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Singer-Songwriter, World
  • Aino Löwenmark
    piano, vocals
  • Hanmari Spiegel
    violin, guitar, vocals
  • + Band (Quartett auf Anfrage)
Booking-territory: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg


Release: 01.09.23
Release Concert: 29.08.23 in the Small Hall of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg

The new, and indeed 10th(!), album from Fjarill is titled “Walden”. It’s colorful, it’s a lively, rhythmic creature, it has the temperament of the South African steppe, and the Swedish-dreamy lightness brought about, of course, by Aino Löwenmark’s wonderful voice and Hanmari Spiegel’s ethereal-folk violin sounds, but also by the two co-musicians at her side: On bass we hear Omar Rodriguez Calvo (triosence, Ramon Valle or tingvall trio) and on drums Jürgen Spiegel (Vladyslav Sendecki or Tingvall Trio).
This is not the first time they play together with Fjarill. Whether live on stage or in studio recordings for the albums “Tiden. “Livet” or “Midsommar” – again and again the two proven jazz luminaries contribute a proper pinch of dance rhythm. But “Walden” is also so lively because it was recorded live and completely analog in the studio. No more musical distancing and individual sound tracks sent back and forth by e-mail. People are allowed to make music together again. The musicians were able to exchange ideas directly and rub up against each other musically. This created new sound spaces for Aino Löwenmark and Hanmari Spiegel in their own compositions, which were sometimes allowed to develop into a butterfly bossanova, or a tango chanson.
In order to concentrate on the singing and the lyrics, the renowned Berlin pianist and improvisation artist Jens Thomas was brought in for some of the songs. Thus, even more lightness was gained.
Because all songs were composed and lyricized together in their own “Walden” studio, the album may as well bear the same name. Once again Fjarill have managed to set a piece of home to music – and that is, as Fjarill fans know, somewhere between heart and head, directly at the Elbe, which flows past the colorful houses of Cape Town into the archipelago.

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The Swedish singer and pianist Aino Löwenmark and the South African violinist Hanmari Spiegel met in Hamburg in 2004 to delight people with their very own sound between folk, pop, jazz and classical music from then on. Fjarill have been part of the German music scene for more than 17 years, although they originally come from Sweden and South Africa. They have already sold out both the Fabrik and the Elbphilharmonie and tour every year (D / AT / SWE). Two powerfully luminous and delicately drifting voices, using different languages – in English, German, Swedish and Afrikaans – to create a universal warmth. A poetic border crossing.

Sometimes in life it just fits. Humanly, musically, atmospherically. “Aino’s singing touched something very deep inside me at the time,” Hanmari Spiegel recalls of her first encounter with the Swedish singer and pianist. “There was an honesty and clarity that rang through that I knew and loved from my native South Africa.” And when a few musicians were needed for a Christmas bazaar shortly thereafter, the fan and the artist suddenly became a duo. “That was really fun, we just improvised, and yet it was the same as in a big, familiar river…” Which is surprising at first: after all, one grew up on a farm near Dalarna in the far north, while the other spent her childhood 12,000 kilometers away on a small farm near Pretoria. Until one day, love took them both to the Elbe and they ran into each other at that Christmas bazaar… That was in 2004 – today, as the duo Fjarill, the smart and pretty women from Hamburg float together on a big, unreal, beautiful musical wave that has long since carried them beyond Germany’s borders: next February, even to South Africa. Because even if the two come from different ends of the world, “we are united by our love of beautiful harmonies and sincere feelings in our music”.

Since then, they have been musically inseparable. “We see Fjarill as a tree that has grown, becoming more stable every year” say the two. Perhaps because one intuitively knows where the other will go in terms of harmony and melody in the next moment – and so then the songs flow along as if in a great, long flow of sound, interrupted only by the listening moments of silence.

Yes, those who want to follow their poetic-melancholic sound paths need time and leisure. Because “especially when we play live, we have long moments of silence,” says Aino Löwenmark. And, small wonder, in an increasingly hectic and noisy world: the audience is also very quiet in these concert moments. “There is a tremendous longing for silence,” says her South African colleague. “We hear that from our audience again and again – which of course makes us very happy.”

This silence, or rather the courage to endure this silence, is one of the secrets of the fascination of Fjarill’s music: listening for the sounds of others, “listening very closely: What is she doing right now?” the violinist explains. “Where is the piece going? Who’s setting the next note?” It’s a game of silence as much as improvisation that continues to fascinate her concert audiences and grow her songs.

Wonderful sounds that move in timeless spheres between chamber music folk and world music pop with ethnic as well as jazz sprinkles – and yet take new sound paths at every concert. Especially when the duo embarks on a journey without a band, such as on their “Live in Hamburg” album released in 2012: “As a duo, we are completely free,” says Hanmari.

