Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Samla Mammas Manna

A friend of mine once sent me a tape anonymously with really weird music on it. Sort of free-form fusiony zappaesque stuff with tittering vocals. Turned out to be Swedish 70s rock outfit Samla Mammas Manna, pranksters in an age of serious politically motivated folk music. They've been compared to Gong. The name is as trippy as the music: it means "Collect mum's manna".

The other day I received a manuscript file from my colleague Astrid Wexell who is writing up her old digs from the 1970s. And who do I find, doing grunt work at Astrid's excavations in Danmark parish outside Uppsala in 1970? The members of Samla Mammas Manna!
"Investigations at Slinkbacken began in the autumn of 1969 (8 September to 31 October), when the cemetery was de-turfed. Work continued in 1970 (9 May to 31 October), when the actual excavations took place. [...]

This report's author [Wexell] was the site manager. Gunnar Hedlund was deputy manager. Interns were Ingela Brising, Cecilia Carlheim-Gyllenskiöld, Inga Hägg, Bengt-Åke Johansson, Birgitta Jonsson and Britta Åkesson. Toward the end of the spring term in 1970, a group of students at the Department of Archaeology, University of Uppsala, participated (two features) with Mats Lundgren as their supervisor. An exotic component of the team was the members of musical group 'Samla Mammas Manna' with their colourful headbands."
According to Bonniers Rocklexikon (1993), the band was formed in 1969 in Uppsala. They played their first gig in 1970 and released their first album in 1971. So, while they're rehearsing and writing the first album, playing gigs in the weekends, they support themselves with manual labour at an archaeological dig! That's what I call a rare nugget of rock history.

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