Part contemporary dance project, part innovative folk band venturing into the realms of jazz, world, ambient and improvised music, This is How we Fly is simply a fascinating proposition in today’s musical landscape. Formed in 2010 by Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh (fiddle & hardanger fiddle), Seán Mac Erlaine (clarinets & live electronics), Petter Berndalen (drums & percussions) and Nic Gareiss (percussive dance), This is How we Fly generates a unique sound which hinges upon the rhythmic and melodic capacity of solo fiddle playing in Irish and Swedish traditional music.

This is How we Fly (2013)
This is How we Fly (2013)

Technically speaking, the Irish and Swedish traditions boast a huge repertoire of tunes with various time signatures and distinct melodies. Then many factors such as phrasing, intonation, style, dynamics, speed etc. come into play when it comes to music performance. But regardless of any of these elements, and the same goes for any other folk music or jazz, the music won’t come alive unless it has that “lift”, that “swing” or that “groove”.

Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh & Nic Gareiss: Big Pat’s/Dan Breen’s

This is precisely what lies at the heart of This is How we Fly: a subtle deconstruction of these rhythmic and melodic patterns to generate a particular movement, a precise “lift”, even in slow airs, prompting percussionist Petter Berndalen to describe the band’s music as an experiment in collective “levitation”.

‘Lift: a sense of spacing, usually near higher notes in phases, giving the sense of “jumping in the air”.’ – Finding the lift

Borrowing from various percussive and step dancing traditions from around the world and set up with a sound board, Nic Gareiss is visualising that “lift”, both interpreting live the music being performed and generating another layer of rhythm as a fourth musician, thus bringing a third dimension to the overall sound.

Mesmerising and uplifting dance music.

This is How we Fly: What What What

This is How we Fly’s eponymous début album is available on Bandcamp.