(Kakafon Records)


A good example of a sonic merger between 21st century instrumental jazz-fusion and ethnic Scandinavian folk music can be heard in its full glory on Zobop, an eight cut, 41 minute music masterpiece from Swedish guitarist Henrik Cederblom. One of many favorable outcomes of the late 20th century rock era, the Swedish fascination with traditional folk music dates back to the late 1960s, and the early works of progressive rock musicians including the late, keyboadist / composer Bo Hansson and Bo’s guitarist Kenny Håkansson, the latter going on to explore the true depths of merging Swedish folk and rock music on numerous albums from the past 50 years. With its fine attunement to both melody and jazz improv, Henrik’s 2019 album Zobop will clearly appeal to jazz and folk-jazz listeners. Speaking about making a connection between Scandinavian folk music melodies and jazz-rock instrumentals, Henrik tells mwe3.com, "Actually, I discovered both Håkansson and Schaffer later, so my main influences for me when I grew up was Hendrix, Zappa, Beck, Blackmore, Clapton, probably the similar inspiration as Kenny and Janne, haha… and I think the melodies in my music are connected to a lot of the stuff that they have done. Somehow, some little folkloric Swedish touch. I don't think Swedish music is underrated… Swedish musicians and songwriters have had a huge influence if you consider how small the country is." On Zobop, Henrik excels on electric guitars, lap steel and beats and he gets solid support from his band, including Viktor Turegård (electric bass), Tapha Ndiongue (drums), Sten Källman (sax, percurssion) and Finn Björnulfson (percussion on "Zobop"). One interesting thing here is, even incorporating the folk-based melodies, the fusion music on Zobop was composed by Henrik except for one traditional song covered here. Henrik cites modern day guitar influencers like Bill Frisell and Afrobeat drumming legend Tony Allen, but there’s a definite sense of originality thoughout the entire Zobop album. www.cederblom.com / www.kakafon.com


mwe3.com presents an interview with
Henrik Cederblom

: Can you tell us where you grew up and where you live now? What parts of Sweden do you like best and what other countries and cities do you like to visit? Have you been to the US yet and do certain parts of the world influence you musically?

Henrik Cederblom: I grew up in Gothenburg, a town on the West Coast of Sweden and that is where I still live. I love traveling and touring and I have been to the US a number of times, mostly NYC, but also Boston, Miami and Minneapolis. As a musician I have also been to India, Cuba, Senegal, Benin, Haiti, France, UK, Germany and of course the Scandinavian countries. I have always been interested in African-related music, but India has also been a heavy influence on me.

mwe3: How long have you been playing guitar and who were some of your main influences, guitar wise and compositionally? While growing up were you more interested in pop/rock or jazz and folk music styles? The Kakafon record label web site mentions your guitar influences like Zappa, Beck and Frisell but I hear other influences like Swedish heroes Kenny Håkansson and Janne Schaffer too. Is Swedish music underrated and were Kenny and Janne also influences?

Henrik Cederblom: Actually I discovered both Håkansson and Schaffer later, so my main influences for me when I grew up was Hendrix, Zappa, Beck, Blackmore, Clapton, probably the similar inspiration as Kenny and Janne, haha… and I think the melodies in my music are connected to a lot of the stuff that they have done. Somehow, some little Swedish
folkloric touch. I don't think Swedish music is underrated… Swedish musicians and songwriters have had a huge influence if you consider how small is the country.

mwe3: Your new solo album Zobop is a long time coming. How did you move from a session player and backing musician and band member and decide to record a solo album? How long did it take to write the music, assemble your band and record the Zobop album and can you tell us something about the band members you recorded the new album with?

Henrik Cederblom: I wrote the music during a couple of years and realized that I had material for an album. First I made some recordings with programmed beats and melodies. I wanted to do something folk-tronica oriented but I soon came to the conclusion that a band was what I really wanted. Me and Viktor had played together in a lot of projects recently, so he was the first one I asked. Then I wanted a pal to share the lead voice with and I was really happy when Sten wanted to join! We have played together a lot and also share the love for Scandinavian fiddle music and how that is articulated. I then asked Tapha to bring that West African vibe to the groove. I love his soft listening touch on the drum kit. I presented the music to the band and after a few rehearsals we recorded the album during three days in October 2018.

mwe3: Tell us about your work as a session musician and member of the band called Den Fule. How long have you been playing sessions? Has Den Fule released albums and what are a couple of your favorite studios in Sweden?

