Swedish neo-folk/rock band consisting of Gotte Ringqvist (violin, guitar), Stefan Brisland-Ferner (hurdy-gurdy, various strings), Rickard Westman (guitars, bass), Jens Höglin (drums), and Emma Härdelin (vocals, various strings). Garmarna's music consists largely of interpreted Swedish folk songs that are beefed up through use of tighter arrangements, heavier instrumentation (including drums), sampling; and more recently, complex DJ work.
Garmarna's music has a very distinctive flavour - generally, it is heavy, dark and somewhat primal. As one might expect, their sound has evolved a good deal since their formation. Whereas their first few albums were primarily acoustic, Garmarna has since become quite rock-based; and more recently, their music has taken on a technoish flavour. What is somewhat remarkable, however, is that the band is able to add these modern elements to their music in a completely seamless fashion - they augment rather than diminish the flavour of the music.
Garmarna formed in 1992 (sans Emma Härdelin and Jens Höglin, who joined a year or two later), but their first recording, a self-titled EP, was not released until the following year. The band's first full album, Vittrad (Withered, in English) was released in '94; and recieved much critical acclaim, including a Swedish Grammy nomination. Garmarna's 1996 release, Guds Spelemän (Fiddlers of God), marked the introduction of sampling into Garmarna's music, as well as strong drum beats, and more complex mixing. This album was also very successful, as have been the band's subsequent releases; notably Vedergällningen (Vengeance) in 1999, an album that went on to spawn several singles.
Garmarna's latest album, Hildegard von Bingen (consisting entirely of songs written by the so-named mideval German nun) was released in 2001. The album, produced by a prominant Swedish House DJ known as Eric S, introduces yet more sampling and DJ work, as well a more technoish flavour.