You might have seen it pass by if you follow me on Facebook and/or Youtube : I'm having quite some difficulties lately. In short : one of my fingers on the left hand is painful, I don't exactly know why, I'm working on it with a physio and it's getting better but it's not fully working yet.
This started around a month ago and at first I was really down, sad and anxious and frustrated. Was I even going to be able to play again at all ??! Then I started to see not the limitations themselves, but the space between them - in other words : all the music I could still play. I practiced bowing technique, on all my instruments, a lot ! I'm singing a lot, practicing this instrument of mine which I'm still not comfortable using on stage despite being a total songbird in everyday life. And I'm doing lots of stretching exercises to help my finger come back to its lively and useful self.
Check my latest video to hear about how to still go forward with your music even when you can't play :
It is slowly paying back and I am able to play a little bit again, but I have to be very careful about my movements !
Weirdly, I am more motivated than ever to do music-related stuff. I have so many ideas for videos and tunes ! I have an old dream of mine starting to take shape in my brain - more on it in a few weeks, if everything goes alright. Also many crazy ideas I'm not sure I'll dare to explore fully, but we'll see.
And I still have a mini-tour planned at the end of october ! Two or more gigs in Switzerland and perhaps one in the Netherlands or Germany. With Svall Duo ! I'll do my best to be able to play these gigs fully, but I might have to be careful on stage aswell - better being reasonable and not injuring my hands permanently !
I hope you're keeping your spirit up in these troubled times doing what is important and inspiring to you !
Here a detailed critic of 'Prelude' by CeltCast
Here it is !! I talked about that collaboration of the spring 2019 with Philip Xander from the Netherlands, an album of his for which I had been invited to record a few tunes on nyckelharpa... Well now it's out, available, and reviewed (by Cliff of CeltCast who also reviewed my first album with Knep some years ago). I really like how my parts turned out, with a soft spot for the chops on nyckelharpa, because they were so much fun to record (listen) ! Also the full album is varied, rich, always surprising yet precise and feels like "knowing what it means". A lot of accoustic guitar, harp, drums, keyboards, mandolin, fiddle...
Get 'Prelude' on Philip's website.
Adapting to a whole new life in Sweden, with a "normal" part-time job, doesn't leave a lot of space for music, sadly. However, I'm very much not stopping expressing myself with a bow on strings ! During this autumn I've been playing often for the dance workshops of Philochoros in Uppsala and I have also joined V-Dala spelmanslag for a few crazy gigs, especially Norrköpings festival and Oktoberstämman.
The continental Europeans out there will be pleased to know I'm not abandoning them at all ! I'm going on playing with my two "sister"-bands Svall Duo and Svall Harps - it just requires a little extra organizing work for matching our travels and planning the rehearsals.
First we'll give a little dance evening (Minibal) in Zürich with Svall Harps on the 29 january 2020. Be there to hear Sara Buffler and I in an accoustic setting and with new arrangements, as we've planned a big rehearsal session just the days before !
Then save your week-end and book your ticket (registration is open and tickets are selling fast !) for the 31 january to the 2 february in Enschede (NL) : I'm coming back to this amazing festival that is Balfolk Dansstage ! There will be funny, intricate, inspiring dance workshops to explore some scandinavian tasty moves, and Sylvain Pool and I will also play for dancing on the saturday evening. For all of you dancers out there, this event is really not to be missed !
So that's about january and my coming trip to "the continent". There is another one getting organized aswell during the spring, end of march / beginning of april. If you happen to be in Switzerland, save the 4 april already for a big balfolk with Svall Duo in Coinsins (VD) !
Also I will now be announcing these trips of mine a bit in advance for you who would like to get a private lesson or two while I'm around. Don't hesitate to contact me for one - or for a group workshop if you team up with some other nerds !
My big move is done. I have left Switzerland, driven across Germany and Danemark and spent three weeks on roadtrip and festivals across Sweden. 3752 km in total. 4 countries, many places, many friends, so many discoveries, memorable musical moments, loads of hours driving and quite a few mosquito bites. All this with my entire life with me in my VW van, my 8 instruments, my handcrafting supplies, the winter wheels, clothes, food, books, everything. Now the bus needs some care and me some sleep and time to settle down !
I am now based close to Uppsala in Sweden. I am also taking a whole new job, perhaps you already heard about it or you can guess by the picture.
Musically speaking, I'm full of ideas which will need some time to get organized, but as I am back in Nyckelharpa Land, one can expect only good things, right ?
There it is. The official announcement. After three years in my birth-country of Switzerland, I am finally going back to the country that feels like my true home : Sweden. For real.
I've been wanting to go back for a loooong time but it took so very long to prepare and there were hard moments and times of doubt aswell. Now, despite the bittersweet feeling of leaving behind many things and the anxiety about what's to come, I'm sure and ready. I'm currently in my VW-van on the way up North with all my stuff with me.
This move is the reason why I've been not very musical lately (you might have noticed if you checked my agenda) : there has been so much going on that I didn't have much time to do music. This is gonna change as soon as I'm stabilized ! And this is actually even starting very soon, as I'll be at Korrö folkmusikfestival on saturday and at Nordic Fiddlers' Bloc's camp in the beginning of august ! Then... we'll see !
