gaelynn lea makes music with violin-loops and kindness, “under the influence of coffee.” her vocals grow lyrics fierce as weeds, swaying awesomely like ocean waves. she’s also a disability rights activist.
after having been introduced to her music when she won npr’s tiny desk contest with “someday we’ll linger in the sun” in 2016, i was dead excited to see her play at the windmill in brixton, london, on 23rd august 2017. and oh my days. accompanied by dave mehling, gaelynn played fiddle tunes as well as her own songs, such as “watch the world unfold“, “someday we’ll linger in the sun”, “let it go“, and “grace and a tender hand”, which walked broad smiles across my face. her protest song advocating for disability rights was brilliant, their neutral milk hotel cover great craic, and the birdsong singalong with the audience was beautiful and lasted forever. though not as long as in kilkenny, where people would not stop singing, she said.
in between their london gigs, i asked gaelynn and dave to come out and play. it turns out that dave collects facts on their tour; his encyclopedia includes information on the bee population in amsterdam and borrowed grass for a george washington statue in london. and gaelynn not only drew us the picture above to go with the song, but she also believes that instead of becoming grown-ups, “everyone’s a work in progress.” here are these lovely human beings playing “grace and a tender hand” in hoxton square:
“grace and a tender hand” will be on gaelynn lea’s upcoming album, which will be released in autumn 2018. you can support it via gofundme over here. until that album comes out, we have gaelynn’s 7″ “all changing tides”, out on 10th november 2017, to look forward to.
here’s the second song in fins ara’s summer song trilogy, “alone”, which he also played for us in that hidden auditorium up a london hill. for the third song, “lagom”, out on 8th september, keep an eye on here.
one sunny sunday, we followed fins ara to a piano in an empty auditorium in north london, for slow gloom dancing and, as he would say, “hope amidst confusion”. “veer” is the first song off his debut ep a love, elusive, which will be unfolding song by song over the summer.
once upon a time, elias åkesson from falun in sweden played with the wizzkids. since 2011, he has been telling stories as elias one man band, with a suitcase drum, a 12-string guitar, and a harmonica. we caught him with just a guitar in a quiet moment in london.
and here’s what happens when you give him a piano:
before their daylight music gig at the union chapel, we traded david tattersall, franic rozycki and jonny “huddersfield” helm of the wave pictures three bananas (with their names on, as in their song “canary wharf“) for an interview and three songs for stockholm clouds. together with their friend david beauchamp, they played “remains” & “a letter from hull (dom’s song)” off their upcoming vinyl-only album a season in hull (out tomorrow!) and “friend of the devil” by grateful dead.
“a letter from hull (dom’s song)”
“friend of the devil”
friska viljor excavate sad moments, life-changing decisions and the extraordinary everyday with a mandolin, a melodica, exuberance and a friendship based on a childhood mud fight.
one sunny saturday in june, we ambushed daniel johansson and joakim sveningsson with caramel candy in hornstull. they refused the candy but agreed to sing their song “dreams” about unanswered questions and childhood friends. the sea was as intrigued as we were and came a bit closer to listen properly, resulting in a few wet feet and mid-song smiles ♥
“dreams” is on their latest album my name is friska viljor which is out today, awoo!
ryan o’reilly‘s music is a confessional poet’s parade of nightmares and daydreams. it sounds like shipside conversations between huckleberry finn and odysseus. or, as someone said at his show at teater pero last year: “his songs are great but he must have a terrible love life.”
with the promise of a tea-and-toast breakfast, we got ryan to play us his song “the first time” in our favourite stockholm living room. to his left, tyler kyte, and, to his right, on our four-string guitar, david granshaw. they got it right, oh yes*
* even when they played it wrong. cheeky eavesdropping on the silly version here: