A few months back, I headed out to the west coast version of the Newport Folk Festival, known as Way Over Yonder. Held on the Santa Monica Pier, with a main stage looking out over the ocean and the last warm days of the summer just beginning to fade out, it was a truly spectacular setting for a music festival. There were some amazing musicians taking the stage, ranging from acoustic folk to rocking bluegrass or simple americana.
On the final night, I had the amazing opportunity to catch the Sweden based folk band, First Aid Kit. Comprised of sisters Johanna and Klara, they have an earthy and beautiful harmonic sound that is both enchanting and serene. They’ve been writing and recording music since 2007, their fame building off a YouTube video they posted of a Fleet Foxes cover of the song “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song.” With two albums under their belts, 2010’s “The Big Black & The Blue” and 2012’s “The Lion’s Roar” they’ve seen their success rise rapidly as they’ve toured the world and performed at festivals across the United States.
Since I discovered them almost a year ago, I’ve been keeping my fingers crossed for the chance to see them live, though with their home base being in Sweden the opportunity doesn’t come all that often. I was blown away by their performance at Way Over Yonder. Their striking harmonies and emotive, free-flowing vocals make for a dynamic performance that draws the audience in almost immediately. While Johanna posses her own fiery energy, allowing her body to embody everything from the chords under her fingers to the lyrics in the music, she’s a truly invested performer. Klara acts as the communicator, interacting with the audience from her very first step on stage, conveying the message behind the songs to her listeners. With a guitar strapped to her body, her musical communication comes out through her vocals, each lyric dripping with a hidden meaning we may never understand. They are both mystic and real, just the way that their music is.
Check out a video of their single “Emmylou” and pictures of their performance below!