The Day my Ears met Roine Stolt

It was May 1980 when I decided to take a road trip to the North, the Scandinavian Countries. Starting off in Hamburg, taking the ferry to Denmark to continue the journey to Copenhagen, Oslo and eventually Stockholm. Beautiful landscapes and impressive nothingness driving from Oslo to Stockholm. However, this is not a travel journal, I merely wanted to paint a picture before getting to the core of my story. I stayed a couple of days in Stockholm, not too long because the cost of living there, especially the beers, is quite steep. I'm about to walk into a record store and asked the kind shop assistant if the Swedes have made any music similar to that of Genesis and/or Yes. She was more or less overwhelmed by this question and had to think for a moment, but not for long. She handed me five LP’s, four from Kaipa and one from Kebnekajse. Without even listening to the albums I bought them all and went on my way again. I was eager to get home to have a listen to my recent treasures. Them days you could still judge a record by its cover, to use a familiar phrase.

Some five days later I got home and I immediately put the Kaipa LP's on my Thorens record player. What I heard blew my mind. This is great, I thought, although all the lyrics were sung in Swedish, which is a language I did not, and still don't, master, but the tone of the voice and the music to accompany that voice was terrific. Long symphonic pieces with lots of keys and a sharp guitar, playing beautiful melodies. I thought I had just come across the new Genesis, who let us sympho lovers down the last two albums. The album I bought there was all their work at that time: "Kaipa", "Inget Nytt Under Solen", "Solo" and “Händer”. They're still among my favourites. The albums were not released in Holland, at that time, for that matter Kaipa apparently didn't tour outside Sweden (apart from Norway, I just gathered from their website).

My comrades at (NSA) Symfonic Credo magazine had never heard of the band, although after my introduction, they staged an interview with guitar player Roine Stolt. As you all know, Roine Stolt later became famous with his Flower Kings, Transatlantic, his outing on tour with Steve Hackett and his album together with Jon Anderson, for which a follow-up is in the making. He also made three solo albums, one shortly after his break with Kaipa entitled “Fantasia”, “Hydrophenia” and “The Flower King” . The latter sets the forming of the band The Flower Kings. What about that other band, you may ask? The album I bought there was “Vi Drar Vidare” which is a very pleasant album: symphonic jazz rock I would call it. Very enjoyable. Kebnekajse, I later learned, is a more folk driven band, and this album is/was their only symphonic outing. The only album without Kenny Håkanson, I must add. He played guitar and has since then reunited with the band. By writing to the Swedish record company I eventually received the albums missing in my collection thus far. Since the “Vi Drar Vidare” album they didn't release any other album until 2009.

Text: Frans Verweij © 2018

Original text edited by Alex Driessen

Back in the years I was involved with a fanzine called Symfonic Credo. (Estimated fan base 600) Some articles I have written for that magazine you will find below. Since it was a Dutch orientated magazine, the text is logically in the Dutch language.

On King Crimson in 1979

On Illusion in 1979

On Max Webster in 1979

On Mandalaband in 1979