Katzenjammer – a unique musical experience

My three kids have very eclectic and global tastes in music. It is wonderful. During recent long car trips we were entertained with diverse music from Frank Sinatra to Queen, from Irish or Scottish folk music to Australian or Finnish metal, from American blues and jazz to versions sung by Israeli and Japanese singers. We even heard a rock and roll band from Canada who included Polka music which sounded quite good.

My youngest son turned us on to an inventive group of four women out of Oslo, Norway called Katzenjammer, named after the comic strip Katzenjammer Kids. The name means “lament of the cat.” These four women – Anne Marit Bergheim, Marianne Sveen, Solveig Heilo, and Turid Jorgenson – sing their songs in English and incorporate the fifteen instruments they can play into their music. They met at a music school in Oslo and gathered together as they were “outcasts at the school” per the band. They also had a common belief that the school was only teaching them “what had been done” and not letting them explore new genres. This rebellious undertone makes them click.

They mix together American jazz, ragtime and folk influences with cabaret and carnival music and interesting lyrics which is quite unique when combined. While the lead singer varies, their four-part harmonies are outstanding. But, what makes Katzenjammer even more entertaining is they also seem to be having a lot of fun when they play, which comes across even if you are only listening. Since they are classically trained, they have a confidence in their musicality and are willing to push the envelope and enjoy doing it..

“Le Pop” was their first album followed by “A Kiss Before You Go.” The title song from “Le Pop” is very good, but it may be my least favorite song off a wonderful album. Take a listen to “Wading in Deeper,” “Demon Kitty Rag”  and “Hey Ho on the Devil’s Back” to get a sense of their unique style. “A Bar in Amsterdam,” “Play my Darling Play” and “Tea with Cinnamon” are also terrific samplings. Below is a link which will give you a taste of their music. I would encourage you to give them a try, as you will not hear anything like it elsewhere especially here in the states where too much pop music sounds formulaic and similar.

http://www.last.fm/music/Katzenjammer

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6 thoughts on “Katzenjammer – a unique musical experience

    • Thanks. The kids love sharing their play lists. What was the last stanza of the famous CSNY song where the lessons are reversed from the title – “Teach your parents well…”

      • The Katzenjammer’s harmonies are as tight and incredibly “sound-full” as CSNY. I use them (CSNY) as a bar to vocal melding excellence. But…that’s just me…the blues wanna-be piano player.

  1. Note to Readers: I was watching a few more videos of their music and am amazed by their talent and how much fun they have. I counted three different lead singers of songs, two different drummers, three different people playing this huge cat-like bass and so on among the four ladies. They trade off and just play.

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