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A Swedish folk band who have been playing together since 1993, Garmarna perform old Scandinavian ballads that have been researched, revived and rewritten with modern influences. In 1990 they met as an acoustic trio working on a production of Hamlet, which used old Swedish music. They were so inspired that they formed Garmarna the next day.
Their first big gig (before Emma Härdelin and Jens Höglin joined) was at the Umeå Folkmusik Festival. A radio interview then led to them being asked to perform at the biggest of all festivals in Sweden, Hultsfred where Jens (drummer) joined for what was meant to be just one gig. In the audience stood Emma, who later became the band's vocalist, and Mats Hammerman, president of record label Massproduktion. Mats was so impressed that he offered the band a deal the very same night.
Stefan Brisland-Ferner plays violin, viola, hurdy-gurdy, guitar and does programming. His musical background comes from his family: ‘My father is a violinist, so I became interested in the violin and studied it at a community music school. I taught myself the more traditional instruments.’ He cites David Bowie and traditional folk music as his greatest musical inspirations and describes his music as rhythmic, dreamy, intensive and suggestive.
Vocalist Emma was born into a family of nationally acclaimed musicians as the daughter of Swedish traditional fiddler Thore Härdelin. After attending a Waldorf (Steiner) school and studying Swedish folk singing under Maria Röjås at Malung folkhögskola, she became a member of Garmarna in 1993, and founded Triakel in 1995 together with Kjell-Erik Eriksson of Hoven Droven and Janne Strömstedt.
Jens, drummer and percussionist, plays the Darbuka and Djembe (types of drum). He studied at community music college for three years: ‘I quit when I joined my first band so you could say I am both self-taught and trained.’ He describes his music as ‘beautiful, raw, heavy, alive and very good.’
Gotte Ringqvist, who plays lute-guitar, guitar and violin as well as doing backup vocals, is one of the original three members of Garmarna. He studied violin for four years starting from the age of 10, quit and later returned to the violin after starting with classical guitar. ‘After I joined Garmarna my interest for folk music started and I have taught myself the traditional instruments.’
Rickard Westman plays guitar, e-bow and bass. He describes his music as ‘an unstoppable, snorting, shiny steam engine.’
- Stefan Brisland-Ferner (fiddle, hurdy gurdy, programming)
- Emma Härdelin (vocals)
- Jens Höglin (drummer)
- Gotte Ringqvist (guitar, fiddle)
- Rickard Westman (guitar, bass)
Visit the Garmarna website