Premo & Gustavsson | I Walked Abroad

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Folk: Traditional Folk World: Scandinavian Moods: Type: Instrumental
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I Walked Abroad

by Premo & Gustavsson

A collaboration of American and Swedish traditional music featuring clawhammer banjo, nyckelharpa, and fiddle
Genre: Folk: Traditional Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Slängpolska från östra ryd
2:57 $0.99
2. Stay All Night
2:53 $0.99
3. I Walked Abroad
3:20 $0.99
4. Atlantic Waltz
3:52 $0.99
5. Premolska
5:23 $0.99
6. Tåget
2:50 $0.99
7. Sally in the Garden
3:33 $0.99
8. Empty House Waltz
3:07 $0.99
9. Hemresan
7:23 $0.99
10. Hannah at the Springhouse
2:35 $0.99
11. Omvända Vallåtspolskan
2:46 $0.99
12. Nostalgipolska
2:53 $0.99
13. Lär mig, du skog
3:02 $0.99
14. Short One
4:35 $0.99
15. Fine Times at Our House
3:12 $0.99
16. Polska av Viktor Gabrielsson
4:12 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
ANNA GUSTAVSSON - nyckelharpa,vocals
LAUREL PREMO - banjos,fiddle,vocals

This album was made possible by the generosity of these project patrons: David Patrick Eich, Ray Johnson

This project is the result of two musicians taking a chance. Having long been a fan and occasionally a student of Scandinavian music and dance, I was thrilled when Anna reached out to me, out of the blue, with a note introducing herself and an invitation to collaborate. For each of us, the other player's instrument (banjo, nyckelharpa) represented something mysterious and intrinsic to their respective home country's music tradition. We met for the first time in Kalamazoo the summer of 2015 for four days of jamming and getting to know each other. What we found was a shared passion for folk music as well as an exciting new musical palate using instruments and forms from both Sweden and the U.S. After that, we remotely wrote and arranged music for a year, sharing sounds and sources online and over phone calls. We reunited for a second great session in Uppsala during the darkest days of the year and planned for our studio recording the following summer. Of all of the polskas, waltzes, reels and songs that we played together, this recording represents our favorite combinations. I'm grateful to have had such a fearless partner in playing this great transatlantic tune. - Laurel Premo

Recorded at La Luna Recording & Sound in Kalamazoo, MI May 2016.
Mixed by Laurel Premo, Mastered by Ian Gorman.
Photography by Zolton Cohen, Art & Design by Laurel Premo.
©2016 Premo & Gustavsson. All rights reserved. Original compositions registered to Laurel Premo (BMI) and Anna Gustavsson (STIM)

Slängpolska från Östra Ryd - trad. Sweden

One of Anna's favorite dances is the slangpolska, which is a form that comes from the South of Sweden. The slangpolska's measures are divided into sixteenths, which is very agreeable to the math-bound playing style of clawhammer banjo.

Stay All Night - trad. USA

From the playing of Tommy Jarrell (North Carolina)

I Walked Abroad (Shenandoah Harmony page 120) - trad. USA

This song comes from a hymnal dated 1823 and it is part of the powerful shape-note singing tradition.
I walked abroad one morning fair, when odors sweetly balm'd the air, And birds their art-less notes did sing, to welcome in the cheerful spring. Surveying nature all around, the scene with wonder did abound
But while my ravish'd eyes were charm’d, an inward voice my soul alarm'd. Could you all nature comprehend, you'd better learn to know your end These beauties which you now survey, will like yourself soon pass away

Atlantic Walz - Gustavsson

This was one of Anna's first compositions for the Premo & Gustavsson project. She aimed to write a waltz that sounded American, and the music landed somewhere in between Sweden and America, rippling in the Atlantic waters (thus the title). She admits to getting goose bumps the the first time she heard Laurel play it.

