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Our Music

songs from the north

Strömkarlen’s music draws on the rich repertoire of traditional and popular songs and melodies from the whole of Northern and Northwest Europe, though concentrating mainly on material from Sweden, Norway and Ireland.

The arrangements are often kept deliberately spare and simple, with the vocals in the foreground. The quite different vocal characters of the three singers, each with their own special qualities, are presented in solo settings, while at other times harmonizing wonderfully with each other. Moreover, the way the instruments are used (fiddle, guitar, double bass, bodhrán, tin whistle) ranges from lonely whispering to multi-layered tutti, which, thanks to the broad, overtone-rich sound spectrum, sounds surprisingly full and powerful for an acoustic trio.

In addition to somber, markedly balladic songs, meditative or driving rhythmic arrangements are also featured, in which the archaic effect of the drone and ostinati are used – something that can also be sometimes reproduced live by the discrete use of a loop sampler. It is also quite natural to draw on our experience and our knowledge of Rock, Pop, Jazz and other musical traditions, while not explicitly cultivating any of these genres.

The atmospheric energy of this music is discreet, never ostentatious, but, in the ideal case, as compelling as the force of a river. The fateful, at times dark stories are told in a manner which is by turns solemn and intense, and even in their most pleasing moment the songs remain imbued with a certain melancholy and a longing for the expanse and the naturalness of the landscapes from which they arise.

The trio’s unspectacular, almost reserved performance style lets the music speak for itself. Though the musicians quite naturally establish contact with the audience and know how to diffuse the intensity of some of the songs with charm and unforced humor.

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