MARTINA ALMGREN

Drummer and composer Martina Almgren is described as a colourful addition to the contemporary Swedish jazz scene. Her passion for playful improvisations, enticing rhyhtms and expressive melodies reflects her drumming as well as her compositions.
 
Martina Almgren entered the Swedish jazz scene in the late 90s and has through the years been involved in several international collaborations and composed on commission for the Swedish Jazz Radio and for contemporary ensembles. For many she is previously known from groups like Martina Almgren Quartet and Oh Yeah Orchestra. Martina is also one of the creative leaders of MOZ Trio together with the brittish pianist Zoe Rahman and Owe Almgren. 

 martinaalmgren.com

Martina Almgren PEACE OF MIND
OYR014 Oh Yeah Records release 6 September 2019

© Kajsa Nilsson © Kajsa Nilsson

The Swedish drummer and composer Martina Almgren has created a mesmerising second solo album, Peace of Mind. In this very playful recording she returns to her musical roots in collaboration with saxophonist Elin Forkelid, guitarr player Mattias Torell and Owe Almgren electric bass. A meeting between earthy grooves and ethereal tunes in an organic way. Vivid and with a very tangible, dynamic beat.




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Martina Almgren – drums, piano&voice
Elin Forkelid – saxophones
a shining star on the Swedish contemporary jazz scene. Recently received the prestigious award ”Jazzkannan 2019” from the Swedish Jazz Association, for innovative efforts in jazz music.
Mattias Torell- guitar 
one of the most sought after guitarists in Swedish pop music, (Lisa Nilsson, Erik Gadd, Eagle Eye Cherry). 
Owe Almgren– electric bass
With a broad expresssion he moves effortless between genres in big bands as well as in smaller constellations (Jim Beard, Owe Almgren Jazztrio).

All compositions by Martina Almgren except no 2 based on a traditional joik, and no 5 by Lennart Kullgren. Lyrics on no 3 by Werner Aspenström. 
Recorded and mixed by Janne Hanssong at Atlantis Studio, Stockholm in February 2019
Mastered by Henrik Alsér at Svenska Grammofon Studion  2019
Cover design by Kajsa Nilsson
Produced by Martina Almgren OH YEAH RECORDS 2019. 

Martina Almgren © Malin Almgren Martina Almgren © Malin Almgren

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Group Peace of Mind © Janne Hansson Group Peace of Mind © Janne Hansson


 

Martina Almgren THIS SONG OF MINE
OYR013 Oh Yeah Records release 7 September 2018

On her new album ”This Song of Mine”, Martina collaborates with the oud player Ahmad al Khatib with roots in Palestine, the Swedish singer Karin Burman and the acoustic bass guitarist Owe Almgren. The album features music composed to poems by the India/Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore and has influences from jazz as well as world and English Medieval music.


”I searched for new ways to approach composition and I wanted to work with lyrics. So I let the words lead and form a melody – I sang the poem at the first sight instead of reading it. This became a creative start for me. In a chamber music format I explored the expressions of the instruments; oud, vocals, acoustic bass guitar and percussion and let the musicians add their individual colour.” 

LISTEN

Martina Almgren – drums & percussion
Karin Burman – vocals
Ahmad al Khatib – oud
Owe Almgren – acoustic bass guitar


1. Opening
2. Waiting
3. I Thought(Closed Path)
4. Transit 1
5. I Dreamt
6. The Night is Black (On the Nature of Love)
7. Crossing
8. This Song of Mine (My Song)
9. Transit II
10. The Sun of the First Day
11. Flower
12. Ground

*All compositions by Martina Almgren
Lyrics by Rabindranath Tagore 
*no 4, 7, 9, 12 are improvisations by  Almgren/ Almgren/ al Khatib
Musical arrangements by Martina & Owe Almgren. Recorded and mixed by Johannes Lundberg at Studio Epidemin 2018.
Mastered by Henrik Alsér at Svenska Grammofon Studion  2018. Cover photo, art and graphic design by Malin Almgren.
Group photo by Donovan von Martens
Produced by Owe Almgren 

Reviews This Song of Mine
"A beautiful musical creation where the oud and the bass guitar embraces the melody and enchants the listeners with a sense of dignity and sophistication."