Premolska - Premo

When a Premo makes a polska

Tåget (The Train) - Gustavsson

The gangar is a type of dance and tune from Norway. Anna wrote this gangar inspired by her Norwegian friend, and fantastic fiddler, Guro Kvifte Nesheim. Laurel added in a fourth part to round out the piece.

Sally in the Garden - trad. USA

This was one of the first tunes that Laurel and Anna worked on together, and through it they found that the gourd banjo and the nyckelharpa seem to be made for each other. Laurel learned this one from a recording of two gourd instruments (fiddle and banjo by Harry Bolick and Ken Bloom) who credit it to Gaither Carlton (Doc Watson’s father-in-law) of Deep Gap, N.C.

Empty House Waltz - Premo

Laurel wrote this tune on one of the first nights after moving into a new place. With her worldly possessions still in boxes, the high plaster ceilings and wood floors were free to reverberate each note.

Hemresan (The Journey Home) - Premo

Anna ruminated on a pizzicato theme while sitting by a crackling fire in her family's homestead. Her plucking of the strings was an embodiment of the sparks of the fire and the raindrops that fell outside on the windowpane. Feeling a bit weary of the constant relocation into apartments, she reflected on the dream of one day having her own house or cottage to settle down in. Laurel fleshed out this theme into multiple parts and Anna dubbed it "The journey home," dedicated to the search for a place of peace, and the joy of finding rest in the traveling life of a musician.

Hannah at the Springhouse - trad. USA

This American tune comes from the playing of Melvin Wine (West Virginia). The intro features a real nice touch on the Nyckelharpa posing as a hurdy gurdy. A springhouse is the eco-original refrigerator that simply uses the running water of a cool stream to keep your perishables fresh.

Omvända Vallåtspolskan efter Blecko Anders Olsson (Herding Song Polska) - trad. Sweden

This tune was taught to Anna by Olov Johansson when she studied at the Eric Sahlström Institute. Anna was delighted that Laurel not only jumped on the unique rhythm of polskas from Orsa, but added in a few new blue notes as well.

Nostalgipolska (Nostalgia Polska) - Gustavsson

Anna cannot remember the specific dream she was having when she wrote this tune, but it certainly pulls the listener into that delicate bittersweetness of nostalgia.

Lär mig, du skog - trad. Sweden

This is traditional Swedish choral melody with "new" words written by Nathan Söderblom (Sweden’s arch bishop from 1914-1931). Söderblom’s son was a priest in Anna's small home church on the countryside in Börje in the 1950s.
Lär mig, du skog, att vissna glad (Teach me, O forest, to wither happy)
en gång som höstens gula blad: (like autumns yellow leaves:)
en bättre vår snart blommar, (a better spring soon blossoms,)
då härligt grönt mitt träd skall stå (then delightfully green my tree shall be) och sina djupa rötter slå ch och sina djupa rötter slå (and its deep roots strike)
i evighetens sommar. (in the eternal summer.)
Lär mig, du fågel, med din flykt (Teach me, oh bird, with your migration) att bryta upp och färdas tryggt (to break away and travel safely)
mot obekanta stränder. (to unfamiliar shores.)
När allt är vinter här och is, (When all is winter here, and ice,)
jag mot ett evigt paradis (I’m turning my my gaze and desire) min blick och längtan vänder. (for the eternal paradise.)

Short One - Gustavsson
The first beat is shortened in this special form of polska that is traditional to Värmland in the west of Sweden. Anna wrote this polska thinking about friends abroad.

Fine Times At Our House - trad. USA

One of Laurel's favorite tunes, Fine Times At Our House comes from the playing of Edden Hammons (West Virginia). Having performed this tune a few times without a specific arrangement, Laurel and Anna decided to lay down the track in the studio in that same natural jamming style, full of wild surprises.

Polska av Viktor Gabrielsson - Gabrielsson, b. 1888, Älvdalen, Dalarna
This Älvdalspolska has a simple melody but a complex rhythm. This was taught to Anna by her friend and classmate Alva Granström at the Royal College of Music.



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