Degrees of Separation (Part 2: The Swedes)

Follow me as I take you on a journey around the globe to explore new types of early and folk music, discover amazing musicians, and possibly find something we are missing along the way.  In this second part, we move on to Sweden.

In my last post, we started our journey in Texas with Wine and Alchemy and the Siberian Gypsies:

We have a fusion of Middle Eastern belly dance styles performed in “Siberian” fur, all to a song called Vänner och Fränder, a traditional Swedish folk song.


The tune to which the Siberian Gypsies danced is called Vänner och Fränder.  It is an ancient Sweedish folk song performed by a Svenske group called Garmarna (pronounced /gar-mɑɳ’-ɑ/):

You will find a light goth feel to it.  And while they use modern instrumenti, you will also find the likes of an hurdy gurdy in their music:

The lovely singest featured in the group is one Emma Härdelin.  She provided a point of brilliant light in the midst of the dark chaos of the aptly named group (I believe Garmarna refers to the guardians of the underworld).

MP3 and CDs can still be purchased from Amazon.

Going Off The Path

So, lets follow Emma around for a little while.  Sadly Garmarna broke up around 2005.  Emma went on to do a number of projects, one of the best of which was Triakel (pronounced /tri’-ɑ-ɕel/).


Triakel consists of Emma singing, a fiddler, and an harmonium (pump organ).

But, enough of that.  You can search YouTube yourself.  If you do, you might stumble on this gem:

Well, it is entitled Garmarna… shouldn’t it be in the previous section?  Well, no.  It is obviously not Garmarna.  It sounds much more like Triakel (she even performs this song, I Osterland, on one of Triakel’s CDs).  In fact, I had to ask.  She is singing with Lisa Rydberg.

Some of Triakel’s music can be purchased on Amazon.  You can get the rest of Triakel’s web store.

Bach a’la Sweden

In fact, Emma sings several songs on violinist Lisa Rydberg‘s CDs (Östbjörka and Vinterskrud).  But, it is a unique project that Lisa worked on with Gunnar Idenstam that deserve special attention: Bach på svenska.

This is simply how Bach was “meant to be played”.  Old JS was a Swede born in a German’s body and he couldn’t afford the operation.  In all seriousness, though, it is nice to here Bach played with some passion.

Many other performances such as this can be found on YouTube.  Some other work:

Lisa’s music can be purchased on Amazon (Östbjörka, Vinterskrud) as well as Bach på svenska.

String Sisters

Are you having a hard time keeping up?  Do you feel lost?  Don’t worry.  I am too.

While searching for Triakel’s music on YouTube, you might also come accoss this wonderful piece:

Again, the name yields little information.  It turns out to be one of two songs sung by Emma on the String Sister‘s Live DVD.  Emma has been fiddling with them since Triakel.  I am having their DVD imported from Germany right now.  I will let you know if it is any good.

Ok, Where Was That Path?

We should get back on track.  For, in my next post we will travel very far south.


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