With spine-tingling vocal polyphony, blue notes, intimacy and power, the four women of Swedish a capella group Kongero (Lotta Andersson, Anna Wikenius, Anna Larsson and Emma Björling) push the boundaries in both folk and vocal music and joyously bring Scandinavian trad into the 21st century. The quartet was formed in 2005 when the original members (all graduates of Stockholm’s Royal College of Music) started singing together by chance at a Nordic folk music conference and discovered that their voices and harmonies blended perfectly. As the women say, “Four voices, one vision, infinite possibilities”.
With a band name that means “spider” (maybe to convey the sense that they are one body weaving a web of harmonies) and a new genre of music that the women call “Swedish Folk’apella,” Kongero has truly become one of their country’s leading vocal groups. Their singing tells life’s tales, whether in moving love songs, dramatic medieval ballads, witty ditties, or spirited dances. It’s repertoire that would be right at home on the soundtracks to Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings.
The UK’s Leith Folk Club describes Kongero’s music as “powerful, evocative and haunting,” while Israeli music journalist Jeff Meshel writes, “This group is a revelation. The beauty of the four voices is equaled only by the pristine, flawless arrangements. They provide a stunning example of a marriage between the traditional and the innovative. This magical Swedish music very much deserves to be heard far and wide.”
Kongero has received high praise for its four full-length albums: Om Mikaelidagen (2008), Bakvända Världen (2011), no. 3 (2014) and KOM (2017). Their releases were followed by extensive tours around the globe, including several previous Sunfest indoor and festival dates. In 2015, the quartet celebrated its 10th anniversary with numerous special events, such as the release of a Kongero beer and a songbook. Kongero is a 2019 Official Showcase Artist at the upcoming Folk Alliance International conference in Montreal and, this coming spring, it will premier VAERLA VAKEN, a collaborative album with Swedish instrumental band Massivet.