, who were recording their second demo in the same studio. Umer did some backing vocals and I laid down some fiddle tracks. After that, there was no turning back. I became a member of Månegarm and played with them for 15 years. We played a lot in Europe and even in Russia, Canada, and the USA. Often together with folk-oriented metal bands like Skyforger (Latvia) and Eluveitie (Switzerland). Umer sang on some of the records but never did any gigs.


Well, Jan described Två Fisk Och En Fläsk’s sound on the debut album very well actually. The first song Introitus is still a breakable precious balladesque solo by Umber, showcasing the ability of her voice; but on the second song Douce Dame, the brakes already go out. I have heard this classic being performed by many medieval folk bands and this one stands out as the most energetic of them all. Although mostly staying true to the medieval folk genre, it just sounds fresh and ‘young’. Nicely up-tempo, fresh-sounding guitar chords, a strong medieval, but at the same time modern-sounding percussion and some really cool violin improvisation by Marcas and Jan.It all sounds young, fresh, and modern.
The band keeps that feel up with energetic versions of classic medieval songs like Im Meyem Secundum, Näcken (which contains a strong build-up to a cool percussion/violin sound), the fast, medieval punk-song Mit Ganzem Willen (a furious but melodic version), Saltarello (love the Flairck-kind of recorder solo in it), or Liten Pojk (love these almost hard rock-type guitar breaks in there), making the debut album Två Fisk Och En Fläsk a lovely fresh and modern record to listen to, even after all those years. Maybe too modern for the true medieval purists, but certainly the perfect end to a long and sunny young re-enactment/LARP day!

MARK IV: THE SECOND ALBUM JUNGFRUBUREN

Jan continues:’‘The second CD, Jungfruburen, saw the birth of our first self-penned material in the same style. Now Jie had left again and we brought in Sebastian Åberg, a skilled percussionist who had spent several years in India, studying the tablas. We also had Gustaf Esters on darbouka and percussion. For a while, we had 3 drummers on stage! Unfortunately, Olof decided to leave the band shortly before the release of Jungfruburen. During a period we tried to replace him, first with guitarist/producer Viktor Buck and then with jazz guitarist Mikke Rönnkvist. It was during a gig with Mikke that Olof understood that he had to return to the band, so for a while, we were back with the “classic” line up.

Jungfruburen was a huge step from the band’s debut album. A step that may have taken some by surprise at the time. The basis is still Swedish style folk, but so many elements were added to the original sound that it turned into medieval fusion folk. A good example would be the intro of Saltarello IV; It has enough references of ’80’s pop-rock bands hidden in there for it to be used as a question in a pub quiz; Survivor‘s Eye of the tiger being just one of them.
The combination of old Swedish folk music, experimental fusion elements, and world music provided some true gems. Jungfrun I Buren has a violin riff going through it to die for. And Marcas’s ‘improvised’ freestyle violin sound takes center stage on Lussi Lilla. Come to think of it, Lussi Lilla is actually a nice blueprint for Två Fisk Och En Fläsk’s sound on Jungfruburen. It contains strong percussion/violin breaks, cool solos -not only from Jan Liljekvist but the whole band- and all of that is glued together by Umer’s beautiful, strong soprano. Femto Ganger is another example of that style. It starts as a beautiful Renaissance folk song before the band drops it in a world music sauce, only to follow it by an almost operettic male choir. Now to say that Två Fisk Och En Fläsk were ahead of their time in 2000 when they recorded Jungfruburen is a bit risky, but even by today’s standards, their fusion folk is ‘out’ there. fans of ZiRP should definitely check this out, although I’m sure one or two improvisations might be a bit too much for some. But that is part of Jungfruburen’s charm. It showcases a young band of talented musical artists (with all kinds of different musical backgrounds) expressing themselves, looking for the very edges of their sound and sometimes going over it, just because they can. This is where music turns into a piece of art. Fortune Plango and Linden Bar Lov are beautiful examples of it. As I said not for all, but if you like the music of ZiRP, Jyoti Verhoeff‘s Touches album, and can handle some touches of experimental music, this record is a treat. And Linden Bar Lov a true gem.

