Photo: Mathias Fossum

Hectic summer season for Katzenjammer

Folk outfit Katzenjammer is in for a hectic summer with tours in Europe and North America on the agenda.

Mid-June marks the start of a very busy season for Nettwerk-signed folk/Balkan/gypsy powerhouse outfit Katzenjammer. The band is gearing up for the North American release of its critically acclaimed ‘Le Pop’ album and supports the campaign with live dates in Canada and the US, including a stint at Lilith Fair. Over the summer, Katzenjammer is also set to play a string of shows at home and across Europe.

Katzenjammer’s ascent into the spotlight started at the beginning of 2008, when they appeared at the Scandinavian music convention by:Larm in Oslo. Their special blend folk/country/Balkan/ gypsy/ rickety-rock pop (which strangely enough is not as confusing as it sounds) along with the impressive array of 29 (and counting) instruments on which the ladies are self-taught blew away an audience of industry people and journalists. The performance catapulted Katzenjammer into the larger clubs of Norway, including the 1,500-capacity Rockefeller, which they sold out twice in a 90-day period recently.

Katzenjammer—Solveig Heilo, Anne Marit Bergheim, Turid Jørgensen and Marianne Sveen—released their debut album Le Pop in Norway in late 2008 to critical praise. One writer described the album as ”a mix between Eastern European folk music, B-52s, the sisters Kate & Anna McGarrigle, seasick bluegrass, country blues and a carnival orchestra on the run.” Le Pop was produced by Kåre Westrheim and Mike Hartung, also known for their work with notable Norwegian artists Marit Larsen and Superfamily.

During 2009, Katzenjammer spread their passport-free brand of musical mayhem from the EuroSonic Noorderslag Convention in the Netherlands to major festivals like SXSW and Bonnaroo in the US and back to London where they appeared as special guests of the band Keane at the 20,000 capacity 02 Arena.

On stage, Katzenjammer displays their own version of musical chairs, the various instruments—including the tuba, the balalaika bass, drums, harmonica, piano, banjo, accordion, mandolin, guitar, melodica and, very efficiently, the aforementioned trumpet—continuously circulating among the four musicians, adding a circus element to the show. The band’s appearance at SXSW last March caught the attention of concert goers and led to confirmed appearances at other US festivals like Summerfest, where they opened for Elvis Costello, and Bonnaroo, where David Byrne invited the ladies to play his stage (the first ever artist-curated stage at Bonnaroo) alongside Santigold, the Dirty Projectos and Dave Byrne and Brian Eno.

After seeing their Bonnaroo set, the New York Times stated, “There was no telling what they’d do next, except that it was sure to be deft and charming” and Spin Magazine named the band in their list of “25 Must-Hear Acts.”

Katzenjammer recently signed with Nettwerk Music Group and will release Le Pop in North America on June 29, 2010.

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