2021 marks Groupa’s 40th anniversary and they will celebrate all year long with spectacular old and new collaborations with Lena Willemark, Ingfrid Breie Nyhus and Sara Parkman & Samantha Ohlanders. Music from the Kind of Folk projects, a new compilation album, freshly composed anniversary fanfares, and a few surprises from Groupa’s well-stocked musical pantry will be featured during their commemorative tours in 2021.
Combining innovative instrumentation and an ever-curious sense of improvisation with a deep love for traditional Nordic music, Groupa plays some of the most exciting folk music of our time. Using instruments such as mouth harp, overtone flutes, viola d’amore, bells, stones, wood, and melodeon, they draw fresh colors and explore new musical dimensions. In the sounds of Groupa, you will find a composed picture of the traditions of yesterday, the whims of today, and the possibilities of tomorrow.
With its completely unique form of Nordic folk music, Groupa is considered one of the genre's absolute supergroups and has been at the forefront of progressive Nordic folk music since 1981. Through their characteristic mix of older melodies, free improvised elements, new compositions and imaginative instrumentation, the group has influenced an entire generation of musicians.
The original band was founded as a five-piece in 1980. Through intense gigging and the releases of their first albums – Av bara farten (1983), Vildhonung (1985) and Utan sans (1988), Groupa became a vanguard of the progressive folk music scene in Sweden, along with other groups like Filarfolket. Mats Edén (fiddle, viola d’amore, hardanger fiddle, accordion) is the artistic hub and the only remaining member from its beginnings in 1980. Since then, many highly acclaimed musicians have taken part in the journey that is Groupa’s career: Leif Stinnerbom, Inger Stinnerbom, Bill McChesney, Thomas Gabrielsson, Hållbus Totte Mattson, Gustav Hylén, Rickard Åström, Tina Quartey, Helge Norbakken, Sofia Karlsson.
JONAS SIMONSON - FLUTES
One of Sweden’s most established, innovative flute player within folk and world music. During the last 30years he has travelled around the globe with his music. As an artist he had a great impact on the innovative Swedish folk music scene and can be listened to on numerous albums with his intense, rhythmical and personal style of playing. His musical approach can be heard in Den Fule, Crane Dance trio, the flute trio Zephyr, the wind septet Westan, Songs in Meantone and in recordings with the brilliant folk trio Bäsk.
TERJE ISUNGSET - DRUMS, PERCUSSION & MOUTHHARP
An uncompromising musician, whose numerous years at work to create a genuine, rhythmic dimension of sound have crafted a distinctly individual musical identity. He has designed, and built, most of his array of special Percussion. The instruments come from Norwegian nature as well as from Isungset’s journeys around the globe. Pioneer in Ice instruments. Isungset has also been commissioned to compose music for Jazz Festivals, Dance Performances, Theatre, Film, etc. (40 commissed concerts) His composition efforts have also brought nine critically acclaimed solo CD`s.
MATS EDEN - VIOLA D`AMORE, HARDANGERFIDDLE
Sprung from the soil of Värmland, bordering on Norway, he was appointed ”Riksspelman” already in 1979. His fiddle playing is a hallmark of the band, combining influences from both Värmland and Norway. He has studied composing at the Norwegian Academy of music in Oslo and writes a great deal of Groupa’s music. He has recorded with Ale Möller and Lena Willemark in the Nordan Project at ECM records. Shortly after followed his solo album at ECM. The latest addition to his series of solo albums is Pastern.
2021 marks Groupa's 40 years and the anniversary year is celebrated with spectacular new and old collaborations. Autumn tour in October with Sara Parkman and Samantha Ohlanders. Concerts with Lena Willemark and Norwegian pianist Ingfrid Breie Nyhus. Summer tour with Groupa trio. Groupa offers music from the Kind of Folk projects, newly written anniversary fanfares and some surprises from the well-stocked pantry. Of course, it will be a compilation album with goodies from the twelve albums released over the years.
A groundbreaking and genre-fluid singer, Lena Willemark is a central figure of the Swedish folk scene – continuously expanding her expression in all kinds of directions. She’s teamed up with Groupa many times and here they feature older songs, new compositions and arrangements for this constellation. Their endeavors together include the Swedish Grammy-winning album Månskratt and a tour with the chamber orchestra Musica Vitae.
Ingfrid Breie Nyhus
The musical rendez-vous between Norwegian pianist Ingfrid Breie Nyhus, with her contemporary and poetic interpretations of Edvard Grieg, and Groupa’s airy improvisations conjures up an organic tonal landscape glowing in earthy shades of ochre, moss and lichen in this venture that rediscovers the original material Grieg based his famous compositions on. Genre-bending chamber folk.
Sara Parkman & Samantha Ohlanders
Sara Parkman & Samantha Ohlanders, with roots in Ångermanland and Hälsingland, base their music on traditional folk tunes and bring in just as much newly written material, because that’s how folk music is. With two violins and two voices, they explore the framework of improvisation and the limit of tradition. It’s popular, it’s dangerous, it’s form, it’s strong, fragile and dirty. Always with a bundle of respectful threads towards those who have gone before, but equally share curiosity towards the unknown.
For more than a decade, Parkman & Ohlanders have played over virtually all of Sweden and around Europe. With successful performances such as Fäboland and the Nationalparken in their luggage and with the acclaimed debut album Matriarkerna, which won an award at the Folk and World Music Gala, they have made a deep impression on the Swedish folk music scene. In 2018, the duo had the honor of doing a radioshow in Radio Sweden P1’s classic program Sommar i P1.
With their distinctive take on Nordic folk music, Groupa is unquestionably a supergroup in the genre: They are trailblazers of progressive Nordic folk since 1981. With their characteristic mélange of old melodies, free improv, new compositions, and highly imaginative instrumentation, they have influenced a whole generation of musicians.
Groupa wishes a Happy New Year. We sincerely hope that 2021 will be different than 2020 and that we will soon meet our audience live again.
Photo Credits: (1)-(2), (6)-(10) Groupa, (3) Ingfrid Breie Nyhus, (4) Lena Willemark, (5) Sara Parkman & Samantha Ohlanders, (unknown/website).