Since I saw Knut Reiersrud performing on national TV in the 90’s, I’ve been a fan. I love the way he plays the blues, and how he blends it with other folk music genres. Needless to say, I’m totally honoured that he said yes to record a tune with me for this album. Knut is a master, and I just tried to catch up and do my best next to him.
We met about a year in advance to practice, and he suggested this 5/4 groove. Knut used his pedals and put a couple of layers on top of it, while I was improvising some swing grooves. When we met again a week before recording we practiced this, and talked about how we would record it. His approach was that we would record the bassline first, then record other parts that would be added on top. This was a completely new way to make a tune for me, and it took me a little while to understand exactly what he meant.
I took the practice recording with me in my studio and searched for ways to play the 5/4 groove in a complementing way. My focus was mainly to get a good flow and a nice swing feel in the dancing. On days where I was more relaxed I managed this better, and on days where I was stressed or impatient it was harder to sit in the relaxed groove. I did not at all focus on any kind of soloing. This song seemed like a steady ride to me, going in on and on. On the day of recording I was constantly in a weird state of being a little bit starstruck, enjoying the music a lot, trying to stay sharp and focused in what I was doing, while also wondering what we were actually doing. Knut is a seasoned pro, of course, and sort of just directed me (and Audun) through it. He seemed to have a pretty good idea of where this song was heading.
First he recorded the bassline for about 2 minutes. He did this while hearing a click on his headset, to make sure that it would be easy to combine, cut and paste later. Then he added a second layer to the bassline. Audun quadrupled the length of this so that we had 8 minutes, and I was asked to do whatever I wanted with this playing in my ear. So, there I was, tap dancing for two rounds of 8 minutes in this big church, while Knut, Audun and Morten were waiting and listening. We concluded that there were parts in there that we could use for the tune. Then we recorded some shorter parts, again with a click. Knut surprisingly brought out a fiddle, and made a beautiful part for the end. I tried to figure out how I could contribute in the best way, and tested out a sequence on the church floor, which I thought was way too brutal-sounding. After hearing the bits we had made again I realized that what I really wanted to hear was the sound of bare feet on the sand. All this time Knut was super supportive, and I felt that I could trust his opinion.
We met again in Audun’s studio some time later, and there we cut and pasted the bits together. Knut suggested the title Chulas Fronteras, which means Beautiful Borders.
Performed by Knut Reiersrud (guitar, fiddle) and
Janne Eraker (tap dance with regular tap shoes, tap shoes with wooden taps and with bare feet on sand) Composed by Knut Reiersrud and Janne Eraker Recorded by Audun Strype at Kulturkirken Jakob Mixed by Audun Strype, Janne Eraker and Knut Reiersrud Video by Morten Minothi Kristiansen Cover art by Daan Botlek
About Knut Reiersrud Knut Reiersrud is a Norwegian blues guitarist. His work also incorporates elements of Norwegian traditional music and African music. Reiersrud has recorded and played with David Lindley, the Blind Boys Of Alabama, Rickie Lee Jones, Nina Hagen and Norwegian church organist Iver Kleive. In over 40 years he has played his guitars on countless stages and mesmerized the audience all around the world. King Harald can be quoted; he had never seen anyone disappear into his instrument like Reiersrud. President Tabu Mbeki, at the very same concert, even offered him a South African passport, just to get one more song!