Salamander is a trio based in Gothenburg, Sweden, which plays a mixture of early music and folk music from various parts of the world. The repertory stretches from Medieval pilgrim songs and dance melodies from the Renaissance and the Baroque to traditional songs of the Central Asian Tatars and the Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews, as well as folk songs from Greece, Italy, Russia and the British Isles and much more besides.
The arrangements have been improvised forth by the musicians themselves, and particularly the Medieval songs and the 17th century dance tunes from the pens of John Playford, Henry Purcell and others are played in a style which owes more to Nordic and British folk music than to conventional Classical music.
Salamander was founded in the autumn of 2010. Marita Johansson (vocals and guitar) and Jonas Liljeström (fiddle, vocals and percussion) were the original members, and the melodeonist, mandolinist and vocalist David Odlöw joined the group in the summer of 2011. Since then, they have been developing their repertory and appearing locally in and around Gothenburg, and now they are ready to go further afield.
The salamander, to whom the band owes its name, is considered a fire spirit in ancient and medieval symbologies and mystery traditions – one of the four elemental spirits. The Salamander is, among other things, the embodiment of courage and resourcefulness.
Marita Johansson (vocals and guitar)
Marita Johansson has several years of experience of singing folk songs, including Roma/Gypsy songs from Russia and Eastern Europe (which she performs with fiddler Jonas Liljeström and flamenco guitarist Emil Pernblad in Salamander's sister group Krilja) as well as songs from the Jewish and Greek folk music traditions, as well as many other traditions. She has studied music and song privately and has also learned several learned various languages in order to correctly interpret the lyrics of the songs in her repertory, including several dialects of Romanes as well as Russian.
Jonas Liljeström (fiddle, ghatam and vocals)
Jonas Liljeström started playing the fiddle on a semi-professional (and eventually fully-professional) level in 1990. He has played in bands with widely different musical orientations over the years, and also participated in the organising of the annual Irish cultural festival ”Gothenburg Irish Festival” in the late 1990s. He is proficient in many different musical styles, including Nordic, British and Irish folk music, jazz, blues, bluegrass, klezmer and various kinds of East European folk music. His latest projects include the CD ”Semno Palla Mander” which he recorded together with the Roma/Traveller folk singer Ralf Novák Rosengren. Jonas is also a PhD student of ethnomusicology at Gothenburg University.
David Odlöw (melodeon, mandolin, bouzouki and vocals)
David Odlöw is a multi instrumantalist who plays – among other things – melodeon, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, bass guitar and drums. He is fluent in several different folk music traditions as well as progressive rock music. He has played in numerous groups over the years, including such different constellations as the rock band Lex Maria, the Irish pub band Sláinte as well as several music theatre productions. From 2010-2011 David studied folk music at the Eric Sahlström Institute, and as of autumn 2011 he studies world music at the Academy of Music and Drama at Gothenburg University.