A fascinating sound, supreme percussion... 
The drummer and composer Martina Almgren, presenting herself on a new adventure, where she created music based on the Indian-Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore´s lyrics - sung by Karin Burman. Along with Ahmad al Khatib on oud and Owe Almgren on acoustic bass guitar they are looking forward to a chamber jazz-oriental landscape characterized by the thoughtfulness and aroma of a starry night. Almgren's musical framing of the lyrical poems highlights the poetry's moods in a powerful way...a beautiful and fine combination. LIRA #4 2018

 

Photo by Donovan von Martens©
Photo by Donovan von Martens©

Lyrics by Tagore to This Song of Mine

WAITING 
The song I came to sing 
remains unsung to this day
I´am waiting, I am waiting

I have spent my days in stringing 
and in unstringing my instrument 

The time has not come true, 
the words have not been rightly set, 
only there is the agony 
of wishing in my heart

I have not seen his face, 
nor have I listened to his voice,
only I have heard his gentle footsteps 
from the road before my house

But the lamp has not been lit 
I cannot ask him into my house, 
I live in the hope of meeting with him, 
but this meeting is not yet 

I THOUGHT (Closed Path) 
I thought, I thought
I thought that my voyage had come to its end 
at the last limit of my power,
that the path before me was closed

that provisions were exhausted 
and the time come to take shelter 
in a silent obscurity

But I find that thy will knows no end in me. 
And when old words(songs) die out on the tongue, 
new melodies break forth from the heart, 
and where the old tracks are lost, 
and where the old tracks are lost, 
new country is revealed with its wonders

I DREAMT
I dreamt that she sat by my head, 
tenderly ruffling my hair withher fingers, 
playing the melody of her touch

I looked at her faceand struggled with my tears, 
till the agony of unspoken words burst,
 my sleep like a bubble

I sat up and saw the glow of the Milky Way above my window,
like a world of silence on fire, 
and I wondered if at this moment
she had a dream that rhymed with mine

THE NIGHT IS BLACK (On the Nature of Love) 
The night is black and the forest has no end,
a million people thread it in a million ways

We have trysts to keep in the darkness, 
but where or with whom - of that we are unaware

But we have this faith - that a lifetime's bliss
will appear any minute, with a smile upon its lips

Scents, touches, sounds, snatches of songs
brush us, pass us, gives us delightful shocks

The night is black and the forest has no end,
a million people thread it in a million ways

Then peradventure there's a flash of lightning:
whomever I see that instant I fall in love with

I call that person and cry: `This life is blest!
for your sake such miles have I traversed!'
All those others who came close and moved off
in the darkness - 
I don't know if they exist or not

THIS SONG OF MINE (My Song) 
This song of mine will wind its music around you, my child, 
This song of mine, likethe fond arms of love
This song of mine, will touch your forehead like a kiss, my child,
This song of mine, like a kiss  ofblessing
My song will be like wings to your dreams,
it will sit by your side and whisper inyour ear, 
My song will sit in the pupils of your eyes, 
and carryyour sight into the heart of things

It will be like the faithful star 
when dark night isover your road
 
This song of mine will wind its music around you, my child, 
This song of mine, likethe fond arms of love
This song of mine, will touch your forehead like a kiss, my child,
This song of mine, like a kiss of blessing

This song of mine, this song of mine

THE SUN OF THE FIRST DAY
The sun of the first day
Put the question
Who are you?

There was no answer.
Years, years passed by
On the shore of the western sea
In the hush of evening

The last sun of the last day
Uttered the question 
Who are you?
on the shore of the western sea
In the hush of evening
on the shore of the western sea

FLOWER
Pluck this little flower and take it, delay not! 
I fear lest it droop 
and drop into the dust

I may not find a place in thy garland, 
but honour it with a touch of 
pain from thy hand and pluck it

I fear lest the day will end before I am aware, 
and the time of offering go by 


Pluck this little flower and take it, delay not! 
I fear lest it droop 
and drop into the dust 

Though its colour be not deep and its smell be faint, 
so use this flower in thy service 
and pluck it while there is time
 
So use this flower in thy service 
and pluck it while -  there is time