Varelse – Creature Comforts
For several years after returning home from studying Scandinavian folk music in Sweden, Amy Hakanson searched for fellow musicians interested in exploring modern and traditional Scandinavian folk music. She finally found them in Collin Stackhouse, Joe Pomianek, and Steven Skolnik. Creature Comforts is the result of their efforts to push themselves musically, to create collaboratively, and to test the boundaries of instrumental folk music while maintaining a connection to tradition. All the band members come from different musical backgrounds, with just enough overlap that they can build off of each other’s experiences and form their own musical language. Nearly all of the album was recorded live together in the same room, and features all instrumental tunes written by Amy, Collin, and Joe, along with several medleys of traditional folk melodies.
Hailing from Portland, OR, Varelse is a unique ensemble of various musical traditions, instruments, and histories. Nyckelharpa, fiddle, six-string guitar and various hand percussion instruments come together to create a sound that is simultaneously old and new. Weaving together Scandinavian folk tradition, North American fiddle tunes, and Western European melodies, along with African and Middle Eastern rhythmic traditions, Varelse is pushing the boundaries of folk fusion.