Väsen is a Swedish word meaning many thing, including spirit, noise, essence. It was originally meant to be just an album title for musicians Olov Johansson (nyckelharpa), Mikael Marin (viola) and Roger Tallroth (twelve-string guitar) when they first recorded together in 1990, but the name stuck. While Olov and Mikael were playing fairly straightforward folk, Roger’s guitar brought a different twist that some in the Swedish folk scene initially resisted. Yet, it was those very chordings and rhythms that also attracted an entirely new audience. The group has since, in various forms, gone from success to success in Sweden and further afield.
In 1994, with two more studio albums under their belt (“Vilda Väsen” and “Essence”), Väsen were asked to participate on a project of Swedish rock musician Mats Wester called Nordman, which featured rock music and lyrics but with arrangements and playing by Väsen. The first Nordman CD was a huge hit in Sweden, and the band embarked on two tours and recorded a second Nordman CD, playing in front of audiences of up to 25,000 people. On the first Nordman tour they met drummer André Ferrari and began experimenting with a drums-and-bass version of Väsen. Ultimately though, they settled on André playing hand percussion, and the band officially becomes a quartet in 1996.
In 1997 the quartet recorded “Varldens Väsen” (“Whirled” in North America), and toured Norway, Denmark, Finland, Italy, France, the United States and Canada. They won a Swedish Grammy and appeared twice on “A Prairie Home Companion” in the U.S.. In 1999 they released their sixth CD, “Gront”
A large U.S. tour for September 2001 had to be cancelled after 9/11 and although the tour was rescheduled for 2002, André’s commitments at home forced the band to decide to return to the original trio format. They have since continued to tour and record regularly.
They will be in The Dock in Carrick-on-Shannon on Wednesday > http://www.thedock.ie/