in Bamberg, Germany, with my friend Evgenia, the Greek cat. we are on the steps of Internationales Künstlerhaus Villa Concordia, where i played one of my favourite concerts in November 2015, and where thanks to Nora, Stephanie, Wiebke, and the rest of its wonderful team, i was allowed to practice on its piano today in preparation for Saturday’s show in Erba Park, the penultimate night of this year’s Nachsommer Festival.
i saw the stage yesterday; it is in a lovely, peaceful location, close to the river. i hope to see you there. directions are below, and the ticket link is here. come see Coucou (17:00) and Theater im Gärtnerviertel (18:45); my set will begin at 20:30.
Bus: Take line 906 to the Heinrich-Semlinger-Straße stop. Walk along Heinrich-Semlinger-Straße to the Schwarze Brücke (a pedestrian bridge over the river Regnitz), cross the bridge and follow the signs.
Car: For arrival by car: The parking garage near the university offers enough parking spaces and is open 24/7 (1 € per started hour).An der Weberei 596049 Bamberg. From there, walk straight into ERBA-Park, turn right at the green pyramids and then left.
On foot: Take the footpath along the Main-Donau-Canal to ERBA-Park and walk straight on to ERBA-Spitze, where the festival takes place (from city center about 20/25 min).
back in Iceland, and alone, thanks to the generosity of dear friends (thank you, S and Ó). reconnecting with old and new songs in preparation for the concert in Germany on September 18th; finally able to sing and play out loud again (circumstances in Canada changed partway through the pandemic and put a hard stop to even very soft singing in my little apartment, for eight months i felt like a bird crushed under a boot). my voice feels stronger than ever, and it’s been indescribably lovely and healing to rediscover my songs this way, the wind often accompanying me as it plays the house like an enormous pipe organ, humming and whistling beneath the floors and inside the walls.
there’s also been a few light years’ worth of hiking so far, the discovery of a new cave (unsure if it’s sleepable yet), and as many wild blueberry crumbles as i can stand to eat (and that the hills can supply for), which in both cases seems to be an almost infinite number. thinking that maybe this can be my first “merch”. not t-shirts, or posters – crumbles.
more on album #5 when possible. it turns out that being a crushed bird isn’t the most conducive state for writing and recording music, especially after ______, and regardless, because of dwindling funds, a decision needed to be made. on that note, CD copies of Volume 1 have also had to wait, as the choice was between (a) manufacturing CDs/worrying about getting into the studio again, and (b) buying a ticket to this place, i.e. freeing a heart from under a boot. to me, the choice was obvious.
tickets are still available for the my performance at Nachsommer, in Bamberg, Germany on September 18th – please see the last update for ticket links, or click on ‘tour’ for details. in an unexpected way, this show has only become more exciting to me, as my effects pedal died shortly after arriving in Iceland. this has forced me to be as ultra-minimalist musically as i try to be when i set out on an overnight hike, which only feels exactly right, somehow.
i hope you’re all okay. sending love always.
Raised By Swans’ first concert in what feels like eleven aching eternities (if only to me) will be happening on Saturday, September 18th, 2021, at Nachsommer, an open-air music and arts festival in Bamberg, Germany. it will be a solo performance, and i’ll be playing songs from all of my albums. to say that i hope to see you there is possibly one of the greatest understatements ever recorded.
my thanks to Martin Beyer for his invitation and all the hard work he’s put into arranging this; finding and booking shows is never easy for independent musicians, even when the world isn’t locked inside a falling safe, and of course no one knew what would even be possible this year. by early 2021 i was down a well that seemed only to be deepening with each passing day. then there was a burst of light, and it was Martin, sending a ladder down.
Bamberg is a very special place; its old town dates back to the 9th century, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. i was first invited to sing in its ancient heart in 2015, squeezing my way through its warren of ultra-narrow cobblestone streets in a too-large rented car (i’ve since taken only trains, but ripping along the Bundesautobahn at the speed of light was/is an undeniable pleasure) and arriving at my hotel just as the sun was setting, at which point i rushed up the stairs to my room, threw open the windows, and found myself greeted immediately with an absurd and glorious cacaphony of church bells, so many billions of bells seemingly on cue and coming from all directions that i started laughing, then crying (i was overtired). it was the perfect welcome, even it wasn’t meant for me, and several hours later, after some local rauchbier and exploration on foot, i was officially head over heels.
