Harry Bertoia and the crash course in psych folk.

So I mentioned in the last post that I’ve been pretty into psych folk, or drone folk as I might more accurately call it. This covers a pretty wide range of music and styles. It’s called psych folk because it tends to use acoustic, i.e. folk instruments, and be influenced by psychedelic rock.

It’s called drone folk for the obvious reason that it uses a lot of drones. So I thought I’d put together a sort of crash course, i.e. whatever groups I could dig up on youtube. We’re going to start with my most recent find, and he actually started before the whole drone folk thing really got going.

Harry Bertoia was born in Italy and eventually ended up somewhere in Pennsylvania. He was a sculptor who designed furniture, among other things, but later, he apparently got fascinated with sound sculptures. Lots of crazy metallic droning. Think new age ambient music, but less, let me play one synthesizer chord for an hour, and a lot more acoustic and interesting. Unfortunately I don’t think any of his own playing is on youtube, and it’s better than any of the stuff I’ve found, but here’s some youtube anyway. Googling for “harry Bertoia” sonambient, might turn up some useful stuff, if you do some digging.

Moving right along, a lot of the drone groups are from Finland, so let’s have some, if I can find ’em.

Here’s some Magical Folk of the Faraway Tree, from Ireland.

Here’s some Hala Strana, a US guitarist got into Eastern European music.

Here’s some Thuja, another US group, including the guy who does Hala Strana.

Unfortunately, that appears to be about all I can dig up. These people tend to release things on 3 In. CDRs, and they go out of print really really fast. If you’re interested in tracking some down, here are the three big compilations that I know of. “The Jeweled Antler Library”, this is on Porter Records, limited to a thousand copies, I got one but no idea how many are left, act fast! “The Invisible Pyramid Elegy Box”, out of print but I snagged one from Amazon, from another seller. “Gold Leaf Branches”, I’m not sure about this one, I snagged it from eMusic.


BTW, eMusic has a chunk of these groups, though not all, and not everything they’ve put out by any means. Still, since a lot of it’s out of print, it’s worth checking, if you’re into it. eMusic has lots of other stuff, and unlike iTunes, the downloads are in mp3 format, cheaper than iTunes too.

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