FIKA is the latest recording from crossover ensemble Elysian Fields: beautiful music that plays and sings to the gathering of friends with food and fine conversation!
Elysian Fields (Australia’s only electric viola da gamba ensemble) comprises stars of Australia’s jazz, classical and world music scene. The music on Fika is inspired by Scandinavia. It has deep roots in viola da gambist and artistic director, Jenny Eriksson’s Swedish ancestry – her grandfather arrived in Melbourne from Stockholm in the 1920s - and her love of Scandinavian jazz and folk music.
Fika (pron. ‘fee-ka’), takes its name from the Swedish practice of fika: sitting down for coffee, conversation and pastries with friends and family. By good fortune, Elysian Fields is uniquely well-placed to breathe life into such a cross-hemispheres project.
In addition to Eriksson’s experience of making and recording Swedish baroque and folk music, singer/violinist Susie Bishop also has links to Sweden via her partner and visits often. She speaks Swedish and sings all but two songs in the language.
Saxophonist/composer Matt Keegan – who also produced the album – spent a year studying the saxophone in Sweden and his composition, “Cold Soul”, take its inspiration from the frozen landscapes of northern Europe.
Finally, bass guitarist Siebe Pogson is Swedish on his mother’s side and has visited on several occasions.
In addition to several stunning folk song arrangements by pianist Matt McMahon and Susie Bishop, Fika presents Australian-first recordings of music by renowned Norwegian jazz pianist and composer, Jan Gunnar Hoff, and Swedish jazz greats, e.s.t.. Bass player Dave Ellis introduced Eriksson to Hoff’s music and the composer proved both collaborative and supportive of the project. The album opens with his piece “Living” and closes with a heart-felt cover of the e.s.t. ballad, “Believe Beleft Below”.
The CD booklet also features paintings by Swedish artist Nils Gunnar Zander, another friend of Jenny Eriksson’s. For 25 years Zander has divided his time between Australia and Stockholm, drawing inspiration from the landscapes of the Australian outback. In the final analysis, Fika is music from and for the soul. It reaches out, grabs you and won’t let go!
Released July 2020
Move Records MCD 603