the concert is happening inside the lovely ERBA park, by the river, and my set will be the final one of an evening called “Traumkraut” (English translation: “Dreamweed”, the source of poet Yvan Goll’s haunting final works), featuring two other performers, Coucou and Theater im Gärtnerviertel. one can purchase advance tickets for either the whole night (which i’d recommend), here: https://www.nachsommer-bamberg.de/events/martin-beyer-traumkraut (please note that the times listed are wrong at the top of the page – music will begin at 17:00, with my set beginning at 20:30), or a ticket for my performance only, here: https://www.nachsommer-bamberg.de/events/raised-by-swans.
questions about accommodations or details about the show can be directed to Martin, who has kindly offered his email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(note: much of this post was written before the devastating and heartbreaking floods began in Germany and Belgium. Bamberg has not been directly impacted, but i wouldn’t feel right to not acknowledge this. my thoughts are with those involved.)
this update brought to you by a flash flood of dopamine. leaving shortly for the studio with a bursting heart. and an apple. broke through some final walls with volume 2 this week. including deciding that it’s not part 2 of album #4, as originally planned – it’s album #5.
volumes 1 and 2 will be forever linked, and will share their main title. but as of three days ago volume 2 has a subtitle to set it apart. which came with the sudden realization that i need the two volumes to be separate albums. separate islands, miles apart. but joined by an underwater plateau.
since february, i’ve written a few new songs that will replace a few i’d rather release at a later time. and though there’s still a lot to do, i feel very close now to finishing. a single (or two) will be released sometime over the summer, and the album will come out this fall, hopefully accompanied by some live performances….one of which may or may not already be arranged, an invitation that brought me up from the depths, and that even if it ends up swallowed up by COVID-19 has been a beautiful exercise in mutual optimism.
p.s. physical copies will happen for both volumes/albums, and maybe someday a united package of both albums together, though for now the absolutely ridiculous financial challenges i’ve created around all of this make me feel a bit ill. so more on that when i have a proper plan. today’s for making music.
this picture is a detail of the design of an electronic board that as of 2022 will be orbiting the earth as part of the inner workings of multiple satellites. it was sent to me because of what its designer decided to engrave upon it as an easter egg.
thank you again to Montaser (the designer) for writing to let me know about this, and in the process delighting and honouring me beyond words.
turns out that releasing an album (even half an album) during a global pandemic is a sublimely lonely experience. definitely a “would not recommend”.
but i’m grateful to all of you. and the first 12 songs have been let out into the meadows. so everything is okay.
i’ve just never believed that the internet is here to save us all. i want a night in a tiny club that smells like beer and hot amplifiers. even if i’m not onstage myself. i miss hearts beating in the same room. long live live music.
lyrics for volume 1 are now available both here and on bandcamp.
thank you for all of your messages of love and support over the past week – normally i’d have disappeared at once into nature for as long as possible after putting new music out (my own personal “promotional strategy”), but of course haven’t been able to. so this has been very weird. but you’ve helped make it less so.
CDs containing both volumes 1 and 2 will be made once volume 2 is complete (still working on this). for now, volume 1 is available on spotify, apple music, tidal, deezer, and some others. a proper list with links will appear somewhere very soon to make things easier. please do spread the word if you’d like to help, i’m useless at this part of things (see above).
as in, a man in a small, cold apartment has just clicked “release” on a laptop with a splintered screen. with a glass of whisky in his other hand.
robot-behemoths like spotify and itunes/apple music will release it automatically at 1:01 am EST, like those spooky, timed lawn sprinklers, the ones that suddenly spin into life in the darkness. whereas the bandcamp release was handcrafted, albeit ultra-clumsily.
i know that some of you will be out there listening, but all of this silence/distance/loss is breaking my heart. i want to see your faces, and not on a screen, splintered or not. i want to sing to them. hopefully someday soon.
for now let’s hold on together. or apart. the together thing is trite, i’m just realizing. just hold on, please.
p.s. track #6 is intentionally six seconds of (specific) silence. track #1 ends abruptly on purpose. everything is deliberate.
lyrics for the first four are posted now. also: these four finished songs will remain as is, but for those who have pre-ordered, please don’t be alarmed if you happen to notice the song order (or the titles of the other songs) on ‘volume 1’ changing between now and february 9th on the bandcamp page. i’m still making some decisions.
no matter what, volume 1 will continue to contain 11 songs…perhaps even more? but certainly not less.