Henrik Cederblom: We formed Den Fule in 1990 to play Scandinavian folk music in a new manner. The band consisted of a mix of folk, jazz and rock musicians that wanted to play together. We released four albums and got a Grammis (Swedish Grammy) for the first one Lugumleik. I have been playing behind artists on maybe 50 albums so it's hard to make selections but check this playlist. Me and colleague Johannes Lundberg run our own recording facility since 1999, so most of the session work I do is in house projects there. The studio is called Epidemin Studio. I started doing session work with artists in the mid 1990’s in a number of studios in Gothenburg: Apparat, Tuff Studio, Nilento, Studio 12, Bohus studio, Marianne studios…

mwe3: Zobop is a brilliant album of instrumental music.Sounds like a cross between Thomas Almqvist and Pat Metheny. How influenced are you by Swedish and Scandinavian folk music? I think you will make a lot of jazz fans happy with Zobop.

Henrik Cederblom: I love a lot of the traditional music in Sweden and Norway especially. Since working with Den Fule, I have been fortunate to play with the finest musicians on that scene. The spirit and joy of playing traditional tunes is definitely one big driving force. And to me Metheny is the Mozart of improvisation, so thanks for bringing him up, haha!

mwe3: A lot of rock and jazz music from Sweden is influenced by Swedish and World folk music. What era of folk music and/or what style of folk music influenced you most and what is the difference between folk music in Sweden compared to the other Scandinavian countries? Even instrumental rock music from your part of the world was influenced by folk and even classical. I guess that’s what sets Europe and especially Sweden apart from America in that you have a vast amount of folk and classical music to be inspired from.

Henrik Cederblom: My interest in folk music has been very specific really: The music differs quite a bit depending on which region it originates from / which musicians are dominating the tradition in a certain region. The music from Dalarna with fiddlers like Jonas Röjås, Pers Hans, Björn Ståbi, Ellika Frisell, Per Gudmundsson and Ola Bäckström have been important for me. From Norway the music of Hans W Brimi from Garmo, and the Gangar from Setesdal with Torleiv Bjørgum was presented to me by Sten Källman. I also highly recommend the work of Ale Möller! Great stuff!

mwe3: You composed the music on Zobop and also play the guitars and lap steel guitars. What can you tell us about the electric guitars you play on the new album? How many guitars are you featuring on Zobop and how many tracks feature the lap steel guitar? How about acoustic guitars? How many guitars do you own and how about amps, strings and pedals / effects featured on the Zobop album?

Henrik Cederblom: I play only electric on the album because I wanted that limitation. Guitars on Zobop include a Novo Serus J with mastery whammy, 1966 Gibson 335, 1964 Fender Strat, 1962 Levin 335 m2 with dynasonics. The lap steel is a 40th National New Yorker and I played it on “Giragala”, “Happy Buddha” and “Drömmen” as orchestration overdubs. The amps on the album include a 1964 Super Reverb, Boogie Mark IV and a 1968 Marshall JMP 50 plexi. I use an Analog Man KoT for drive, a Delayla and Strymon Timeline for delays and a tremolo pedal. For acoustic work I use lot of different guitars depending on the music. My main guitars for this is a 1951 Gibson J45 and a Thomas Fredholm prewar series D42.

mwe3: Are you playing gigs with your band around Sweden and other countries and what guitars / amps do you play in a live setting?

Henrik Cederblom: Yes, live I use either the Mark IV amp or a Fender Princeton Reverb that I also love. Guitar-wise, I tend to use the Novo all the time now. It is so great!

mwe3: How did you come up with the song titles and names for the tracks on Zobop? For example the opening track, “Giragala”. Is there an English translation for that track and other of the Zobop song titles? Also how did you come up with the title name of Zobop? Is it a play on words?

Henrik Cederblom: Giragala is actually a place I visited in Asia, where the basic idea of the tune took form. I stole Zobop from an album I bought on a trip to Haiti. It had particularly great percussion music on it! And it’s a groovy word haha.

mwe3: How did you come to work with the Kakafon Records label in Sweden? Do they have other instrumental albums that are jazz and/or rock based? Sounds like they are open to a lot of different genres of music right?

Henrik Cederblom: Yeah they are great, very open-minded! It is a musician-ruled company, and I knew them from many earlier collaborations with different bands and artists.

mwe3: Now with Zobop out and getting airplay what plans do you have for the rest of 2019 into 2020? Are you planning any new concerts, videos, other appearances? I hope you will have a follow up album at some point. Thank you for the great album and interview.

Henrik Cederblom: We will focus on touring Sweden and Europe to start with. Hopefully we will be able to play in the States as well! Thank you for listening and supporting music.


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