This Swedish-Norwegian folk group were formed in 1972 at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, where two musicology students Carin Kjellman (vocals, dulcimer, recorder, guitar, psalterion) and Ulf Gruvberg (vocals, guitar, bass, cittern, mandolin, crumhorn, jew’s harp, percussion) started playing together and developed a repertoire of traditional Swedish music. On both their albums as a duo they were accompanied by a variety of folk and jazz musicians, and in 1976, they were joined by two former members of the Norwegian band Folque, Jørn Jensen (mandolin, dulcimer, bassoon, psalterion, guitar, percussion, jew’s harp, vocals), who had played on their second album, and Trond Villa (fiddle, hardingfiddle, crumhorn, mandolin, vocals), both of whom became full-time members of the band. Folk Och Rackare expanded their repertoire to include Norwegian ballads and tunes, and developed their distinctive music: a compelling arrangement of vocal harmonies, electric and medieval instruments, and Kjellman’s magnificent voice. In the late 70s, they played several large European folk festivals, and after Stjärnhästen, a collection of Swedish Christmas carols, the band took a four-year break. They returned in 1985 with their final album, Rackbag, which featured the guitarist Richard Thompson, and which showed the influence of both the Albion Band and its offshoot Home Service. During most of the 80s Gruvberg was the presenter of the roots radio show Trender Och Traditioner (Trends And Traditions) on Swedish National radio (SR) and he is now the controller of the more rock-orientated third radio channel, P3. In 1985 Carin Kjellman released a solo album which included cover versions of songs by Sandy Denny and Richard Thompson, while both Jensen and Villa are still involved in folk music in Norway.
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