Over the last two decades Frigg has built itself a reputation as a Nordic supergroup of contemporary folk music. Petri Prauda who plays mandolin, bagpipe and cittern in the band of seven, is happy to head back to Scotland for a gig at Celtic Connections.
It’s Frigg’s 20th anniversary year, do you have big plans to celebrate?
We have all sorts of exciting things planned! At the end of the month we will release our new album FriXX. We have gigs and festivals booked in Britain, America, Canada, the Benelux countries, Germany and Austria. We have also started touring in concert halls with symphony orchestras. There are seven of us in the band and I have to admit that making this work with everybody’s personal schedules is like doing calendar ballet.
Next, you will be performing in Glasgow at the Celtic Connections festival. Is Scotland a familiar place to you?
We have visited Scotland a few times. We have played for example in Edinburgh, Orkney Folk Festival, Shetland Folk Festival and Isle of Skye. I feel like there’s still a lot more to see in Scotland. This is our third time playing at Celtic Connections. It’s an amazing festival to play at because the audiences are big and there’s so much to see. There are jams for every evening and the atmosphere is very lively.
What are your live shows like? Is everything that happens on stage pre-planned?
This is a very interesting topic to discuss and we have talked about it many times over the years. Our shows are not pre-planned but the way we perform has been refined over time. In live situations some small choreographic elements that go with specific songs have surfaced. We play instrumental music and there are no lyrics, which is why we have thought a lot about the narrative arc and the dynamics of the music. I think that the essence of Frigg’s music is in how the energy, melodies and harmonies flow when we play the songs. According to our view, a concert is a dialogue. We always aim to create an atmosphere of togetherness.
You have also played in places much more distant than Scotland, how do different cultures affect the way you perform?
Cultural differences definitely have an impact on our performances but professional performers can’t let it affect themselves too much, if it feels like you are not getting a response from the audience. Once in Norway we felt like we weren’t getting anything out of the audience. We just played into the darkness. After the show, a lot of people came to thank us and bought loads of albums. You just have to believe in your own thing and accept the situation as it is. We have also been surprised by the energy and excitement of some audiences. Once we played at Lotus Festival in Bloomington, Indiana, where the atmosphere went through the roof.
You have been touring the world for 20 years, won all sorts of prizes and released ten albums. What motivates you to continue and what do you still want to achieve?
For me making and playing music are social things. At its heart, making music and art is an attempt to deal with something that’s familiar to everybody, but simultaneously something that we don’t have words for. As a band we have a lot of exciting new things happening. A good example of this is our collaboration with symphony orchestras. It would be amazing to try to do it internationally. There are also many countries that we haven’t visited yet. According to my calculations, we have played in 23 countries so there are still so many places where we could go. We have never been to Latin-America and it would be an interesting place to explore.
Frigg at Celtic Connections
Saturday, 1st of February at 7:30pm at City Halls
Candleriggs, Glasgow, G1 1NQ
Text: Eeva Lehtonen Photo: Tero Ahonen