Wildbirds & Peacedrums
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Mariam Wallentin (Stockholm, Sweden)
Andreas Werliin (Stockholm, Sweden)

An almost unclassifiable mix of spiritual pop, primal blues and powerful drumming, Sweden’s Wildbirds & Peacedrums are singer Mariam Wallentin and drummer Andreas Werliin.

The pair met in 2004 at Gothenburg’s Academy Of Music And Drama, and married the following year. Frustrated by the institute’s rigid format, Wildbirds & Peacedrums was born of a desire to break free and play music that captures pure, ecstatic feeling. They self-released two limited edition CDRs, before recording their debut album proper, Heartcore, in 2006. With a fiery passion all her own, encompassing moods from heavy spiritual lament to raw gospel exclamation, Mariam’s mercurial talent and breathtaking emotional depth were immediately apparent. Paired with Andreas’ fierce, precise percussion, the package arrived fully formed. The album was released in 2007 by the Swedish Found You Recordings, and subsequently reissued worldwide by The Leaf Label in the spring of 2008.

They were named as 2008’s ‘Jazz In Sweden’ beneficiaries, enabling them to record in a proper studio for the first time. They chose the Soundtrack Of Our Lives-owned Svenska Grammofonstudion in Gothenburg to record, disclosing more wild and emotional songs and introducing new sounds, including the Persian santor, steel pan and marimba. The result was their second album, The Snake, which arrived on the Swedish label Caprice. The album was released around the world a year later by The Leaf Label, The Control Group, Contrarede and Haldern Pop. The duo toured their potent live show around the world (including dates with Lykke Li, Arcade Fire, Micachu & The Shapes, Joanna Newsom, Caribou and The Thing, and even as a 20-piece drum circle), playing up to 120 shows a year and building a strong word of mouth reputation.

In early 2010, Mariam and Andreas travelled to Iceland to record two EPs within the space of a month: Retina (which they made with cellist and arranger Hildur Guðnadóttir and the Schola Cantorum Reykjavík Chamber Choir) and the more stripped back Iris, which they recorded in Reykjavík’s Greenhouse Studios with Ben Frost and Valgeir Sigurðsson. The EPs were given limited-edition vinyl only releases in May and June of 2010, and were combined as the 2CD Rivers album, released in August of that year.

Around the same time, they were invited to appear as part of the prestigious Polar Music Prize ceremony in Stockholm, performing an extraordinary version of Björk’s ‘Human Behaviour’ with a full orchestra to honour the Icelandic artist.

The duo played a series of shows around Europe with a choir in attendance (including a memorable night at London’s Union Chapel), following this with further visits to North America (with St Vincent) and Japan. Mariam and Andreas united with the Congolese bands Konono No. 1 and Kasai Allstars, along with Deerhoof, Juana Molina and Skeletons, for the ’Congotronics vs Rockers‘ tour which travelled across Europe and Japan in 2011.

In addition to their work as Wildbirds & Peacedrums, the pair also has a busy extra-curricular schedule. Andreas has performed and recorded with such varied artists as Andrew Bird, Loney Dear and Neneh Cherry. He has continued to appear with Dan Berglund’s Tonbruket, and also with Mats Gustafsson and Johan Berthling (and Jim O’Rourke) as Fire!

Mariam has recorded artists such as with Susanna & The Magical Orchestra, LabField and Lykke Li, and plays in various looser improv/freeform constellations. She is currently working with Lindha Kallerdahl and Anders Jormin. She will present a new work with Mikael Karlsson in New York in 2012.

Mariam and Andreas began work on their fourth album in Stockholm in late 2011.




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