Thursday, May 19, 2011

Jahrtal Interview

1. Can you update us with what is going on with Jahrtal these days?


Jahrtal recently is working on some musical themes.


Some days ago we also did an English version (using the original Blake poem “Night”) of the song “Nacht” for a sampler with psychedelic music and folk music, that should be released in 2011.



2. How would you describe the musical style that you are working on?


If you call our music psychedelic folk that would be quite ok.



3. The recent album was based on the writings of William Blake, what made you decide to recite these poems in a different language, and do you plan on working on other poets during future releases?


I wanted to record some of the poems of William Blake and set them to music back in the 1970s. I also like and mainly agree with the messages of these poems; messages of a free, critical but always loving mind.


I first came in contact with the poetry of William Blake through Allen Ginsberg's LP "Songs of Innocence and Experience" that I heard on the radio when I was a teenager. I was very fascinated by this music and tried to find this LP for many years in vain. Not having been able to find this record I finally decided to create my own versions of some of the songs. This was the beginning of "Lieder von Unschuld und Widerfahren". To translate the poems into German was a challenge for me. I wanted to find the right words in my native language. This was a very beautiful and interesting work, bringing me very close to the poems.


I have not yet thought about working on more Blake writings or working on other poets, although it could be an incitement to continue with William Blake songs, another challenge...


For many years I have been thinking about setting to music songs and poems by the wonderful Tibetan poet and saint Milarepa.


We will see if Jahrtal will be able to do that.





4. What are some of the other music styles that you have experimented with besides folk?


In the 1980s I was primarily engaged in sound works and acoustic collages and in combination with this in art installations and radio works. You can find some sound samples of these works on my homepage http://ewald-spiss.de/ or here http://www.myspace.com/espiss



5. How would you describe your musical progress over the years and what direction do you see the music heading into on future releases?


Besides making music I also was engaged in drawing and painting and will try to keep this up.


My wife Christine and myself we love music and try to give our best although I do not consider myself to be a great musician and live performer. I am more like a drawer and painter working in the studio or in the field solely without an audience.


There is an idea to set into music a Buddhist fairy tale. Another long time idea is to pay homage to my teachers - this could become a crossover project between Jahrtal and the sound works I did in the 1980s.


Yes, there are some ideas for the future - but there is no hurry - we will see, what time will bring about.



6. How has your music been received so far by neo-folk and regular folk music fans worldwide?


Jahrtal has received some friendly reviews. I think Jahrtal is not so popular, but this does not matter, since our music reaches the people, who like it.



7. What are some other poets that you find interesting besides William Blake?


I very much like Romantic Poets like Novalis, Tieck and Eichendorff but also the writings of Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder.





8. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?


Long time favorite bands are The Incredible String Band, Dr. Strangely Strange, Fairport Convention... I also like so called World-Jazz, especially with Indian or oriental influences. One good example is Don Cherry’s “Relativity Suite”. There is a lot of interesting music in all styles of music.


At the moment I have rediscovered for me Baroque music like that of Corelli and Marais – wonderful music for theorbe and viola da gamba.



9. Outside of music what are some of your interests?


My family, the teachings of Buddha, art, nature, taking long walks in forests and mountains together with Christine and our small black dog…



10. Any final words or thoughts before we close this interview?


Thank you very much for your interest!

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