Pikara is the solo project from Sara Johanne who grew up on Rindö, Sweden, an island outside Stockholm where she studied violin at Malungs Folkhogskola. Though Sara Johanne currently resides in the sinuous hills of the Columbia Gorge in Washington state, a Swedish folk music influence can clearly be heard on her new album ‘This Hollow’.
Johanne embarked on her solo career after living in the Pacific Northwest and working as a pianist and bassist with bands Susurrus Station and Zouaves. ‘This Hollow’ is the third Pikara album and makes a departure from the sound of previous releases, which have ranged from slow, dark, meandering pop to sparse tripped out instrumental compositions. ‘This Hollow’ centres around piano based pieces, complemented by soaring string arrangements. The album was recorded and produced by Jason Breeden; he is also responsible for the beautiful photography that accompanies the release.
“Johanne is as adept at constructing these sparse, trippy and largely instrumental compositions from scratch as she was at writing the slow, dark, pretty pop of her previous disc. That’s because these songs, however off-the-cuff, have personality. The five-minute “Tucana” dabbles in tango before disintegrating into tape-loop hell; “Svanen” finds ghosts of Delta blues in its slides and vocal moans.”
WW, Casey Jarman on previous release ‘Constellations’
“…Constellations, out with Aio Records is a brilliant, mostly instrumental album of looped violins, echoing through the deep corridors of classical music and gloomy experimental edges.”
smalltownromance.com, Yair Yona
“Repetative and improvised she quietly weaves instrumental stories that can sustain listings over and over again.”
Spisa.org, Johan Neij
“…a finely woven mosaic”
Undertoner.dk, Lasse Bertelsen
“(Pikara) plays a slow-moving mélange of folk, chamber music and ambient sound”
Willamette Weekly, Shane Danaher
“…PIKARA is cinematic and intense, and I would recommend the listener experiment with it to see exactly where it resonates with them.”
Crappy Indie Music, Jess Gulbranson
“From Medieval Folk to the Avant Garde. Ranging from Northern European classical folk to ambient, avant-garde violin compositions, then switching to thoughtful guitar/vocal work, Pikara spans a broad musical landscape.”
Wine Unwind, Scott Pope