Is it Jazz? Records have inked a deal with LEAGUS, which will see the label release the third full-length album from the contemporary and experimental musical duo who hail from Sápmi – Norway, and whose music alternates between formal composed parts, open structures, and free improvisation, and ranges from subdued, minimalistic, psalm-like pieces, to more rock-oriented improvised parts.
Consisting of pianist Herborg Rundberg and guitarist Kristian Svalestad Olstad, LEAGUS was originally formed in 2013 by Herborg, as part of her Masters degree in Rhythmic Music at the Tromsø Conservatory, where, coincidentally, Kristian had also received his Masters degree in the same subject two years earlier.
The name LEAGUS is actually Sami slang for asking for something, and originates in the area in which Herborg herself was born. It is her Sami background, and her work with traditional and classical music, along with Kristian´s extended use of guitar and electronics, that forms the basis of LEAGUS’ sound, which has, over time, developed into an exploratory and complex sonic universe.
Over the years the duo have worked extensively on finding new, and different interactions between the piano and the guitar, which has lead to the development of a new and progressive kind of musical togetherness. It is a sound that is highly dynamic with musical contrasts playing a big part in their concept.
LEAGUS’ two previous albums, 2016’s “Lea Aigi”, and 2019’s “Naimaka”, the latter actually having been released as a quartet with two additional drummers, both received critical acclaim, and served to establish LEAGUS as an up-and-coming band within the northern Norwegian Experimental scene.
In 2021 LEAGUS were commissioned by the North Norwegian Jazz Ensemble to write a piece for a ten-member orchestra. The result was “Flora Eallin” which was composed and arranged by Herborg and Kristian. This led to a tour with the North Norwegian Jazz Ensemble and long time collaborator and visual designer Torbjørn Thrane Sandnes.
About their upcoming collaboration with Is it Jazz? Records, LEAGUS had this to say:
We are extremely proud to announce that we are signing with Is it jazz? Records! We share the same enthusiasm for experimental and progressive music, and also the devotion to the album format. We are so grateful for becoming a part of this team!
On stage the duo are known for their energetic and visual concerts, and more information about LEAGUS can be found on the band’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/leagusleagus or on their website at http://www.leagusband.com
A video of LEAGUS live at the Kulturhuset in Tromsø can be seen below.