MARK IV: FLESH WORKSHOP & FLESH JAM

– ‘sadly, after almost 10 years of playing together, Marcas gave up on the band. Leaving Stockholm, and eventually leaving music. That was kind of the end of Två Fisk as a working group. For a while, we didn´t meet or have any contact at all. Umer and I had broken up, and I had a lot to do with Månegarm.
My memory fails me, but I think it was during the recordings of Urminnes hävd -the acoustic album of Månegarm, on which Stebbe and Gustaf play- that Stebbe, Olof, and I started to meet and play again, just jamming without any purpose. But soon it started to sound like songs and arrangements. Finally, we contacted Umer and Sebastian and started to work on the recordings of Flesh Workshop And Flesh Jam, which is exactly what the title says, two albums with us jamming and fooling around in the studio.
But the world had turned. During our most active years, we had lived real close and worked hard with the music, but after Flesh Workshop we couldn’t find the real interest to continue. No gigs and a lack of interest from bookers also played a part. The re-enactors were now grown-ups with children and steady jobs, so we disbanded. Flesh Workshop never met the audience in a physical way, but Bandcamp gave us the opportunity to at least make a digital release.


compared to Jungfruburen, the third album Flesh Workshop sounds much more mellow. The fusion jazz improvisations are still there but they don’t have those ‘sharp edges’ anymore. They are not pushing us, listeners, to the edge of our taste. No, they now form a perfect blend with the Swedish folk the band play. And with that Grebsma, Harba II, Bas-Umers Polka, Sven Svanevit (with sparks of Eleanor Rigby (The Beatles) cleverly woven in there), Ella & Ola, Mando, or the beautiful ballad Leja Tjänstepiga are all world-music-meets-folk treats. The songs sound modern, catchy, and fun. With Jungfruburen the band was at the peak of their artistic experimental phase. On Flesh Workshop they managed to mold that eagerness to experiment into easier consumable music. Ending somewhere between the sound of ZiRP’s latest album Circle Divine and Martin Seeberg’s old fusion-folk band Instinkt.
Flesh Jam is just what it says on the tin. The bandmembers jammin’ together in the studio. Fooling with the different styles of music seperately, that normally would make up the total Två Fisk Och En Fläsk sound. Not playable within the CeltCast format, for me as a music lover and reviewer Flesh Jam is really interesting, as it helps me understand where Två Fisk Och En Fläsk’s music came from. And for all the fans of world music? Well, you have a really nice album to listen to.

EPILOGUE: AFTER TVA FISK OCH EN FLÄSK

-‘So what happened afterward? Umer went into computer programming for a while. She is now a successful author of teenage books. I lost contact with Marcas, but I heard he lives in a small village, close to the fishing and hunting he always loved. Olof is a hi-tech engineer and Stebbe is a teacher. Jie runs a small shop for comics and records. And for myself? I compose for, and play with the international group NB8 ART, a group mainly based in Lithuania that plays art-pop with an ambient feel. And since 2016 I am back on guitar, with the jazz-fusion/blues group Black Baker. No gigs right now due to the pandemonia, but we are constantly working on new material. Composing and recording.
During the years with Månegarm, I was also heavily involved in experimental electro-acoustic music as a chairman and producer for Fylkingen in Stockholm, and as a teacher at Elektronmusikstudion EMS. Stebbe and I did a couple of gigs in the project Jay Nein Sane & the Noisebreakers. But that those projects are far, far away from the music you guys play on CeltCast, so that is a totally different story…


– Cliff

with a huge thank you to Janne Liljekvist for telling his version of Tva fisk’s story.

Editor: Diane Deroubaix
Pictures: Jan Liljekvist






Player

Please support us through: iDeal or PayPal

Recent tracks

Loading ...