Kalle Kalima

Flying Like Eagles

Kalle Kalima   electric guitar

Knut Reiersrud   resonator, electric & lap steel guitar, harmonica

Phil Donkin   bass

Jim Black   drums

As you listen to „Flying Like Eagles“, an episode from Jack Kerouac´s novel „On the Road“ might flicker across your mind, or perhaps a scene from the movie „Easy Rider“. And that is because the point of departure for this album is traditional roots music from America, inspired in part by American-Indian heritage, plus three classic songs that are also imbued with that same spirit of unspoiled authenticity and freedom.

The origins of the main protagonists on this album might come as a surprise, however: these two guitarists are not actually from the southern states of the US but from Scandinavia. And yet there isn´t any contradiction: Kalle Kalima, who is Finnish, had already developed a passion for traditional American folk music as a teenager, and a year spent as an exchange student in Chicago immersed in the local scene deepened that interest further. Indeed, this music, most recently in his Americana jazz project „High Noon“. Knut Reiersrud has been demonstrating all his life that Norwegians have the blues, too. After Buddy Guy and Otis Rush discovered him at the age of 18, the US became his musical home. He played with greats of American music such as Dr. Joh, Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Blind Boys of Alabama and soul singer Mighty Sam McClain.

Guitarists Kalima and Reiersrud complement each other perfectly – one comes from jazz and rock, the other from blues and world music. Brought together by Siggi Loch, who had the idea for this album, in the studio, a natural flow developed quickly. Kalima mostly took the melody line with his electric guitar, whereas Knut on his various different guitars tended to concentrate on colours, sounds and sound layers. It was important to them that the music should sound very genuine, so they didn´t fix much in advance, and preferred to put their trust in what would happen as they played. The album should sound like they were jamming. 

And so „Flying Like Eagles“ has become a proper guitar album, in which Kalima and Reiersrud explore the manifold possibilities of their instruments. The fact that it sounds so fresh, intuitive and authentic is also due to the first-class rhythm section: Phil Donkin on bass and drummer Jim Black are both first-call players who have made their mark on the New York scene. The constellation of these agile musicians was the key to success in giving a new life to the pieces with ancient melodies whose shape is often determined by their vocal line. „Many of the songs on this disc come from populations and minorities who have lived harmoniously and in a connected way with nature, so the album is a tribute to them“, Knut Reiersrud underlines. And it is a message which is now more topical than ever. May eagles continue to fly high, and for a long time yet…

“Flying Like Eagles” was released on 30 August 2019 on ACT.