But the Fjarills have also made this boundless freedom sound on their other eight CD recordings to date, “Stark,” “Pilgrim,” “Livet,” “Tiden,” “Stilla Tyd,” “Kom Hem,” “Midsommar” and now “POËSI” – which earned them both the Global Ruth (2011) and the Creole World Music Prize (2013): Modern folk-pop of intense simplicity that flows along wonderfully relaxed, sometimes even as if breathed, lightly, almost floatingly accompanied by cello, trumpet, lap steel, horn, guitar or accordion alongside piano and violin. And even when they allow a drummer like Tingvall Trio drummer Jürgen Spiegel to take up his sticks, the rhythmic corset at no point restricts the poetic-melancholic sound paths: The duo simply takes the time to search for calm and quiet moments.

Whereby even their wistful moods always have a hopeful ray of sunshine. “I couldn’t make music any other way,” says Aino. After all, “music is like life”. And so not only her subtle play with major and minor (“that’s typically Swedish, this change of mood in one and the same piece”) can develop wonderfully anew again and again, but also that with Löwenmark’s chest and head voice, which brings with it a wonderfully warm and fragile sound. A singing that leaves no one untouched – and that, although hardly anyone in this country understands the lyrics about life and love, nature, transience or the Hamburg rain, but the Swede sings in her native language.

“If you don’t understand the lyrics, your heart opens much more to the music.” Fjarill is just not about being understood, but being felt. Or to put it with a line from their song “Luister”: “If you really want to listen you will discover the secret, you might even hear the beat of a butterfly’s wings also fitting to the band’s name Fjarill (butterfly in Swedish).
After great demand for their songs, their songbook was released in 2013.

And no matter whether in Germany or Sweden, South Africa, Austria, Denmark, Luxembourg or Switzerland: when the two ask their audience to join in the eponymous refrain in the South African peace hymn “Ukuthula” in concert, an enchanting euphony arises from it that is simply one big happiness for all the driven ones of this music world. Because growing doesn’t always have to mean growth and certainly not growing up.


“With “Walden”, the duo celebrates a family party and celebrates the perfect symbiosis of classical music, jazz and pop.” – SWR, Album of the Week

“[…] with “Walden” autumn is already much more colourful.” – hr2 Culture

“Löwenmark is an exquisite ballad singer with her expressive and warm voice, but she can also express cheerfulness and thus put a whole hall in raptures. […] Jens Thomas and Omar Rodriguez Calvo repeatedly intersperse short virtuoso solos, turning the concert into a rich kaleidoscope of sound. […] The applause is enormous. And that’s before a note has even been played.” Hamburger Abendblatt

“A Swedish woman, a South African woman. Two such beautiful voices! They touch, move, go right to the heart.” – Schwäbische Zeitung

“The record is […] a revelation, with what simple means and courage for melody music for the soul can succeed.” – Thüringer Allgemeine, Music Tip of the Week

“These two women carry a whole musical world within them.” – RONDO

“How the two of them interweave tango borrowings, bossa nova elements, avant-garde and meditative ballads on their album is a masterstroke. But the most beautiful are still dreamy numbers like “Firmament”, into which you can simply let yourself fall, to float away as if on a cloud.” – STEREO

“Playful and weightless” – START

“[…] when Hanmari plays her violin airily and intensely, when Aino accentuates and sensitively lets her piano ring out, when they sing individually or together in Swedish, Afrikaans, Zulu and German, then it unleashes a dynamic that is entrancing […].” – Alstertal Magazine

“Graceful may be an old-fashioned word, but it absolutely applies to the music of Fjarill!” – Xaver

For “Poësi”:

“Poetry made music. On their new album, the musicians of Fjarill set poems by Pär Lagerkvist and Nelly Sachs to music.” NDR

“[…] and life [is] definitely more beautiful with the music from the Hamburg duo Fjarill” NDR

“‘It is most beautiful in the twilight’ – a poem by Pär Lagerkvist. Once again Fjarill walk through the darkness of life here. At the same time, the album is an ode to poetry, to the power of faith and hope. The beauty of POËSI is in the balancing act between light and dark.” MDR

“The folk-pop duo sets poems by Nelly Sachs and Pär Lagerkvist to music. The three German songs are enchanting, but the ten Swedish ones no less so, even if you don’t understand anything – piano, violin and the distinctive voice of Anio Löwenmark speak for themselves.” Rolling Stone

“Wonderfully calm and harmonious music presented the two women and showed how well one can draw strength from silence. Profoundly poetic the poetry lyrics. Quiet music from grand piano and violin, sonorous voice of Löwenmark.” Rhein Zeitung

“”Poësi” is the name of their current work, for which the two have approached the poems of Nobel Prize winners Pär Lagerkvist and Nelly Sachs in an almost tender way and found a musical translation for them.” Hamburger Abendblatt

“The ninth album of the two will be a special one, it is full of poems. […] [Fjarill] want to give courage and strength with their lyrical-poetic album “Poësi”.” Alster Magazine

“But the two artists harmonize not only musically, also in the moderation they throw the balls to each other in an amusing way. […] Löwenmark with this wonderfully Scandinavian clear, lyrical voice […] [is] gently accompanied by Hanmari Spiegel on the violin. […] Hanmari Spiegel is not only an expert on four strings, but is also a good singer at the piano.” Kieler Nachrichten

