Seltsam! is an AcousticDuo
Two musicians, multi-instrumentalists, storyteller, musical nomads
Seven instruments: two voices, two guitars with six or twelve strings, flute, soprano and tenor saxophones.
SingerSongwriter meets Jazzer
Superb improvisation blending seamlessly with composed arrangements
Catchy melodies to sing along to
Lyrics drawn straight out of daily life, exploring the stories behind the stories.
An phenomenon best experienced live
Distinct/individual vocals, percussive guitar playing, alongside the 'seltsamen' (strange/odd) composition and arrangements by Wolle is the basis of our music.
The mellow and earthly sound of the tenor, high in the sky soaring soprano, dynamically played flute by Holger adds a recognisable sound.
The two musicians stride through musical landscapes, telling stories directly from the middle of life, acoustic in their own style
Positioned somewhere between the american soundplains of Neil Young and the nordic-etherical soundscapes of Jan Garbarek lies Seltsam! always on the quest for the 'song'!
Over the course of their 20 years of musical collaboration they have created a large catalogue of songs and "sound paintings".
Through the internet they have cultivated an ever-growing fan base that crosses international borders.
In 2013 they released their début album Full Dimension of Life with underground hits like “Suitcase Ship” and “Changed Everything”.
In 2016 they released their second album, Like an Old Inuit, featuring the songs “Wundermädchen”, “Rain in Paris” and “Me and My Music”. They are currently working—what else would they be doing?—on their next album.
What the press says:
Bonn Folk Club number 79 might well have set a record for the average age of it’s performers at around 18 years. No, John Harrison and co haven’t discovered a fountain of youth long hidden away in the nearby Kottenforst, the average was largely formed by fresh faced youngsters from, as Steve wryly put it, the nearby suburb of Bonn known to locals as Cologne. The evening was, as John Harrison described with a particular emphasis that will become apparent, ‘Seltsam’ (unusual)
Seltsam was also a good way to describe John Harrison‘s first number of the evening from his home town: ‘The Derby Ram’. It’s a very old tale that has had almost as many verses in it’s time as the number that Leonard Cohen reputedly wrote for ‘Hallelujah’. John’s version alluded to Derby County Football ground – notorious for it’s marsh-like qualities as I recall. But back to the legendary Derby Ram which reputedly had:
“Horns that reached the moon sir,
and a tail that reached to hell,
So that every time he waggled it, it rang the old church bell”
“Singer/songwriter meets Jazzer. Seven instruments: two voices, two guitars with six or twelve strings, flute, soprano and tenor saxophone” is how Hamburg band
Seltsam! describe themselves. The band are essentially a duo consisting of Wolle on guitar/vocals and Holger on saxophones, flute and electronics but were ably supported
this evening by Emily on violin. It’s plain to see that Wolle and Holger are the sort of musicians who would play music even if it was outlawed in Germany. Talking to Wolle during the
interval I was struck very much by the sensibility he has towards songwriting. The first half had all been sung in english. “But we will sing some also in German in the second
set” he pointed out before explaining: “Sometimes a subject will seem better described in one language and other times in another”
An example is ‘Wundermädchen’ inspired by Wolle’s Grandmother and the famed ‘Trümmerfrauen” – women in Cologne who somehow managed to clean away a desolate landscape of bombed out rubble strewn streets to create a new City phoenix-like from the literal ashes. The feelings involved were best describable in german and so the song was written in that language.
To build on the evening’s ‘Seltsam’ jokes from John Harrison I have to say that I found the overall sound of the band to be, yes, seltsam, and in a very positive way indeed. I love well written and crafted modern folk songs and I love saxophone and jazz tinged bluesy music. All boxes roundly ticked by Seltsam! There is an excellent dynamic in the delivery of the songs in this constellation too. Wolle’s voice is at times very reminiscent of Neil Young and with nods I also thought to the somewhat gentler acoustic approach of Nils Lofgren. His voice picks up momentum that is dissipated in a very pleasant way by Holger’s sax and Emily’s violin. It’s a long way from Frankfurt to Bonn but I hope that doesn’t deter Seltsam! from visits to Bonn Folk Club. This is their second and hopefully one in a long series of gigs from them here.
So there we are. With a lively Jock Stuart to tell us it was time to vacate the premises, it only remains to say that an enjoyable evening was had by all – which is really not ‘seltsam!’ by Bonn Folk Club standards.