"In 1990, I saw a picture of Totte's hurdy gurdy in a magazine
portrait of Hedningarna. We had just started our own band, Garmarna,
and were digging deep to find something sexier than the line up
of fiddle, guitar and banjo we were using. For a 16 year old with
a newfound Folk Fetish going on, the sheer sight of this instrument
was mind boggling. Had to have one! It took me a year of research
and waiting for it to be built, but when it finally arrived everything
clicked. The core focus in the music I wanted to do was found.
me, the appeal of the Swedish hurdy gurdy that we use lies within
its incompleteness. It's raw and unfinished. It wants to do everything
but isn't quite fit to do so. The beauty of the music comes from
how fragile it sounds when something so raw wants to sing something
I've never been very interested in the history of the
instrument, just fascinated by its possibilites in music today.
Nothing can replace it, nothing can sound so mysterious or powerful.
Its attempt to do everything has earned it a reputation of being
a "medieval synthesizer” and that’s where this record takes its
starting point. For years, Totte and I have been busy trying to
make this stubborn instrument work in places It doesn't naturally
belong. Putting mics on the hurdy gurdy without knowing how to do
so in the first place has produced a lot of sounds never heard before,
sounds that causes laughs in the rehearsing rooms: "The insect is
awake!" Since this is our reality, we've grown to love this second
nature of the instrument. It's hidden and new and we've explored
it to the maximum on this disc.
The idea of the medieval synthesizer
is slightly updated to the idea of our own homebrewed idea of a
synthesizer, recording hours of natural and not so natural sounds
from our instruments and chopping it up in our Macs. Everything
audible here is original Hurdy Gurdy sounds, that's a guarantee!
This represents the end of a search for us but it's also a start.
We now have the tools and the idea clear in our minds. Our world
of wood, gut strings, cranks and laptops might seem pretty small
but we are proud of it and you are very, very welcome to join!
Stefan Brisland-Ferner, 2005