XENO MANÍA – EXPLORING THE UNKNOWN ”The organic sounds of Ale Möller are seductive”
Alexander Agrell is witnessing the maestro unleashing a brand new band and a suite by Ale Möller, “Xeno evil fear no evil”. Professionals making beautiful music together.
Ale Möller is depicting “Xeno Mania” as the joy for the unknown. The album is a celebration of four musicians that once gave Möller such joyous musical discoveries. – Violinist Gibril Bah from Senegal, fiddler Röjås Jonas from Boda, Tarak Das Baul from India as well as the Greek singer Barba Thodoros. This is a brand new suite by Ale Möller played by his big orchestra consisting of saxophones, Swedish keyed-fiddles, French horn, drums, bass and piano. The maestro himself is playing around 300-400 instruments as usual. The many musical styles and grooves might not be new – but the way of fusing them together is, even though the musical DNA of Möller is present. The impact, resilience, the tasty melodies, swing as well as the organized sounds are making life a happy party.
Ale Möller is celebrating 50 years as a performing artist in 2021! In conjunction to that, he´s Sweden´s most well known hidden secret and has released a grand opus that celebrates the urge of exploring the unknown. Having more than 1000 songs registered at STIM and a number of prestigious collaborations in his summary he´s become to be a central figure on the Scandinavian folk/world music scene. Hence the name ”The Godfather of Nordic folk”. Besides being a rare breed of multi-instrumentalists, Ale´s also a philosopher and storyteller that manages fuses musical brilliance with a warm sense of humour on stage. Over the years, Ale´s fan base has grown bigger, giving him a wider audience although being far from the ”commercial middle road”. Thanks to his many pioneering projects he´s managed (as the sole Scandinavian) to be honored with the prestigious award ”Folk alliance Lifetime Achievement award”. He´s sharing that honor with previous award winners Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Harry Belafonte & Joan Baez. Ale was also granted the ”Sir George Martin award” for inspiring younger musicians to explore musical diversity. - Half a century on stage...Of course I wonder what´s driven me all these years. Generally I always get intrigued and elated when I can´t fully grasp something and when I face something different. I must be a hard wired Xenoman! Most people are different and they get uncomfortable. I don´t believe in moralizing about this. We moralize when political streams exploits xenophobia and make politics of it instead, Ale says. Being defiant and opening new doors.
Ale Möller works both internationally and domestically, and he always had the capability of finding the unique voice in music. The Ale Möller sound pushes the listener to open new doors. As being an estrador, musician, composer, professor and inspiring lecturer, Ale keeps defying and expanding the boundaries of music. What started as a commisioned work inquiry from Swedish radio ended up in an album release from the art music outfit XENO MANIA. Ale Möller has channeled the inspiration from 4 of his biggest mentors: a Greek amanes singer, an Indian baul guru, a legendary Dalecarlian fiddler and a riti player from West Africa. - Previously, it was my musician friends from all over the world that inspired me. But after starting XENO MANIA I discovered that I could get that inspiration from within. Many of my big inspirers are not even alive anymore, but they´re still very present in my mind. It´s like jamming with people that are dead.
A totally unique sound is created from having double percussionists, a horn section and a Swedish keyed fiddle blending in. This 9 piece orchestra is meticulously picked by ciceron Ale and every member is a big name for themself having their own history. He combines the traditional with the contemporary and the key to Ale´s artistry is that his music is never mainstream. The album XENO MANÍA was released on February 19:th on the new QUALITY RECORDINGS label. The band will tour Sweden from April 20 to 29.
I´ve traveled a lot doing music and I´m often marvelled from the impact some musicians have had on me. This album is dedicated to 4 of these. It´s not like we´re trying to copy their style, but more like using their approach, energy & musical storytelling. That has been an important inspiration to me when creating this music. None of them are alive anymore, but I remember them fondly with gratitude.
The album XENO MANÍA was released on February 19:th on the new QUALITY RECORDINGS label. The band will tour Sweden from April 20 to 29.
The touring band will consist of:
Ale Möller (various instruments)
Jonas Knutsson (saxophones)
Anna Malmström (clarinet)
Johan Graden (piano/keyboard)
Karin Hammar (trombon)
Erik Rydvall (Swedish keyed fiddle)
Felicia Westberg (bass)
Liliana Zavala (percussion)
Robin Cochrane (percussion)
Ale´s statement about the XENO MANIA album:
I´ve traveled a lot doing music and I´m often marvelled from the impact some musicians have had on me. This album is dedicated to 4 of these. It´s not like we´re trying to copy their style, but more like using their approach, energy & musical storytelling. That has been an important inspiration to me when creating this music.
None of them are alive anymore, but I remember them fondly with gratitude.
Gibril Bah lived In the village of Toubab Diallow south of Dakar, West Africa, and was a master of the one stringed fiddle called ”riti”, which originates from the Foulani people. Gibril was a proud man. He and I always played together as equals. Once, when I told him that, he said: ”That is correct Ali Mullah! We are equal. But there is a difference: You travel around the world, record albums and do tv-shows. I don´t. I have to stay in this village and play for the same people until the day I die.” He was right. We had plans of bringing him to Sweden but a cardiac arrest ended his life before that.
TARAK DAS BAUL
A few years ago during a journey in Bengal, India, I met Tarak Khyapa das Baul, who was a spiritual and musical guru from the guild of the ancient Baul wanderers. Most of all he was a musician living in the present and had an incredible presence and energy. We communicated a lot without even knowing the others language. We spoke thru our eyes and from gestures, but mostly thru music. His sons Kangal & Sadhu are now carrying on his legacy.
Fiddler Röjås Jonas lived in Boda, a village north of Rättvik, Dalecarlia. In the beginning of the 80´s I moved to a neighbouring village and we became friends and musical companions thereafter. Jonas was a very composite person and who was strict and permissive at the same time. As well as serious and a playful scapegrace at the same time. His intense way of playing his polska on his fiddle was truly breath taking.
Barba Thodoros lived in Ambelas village on Paros island which is a part of the Greek group of islands called Kykladhes. I was just above 20 years of age and he was above his 60´s. We became friends and Barba Thodoros loved singing, but he had a problem. In his village it was customary that whenever someone dies, you are obliged to wear a mourning band and you aren´t allowed to sing or dance for 6 months. Thodoros was frustrated cuz he was the youngest of 8 siblings and every time these 6 months were about to expire, another sibling died. He never got to sing, so one day I rented a car and I told him: ”Thodoros, no one will find out if you sing late at night in a car”. That night we drove around in the mountains under the pale full moon and Barba Thodoros was sitting in the back seat singing ”amanes” with his raspy, powerful voice and I was at the steering wheel shivering with excitement. ”amanes” med sin kraftfulla raspiga röst och jag satt vid ratten och rös av vällust.