“The music of FJARILL is an invitation to listen closely again and again, to look and to track down something beyond the obvious.” The Blue Thistle Finch

“Delicate sounds and touching poems – (…) So it becomes a meditative evening, to which Aino Löwenmark with her bell-bright voice and the ethereal violin playing of Hanmari Spiegel inspire.” The Bell

“The album […] combines lyricism with a very own, multi-layered sound world between folk, pop, jazz and classical music.” F.F. thereby

“Magical music” YogaJournal

“It was worth it: you can’t get any closer to the magic of music in words.” tonart

“If one had to, should or could describe the music of Fjarill with only one adjective, then “Beautiful” would be a good choice. That probably best describes the soulful and glorious sounds on the new albujm “Poësi”.” musix

“”Poësi” flows gloriously, harmoniously, folky, jazzy and poppy with a classical feel and quality. At least musically Enya, Dido or similar colleagues send their regards, but in combination with the legendary lyricism this is a completely different act and simply great. Or just beautiful!” musix

“With a moving mixture of delicate sounds and touching poems that will resonate with many visitors for a long time […] “Because in the process thoughts and feelings merge into a cosmos all their own” Die Glocke

“Everything is made to resound and vibrate melancholic-poetically in her songs: search and hope, secret and spun, depth and sadness, wit and cosmopolitanism, happiness and love.” Buxtehuder Tagesblatt

“The duo Fjarill took the audience into a world without crises, without heaviness and hardship, albeit with demanding lyrics.” Hessische/Niedersächsische Allgemeine

“Every note was in the right place, everything was perfect.” Hessische Allgemeine

“Sounds that sound pleasantly familiar and homely and yet carry strangeness in them.” Langenau Aktuell


For “Midsommar”:

“Mystical music with Swedish lyrics: […] Melancholy and longing resonate when Aino Löwenmark and Hanmari Spiegel sing about the Swedish midsummer […] As the duo ‘Fjarill’ they create their very own musical style.” NDR Television

“An extraordinary duo.” hr Fernsehen, Hauptsache Kultur

“They act with each other as equals, take turns in musical function and the polyphonic vocal arrangement blends at least as beautifully as Simon & Garfunkel” Süddeutsche Zeitung

“The temperature rises from the first sounds, and the sky becomes much bluer. Fascinating.” Welt am Sonntag

“Thus, the current album is certainly one of the highlights of their creative work. […] Their harmonious interplay […] is unparalleled and creates a very own musical world that cannot be pigeonholed.” FOLKER

“The singer-songwriters of Fjarill set Swedish poems to music on their album ‘Midsommar’ – and that mystical, yearning feeling that surrounds solstice fires.” HYGGE

“The female power duo provides springtime vibes with folk-pop sounds […].” Grazia

“Feather-light, dream-lost music, carried by two delicate female voices and sparse instrumentation around piano, violin, ondes martenot, a pinch of percussion and electric guitar.” SWR2

“magical music” NDR

“Fjarill unites two female artists who look openly into the world, but also longingly miss their respective homelands, which is why they are able to bring them close to the listener in impressive ways in their works.” Schall

“[…] you can feel the mystical fascination of Midsummer that permeates the entire album – it is already the eighth from Fjarill. And the most enchanting! This may be due to the fact that the two women have become fantastically attuned to each other […]” Stereo, Music 4.5 stars, Sound 4 stars

“Wonderful song pearls between folk, pop and a little jazz.” Hamburger Abendblatt

“And again they enchant with very gentle sounds.” Lea

“Their melancholic sounds are complemented on stage by soothing moments of silence.” Dresdener Neue Nachrichten

“The tender melodies of the 13 titles invite you into the mystical midsummer time of Sweden – light as a feather and indulgent.” Dresdener Morgenpost am Sonntag

“Who now thinks of Bullerbü cheerfulness is on the wrong track. It is rather mystical on “Midsommar”. […] The moods of the songs transport the legendary stories [of the Swedish “Blue Hour”]” The Magazine

“Fjarill have recorded another wonderful album with “Midsommar”, which again knows how to convince all along the line in terms of sound.” Audio


For “Stilla Tyd”:

“Fjarill – direct, intimate and clear sound!” Kulturnews

“An extraordinary duo” MDR Kultur

“Elegant, delicate, a lot of instrumental (piano, violin) and a lot of Swedish singing, heart-filling. Their concerts are beautiful, everyone who has been there knows that.” Hamburger Abendblatt

“Wistful, sometimes elegiac – but at no moment disturbing or grinding against each other: on their new album “Stilla Tyd” the Hamburg-Swedish-South African folk-pop-world music duo Fjarill unwinds a subtle play of major and minor.” Hamburg MoPo

“If their music has always been rather delicate and finely structured, Fjarill manages to conjure an even more intimate atmosphere on “Stilla Tyd”. The transparent instrumentation opens up a huge space for piano and violin. The expressive voice of Aino Löwenmark fills the remaining space perfectly.”

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