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Experimental Folk Artists Storm Europe

Catherine Lewis reports:
Two American and two Scandinavian experimental folk bands are touring northern Europe as the Poor Minstrels Carnival in February and March. What is "experimental folk music," you ask? Well, friend, it covers a broad spectrum of music-- from Middle Eastern to medieval, but always with drone. And what's this about it being a "collective carnival?" Well, see, the four bands are touring more as an ensemble than as four separate acts; expect their sets to run together as they back each other up musically to make one large collaborative show.

This is not the first time such a thing has happened. The first Poor Minstrels Carnival happened in the Spring of 2000 in the States with In Gowan Ring, Iditarod, Stone Breath, and Drekka.

This winter's tour features Drekka and the Iditarod from the last Poor Minstrels Carnival, along with Ring and Peter Scion. Drekka (straight outta Bloomington, Indiana) is the solo project of Blue Sanct records owner and Turn Pale vocalist Michael Andersen. Drekka's sound is based on Andersen's shimmering guitar and hushed vocals against programmed background tracks and looped effects. The Iditarod (Rhode Island) are an avant-folk quartet with cello and violin. Ring (Norway) is the artist name of Filip Ring Andersen. His banjo- and guitar-driven ballads are set against samples and electronics. Peter Scion (Sweden) is a music writer in addition to a multi-instrumentalist and singer. His dark folk songs have recently pulled from a country music influence.

In support of the tour, the bands have put together a CD compilation featuring 18 exclusive tracks. See them on the road:

02-19 Oslo, Norway - Bla
02-20 Copenhagen, Denmark - Ungdomshuset
02-21 Rostock, Germany - Stubnitz
02-22 Hamburg, Germany - Markthalle
02-23 Halla, Germany - Brohmers
02-24 Frankfurt, Germany - Dreikonigskeller
02-26 Amsterdam, Holland - VPRO radio live session, day
02-26 Amsterdam, Holland - Winston, evening
02-27 Antwerp, Belgium - Radio Central, day
02-27 Koersel-Beringen, Belgium - Club 9, evening

.: Drekka:
.: Iditarod:
.: Tree Music (Peter Scion):
.: Originally published: 24 January 2002