A journey that takes five decades of folk-fusion-rock-progressive. The Swedish band continues to make music, release records and here we tell you their story.
From: Luis Rios
Sweden has always been distinguished by its particular folklore with instruments as diverse as the nyckelharpa (viola with keys), the violin and the accordion, which have compositional harmonies very close to the Polka.
This folklore fused with rock and spawned its own version of progressive rock, with bands that failed to achieve global success. Only a few like: Kaipa, Samla Mammas Manna and Kebnekaise, got enough income to live from their works thanks to harvesting a group of loyal fans.
Later the scene began to be recognized thanks to the group Opeth and one of these cases is that of “Kaipa”, the group originally formed under the name “Ura Kaipa” by Hans Lundin (keyboards) and Tomas Eriksson (bass). In 1974, shortly after dropping “Ura” from the band’s name, they released their self-titled debut album.
Kaipa took the lead in the Scandinavian progressive scene of the 1970s. Between 1975 and 1982 they recorded five albums, drawing their musical inspiration from Swedish folk and complementing their style with an elaborate symphonic sound.
The group’s objective was to express the emotions and the feeling of an aesthetic style in the formal search for perfection. They have always tried to differentiate themselves by producing original music inspired by the past, but looking to the future.
the new record
Today the band releases ‘Urskog’, their 14th album, a track that takes the listener on a journey through Swedish nature and the changing seasons. Hans Lundin’s six new compositions are inspired by the landscapes he witnesses while cycling through the countryside, as well as a lesser-known part of his vast catalog of songs. We are talking about a group that has reached 50 years of career.
“I never decide in advance on a precise direction for a new album. I just let inspiration take me, sometimes down familiar paths and sometimes in completely new directions. I always want a good melody to be the center and core of a new song,” Hans tells VOS about the production of this new work.
Most of the songs were written in 2018. At the time, the musician was working on a six-disc box set called “Hans Lundin: The Solo Years 1982-1989”, and revisiting these old solo albums influenced the writing process. of songs. Urskog”. He also sampled 80s sounds that can be heard on the new album.
“They often come to me in the most unexpected situations. Sometimes when I’m drinking my morning coffee, other times when I’m taking a walk. Suddenly, notes start ringing in my head forming a melody. When that happens, I go to my studio and record a simple sketch so I don’t forget. Then I can come back after about a week and listen to it again.”
The new album opens with ‘The Frozen Dead of the Night’, it’s a 19-minute epic that takes us from cold, dreary winter to spring and its promise to start a new life.
“If I still like the melody, I start making a song out of it. It may take a few days or a few months to complete the song. Sometimes it becomes a short song and other times it becomes one of those long epic Kaipa songs,” the keyboardist explains.
The album’s closing track “The Bitter Setting Sun” reflects this theme, as it’s time to say goodbye to summer, as we watch the leaves fall and remember the nights when the sun refused to set. . The title track “Urskog” takes us deep into the Swedish rainforest, evoking images from ancient folklore.
“I’m proud to be part of the Swedish progressive music industry and believe in cooperation. The members of Kaipa also play in other bands. Patrick Lundström with Ritual, Per Nilsson with Scar Symmetry and Jonas Reingold with Karmakanic and Flower Kings,” says the veteran artist.
After almost 50 years of career only with this group, he is curious to know how to find inspiration after so much time. Above all, in a current context where it seems that everything has already been invented and that only the format remains to be exploited, these are the mixes. “Today, I feel like I have a huge library full of experiences somewhere in my inner universe,” says the musician.
Hans Lundin started playing in his first band St. Michael Sect in 1964. The years between 1964 and 1973 were, according to him, a lot of hard work and a lot of fun. He insists that at that time he had the best possible education and that’s why he put all this knowledge to good use when he decided to create Kaipa in 1973.
“I’ve said many times in the past that this might be Kaipa’s last album, but I kind of use it to find inspiration, come up with new ideas and start working on a new album. In this case, it became our 14th album, if it happens again, the future will tell us”, he underlines about the passage of time and the desire to come back to make a new album.
In addition, his songs have a strong connection to Swedish nature. It is that the Swedish territory is covered with forests at 80%. The southern part of Sweden is characterized by plains and low mountain areas. There are large lakes which have been its geographical feature since the Ice Age. “It’s very difficult to describe it in words, you have to look at the images or, why not, listen to Kaipa and our musical interpretation of the desert and the primitive forest”, he invites.
The value of new members
While the rest of the band’s lineup has remained intact for nearly 20 years, the new record features London drummer Darby Todd as a new addition to the lineup.
“Our guitarist Per Nilsson met Darby a few years ago at a music show when he was demonstrating Strandberg Guitars. They became friends and later Per played on Darby’s solo album “The Reality Of Zeros And Ones. When we needed a new drummer, Per suggested Darby to me. It was a good decision and he’s doing a great job on our new album,” Hans says of this addition.
His work routine is almost a habit. He records all the keyboards in his studio and to this are added the recordings of all the voices and violins that are there. The other musicians have their own professional studios where they record their parts. Being the oldest member and the one in charge of writing the songs, he doesn’t feel like the boss.
“I used to say ‘I write music like a black and white drawing and the other musicians fill in all the colors’, but I definitely don’t feel like a boss. Jonas Reingold, Aleena Gibson and Patrik Lundström have been with the band since 2002 and Per Nilsson joined us in 2006. The result of our collaboration is the sound that can be heard on the records and I am very happy to have all these extremely talented musicians on board the Kaipa ship”, he analyzes.
Today, at almost 75 years old, Hans is still active in his native Sweden, from where he continues to protect his close connection to nature and from which he draws to keep composing new music. “I used to say that Kaipa is a folk-fusion-progressive rock band. I hope there will always be an interest in music that draws inspiration from different sources and forms something new.