Category Archives: Folk

The Tellers

The Tellers are a Belgian rock band. The band was started in 2005 by Ben Baillieux-Beynon (lead singer, guitarist). And through the years the lineup has been pretty unsteady, from just Baillieux-Beyon, to having 2-4 members. Currently I believe the band is a 4-piece group, with Fabrice Detry on bass, Cesar Laloux on drums, and Joos Houwen on guitar. They have had two albums to date, their first being Hands Full of Ink. This is the only album I have heard. The album peaked #7 on the Belgian charts and the group has enjoyed fame in their home country. They’ve also enjoyed success in Germany, the Netherlands, and, thanks recently to a part in a Canon commercial, France. The album has an alternative/Indie folk rock style that is very European. It’s definitely a good listen. The album has a good vibe. I’ll have to see if I can get my hands on their more recent album!

You can check out their myspace (excuse me, my_____) page here: The Tellers

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Katzenjammer

Katzenjammer is a great folk/rock/pop band from Oslo. The Norwegian quartet is made up of Anne Marit Bergheim, Marianne Sveen, Solveig Heilo and Turid Jørgensen. I have major respect for this band because of their use of instruments, stating a goal of playing instruments they have never used before. Between them they have picked up and played 29 different and often unusual instruments, and their songs feature such as the accordion (you know I love it!) bass balalaika, ukulele, and melodica to name a few. It is my personal goal also to try to play any instrument I have never tried before which is why I have so many crazy instruments!

I first stumbled upon Katzenjammer on Youtube quite by accident. It turns out they had won third place in a contest for unsigned artists: the yearly Urørt competition, and their single A Bar In Amsterdam was made into a Youtube video. I have been hunting for an album since then and finally stumbled upon their debut, Le Pop. The album had favourable reviews: “songs all play to [Katzenjammer’s] strengths and, most importantly, are all instantly memorable”; “the album never lacks energy”. The album also won “Best Newcomer of the Year” at the 2008 Spellemannprisen (the Norwegian Grammy’s) and peaked at number 9 on the Norwegian charts.

The different instruments are obviously a huge turn on for me but the album itself is well written and fun. A Bar in Amsterdam remains one of my favourites – I knew once I heard it that I had to find the band’s album. Hey Ho On the Devil’s Back makes me think a little bit of Devil Went Down to Georgia in its folk-inspired devil-themed musicality. And Play My Darlin’ Play has a great folk-country twang to it! Another one of my favourite tracks is the dark accordion driven waltz – Mother Superior. Great stuff!! The album as a whole has a great folk feel to it; definitely very dark and Balkan while still having the energy and feeling of pop/rock. Something about it is also distinctly Scandinavian =) It really is a unique sound (and of course there is some great piano!).  I’m still giddy that I finally found a copy of the album! Another CD to burn immediately. Check out their website: Katzenjammer and take a look at their A Bar in Amsterdam video:


Detektivbyrån

Detektivbyrån was Swedish electronica/folk trio from Gothenburg.  The trio included Anders Molin on accordion and music box, Martin Molin on glockenspiel, piano, Theremin, and traktofon, and Jon Nils Emanual Ekström on drums, sound-box, and bells. The band has a greatly unique sound, as one might imagine from their unique instrumentation. Their album E18 is an album I listen to frequently. Being Polish, I of course have to play the accordion (somehow I now have 7!) and so the use of accordion is a big turn-on for my musical senses. But the other instruments work so well together. Having a toy piano and Theremin myself, I would love to create music with a sound quality like Detektivbyrån. Their style is very reminiscent of Yann Tiersen, another great accordion-artist, and more specifically his soundtrack to the brilliant French movie Amelie. This is no surprise as the bands use of such instruments was largely inspired by this soundtrack, as well as their musical traditions in Värmland – their home county. Also, the trio played often as street performers, and needed portable instruments.

But despite their more eclectic instruments, their style is somehow very modern, and yet folky at the same time. It is a splendid combination. The music is also very minimalist in terms of its musical repetition, and this creates a very soothing and ethereal effect. I think the sound is distinctly Scandinavian, and something in it is even reminiscent of Björk and has a certain Icelandic vibe. The trio announced in August 2010 that the group would not be making any more music together, and I find this tragic, as they have only two albums and I would have just loved to have experienced more. Detektivbyrån‘s website

Here is their video for Lyckans Undulat