Have the nicest end of july and see you soon !
You might have noticed I'm often up to shenanigans with dutch musicians lately... well here comes a new one : I've been invited by guitarist Philip Steenbergen to record a melody and some accompaniement lines on his upcoming album ! I'm very excited about this project because it's quite different from my usual scandinavian music's world, it broadens a lot my musical horizon, also Philip and soundtech Erwin Tuijl are very creative, inspiring, crazy musicians.
That's why we all three spent a day in studio in Utrecht just after my little tour with Svall Duo. We recorded the tune that was planned but also half-improvised new tracks for other tunes, varied stuff implying chops and even shaking the whole nyckelharpa (it's doing fine, no worries).
I'm really looking forward to this album to come out ! Check Philip's homepage and stay tuned !
Svall Duo will imitate the Easter hares and bring eggs - ahem no, sorry : tunes ! and energy ! to the following locations during the long week-end : Leuven in Belgium, Nijmegen in the Netherlands and Zürich in our native Switzerland. I am very much looking forward to see all of you again !
Also there's a little bonus for the Utrecht people, in the form of a solo concert of mine in the very nice and intimate place of the amazing Meidi. She will actually join me on gamba and fiddle, aswell as the great Hanna de Wijs van Gorcum on nyckelharpa and fiddle, for a couple of tunes. Don't miss that special event if you're in that area !!
Svall Harps is "the other half" of Svall Duo, kindof. It's composed of the talented Sara Buffler on harp and vocals with myself on nyckelharpa and fiddle. We play quite a big deal of scandinavian tunes but also balfolk things and some of our own compositions.
We got to play out première at the amazing festival Balfolk Dansstage in Enschede in the Netherlands, 1st to 3rd of march 2019. We will be playing at the open ball on saturday evening and also teach three scandinavian dances workshops, yes, three : polska, halling, slängpolska & springar. Sounds promising, hm ? Check all infos there and come to Dansstage to learn a lot about dancing and to hear us for the first time on stage !
One week ago in Prague, my duo Knep played, as announced, its very last balfolk gig. The festival (Prague Balfolk Immersion) was a blast, the organizing team was incredibly friendly, the other bands were just an amazing selection of super talented and interesting people, and the audience was so loving and enthusiastic I got some tears on stage.
An enormous thank you to all the people who have supported Knep during all its life, it has been a crazy and very demanding project but no regrets, everything was worth it, thank you to all the organizers who have booked us across Europe, thank you to the crazy audiences, thank you to all the friends helping us : Kris & Tim & Jolanda of Knupia of course, my family, Elke, roadie-Robin, Lucas, Lucas, Helena, Elena, Ansgar, Lars, Mikulas, Delphine, Beat, all the beloved Dutchies, the friendly Germans, the cute Swiss, the amazing Czech, the beautiful Swedes, the great Belgians, and all the ones I can't name but hold dear in my heart. And last but not least thank you Pascal for having been my partner-in-crime with this crazy, silly, half-swedish octopus-themed project, thanks for your music, your energy, your ideas and all we shared.
Knep has been the start of my musical life and I will never forget it !
And now... what ?
Well, I'm currently putting a lot of energy into my new project Svall, with its two "branches" Svall Harps and Svall Duo. My project Skoga Obscura is currently on a break, I will talk more about that soon.
I am also teaching quite a lot, to very enthusiastic students on fiddle and nyckelharpa, it's a bliss to have them. Teaching also includes in a way the monthly scandi jam sessions I organize in Switzerland, and this will go on until I move out. I am also going on with the Scandi Folk Nerd videos and I have the 2019 resolution of putting more energy into my Patreon page, to really make it develop and thrive and be super interesting for the scandinavian music nerds out there.
I am also processing lots of ideas about my solo playing, mostly for balfolks but also concerts, I hope to be able to get some stuff started soon and thus have something substantial to tell you ! But we'll see, nothing is certain on this point and I have a lot going on in my non-musical life aswell at the moment.
Stay tuned, including the resonance strings !
Here are some numbers :
- 4.5 years
- 5 countries, soon 6
- around 973.86 friends (estimation)
- 2 albums
- several dozens of workshops
- 214 cm of hair combined (roughly)
- 8 instruments (13 counting the vegetables)
- 1 regular stage octopus
These summarize the history of Knep.
A history that is sadly coming to an end.
This duo has been through crazy challenges, such as living at 2000 km of distance and loosing Gertrude quite many times. It was all worth it ! Your support, your smiles, your crazing hallings and simply your dancing to our music has made every balfolk and concert worth the travels, rehearsals, organization and hours of arguing on who should get to play the intro. However, today Pascal and Emelie are taking different paths in life and we both feel that we won't be able to go on with Knep.
Our two last gigs are going to be great ones :
- SILVESTER FOLK in Leipzig during New Year's Eve (infos)
- PRAGUE BALFOLK IMMERSION, 25 to 27 january 2019 (infos)
So if you want to see Knep live a last time, come to one (or both) of these events and dance your mind off !
Yours, with carrots, animals and crazy hair,
/Emelie, Pascal & Gertrude AKA Knep