Vena Portae are an Anglo-Swedish alt-folk band, comprised of BAFTA award-winning singer songwriter Emily Barker, songwriter and performer Dom Coyote, and Swedish producer and multi-instrumentalist Ruben Engzell.
Vena Portae's eponymous debut album draws the listener into an epic journey of love, loss, memory and longing. From the heady alt-pop highs of 'Flames & Fury' and 'Summer Kills', to the dark, atmospheric depths of 'Turning Key' and 'Transatlantic', this is an album that is atmospheric, moving and irresistible.
The album is due for release on 18th August and features stunning lead single 'Summer Kills', which is remixed by Swedish indie legend Peter Morén (lead singer of Peter, Bjorn and John). As the band puts it 'Summer Kills' is "A song about longing, about a broken past and an uncertain future. A song about regret and vain hopes. A song about love."
"Vena Portae" means "vein portal" in Latin; it's a short vein that carries blood to the liver. The band were inspired by ideas of roads, rivers, veins, portals, creative openings, connections between people, places and life force.
In the winter of 2012, Vena Portae found themselves in the tiny, snowed-in Swedish town of Mölnbo just outside Stockholm. They built a make shift studio, full to the rafters with analogue equipment, spring reverbs, electric guitars, banjos, pianos and an array of weird and wonderful instruments. Over the space of a month, they recorded a treasure trove of songs, inspired by heartbreak, passion, and intrigue, which together make up the album Vena Portae.
Emily Barker is the BAFTA award-winning writer and performer of the theme to BBC TV crime drama Wallander starring Kenneth Branagh. With her band The Red Clay Halo, she also provided the atmospheric theme to highly acclaimed noir thriller The Shadow Line. Emily Barker and The Red Clay Halo have released four critically acclaimed albums, toured extensively over the world, performed alongside friend and collaborator Frank Turner at the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony and recently released their album 'Dear River' in the UK on Linn Records to critical acclaim, with four and five star reviews across the board.
British songwriter-theatre maker Dom Coyote is an associate artist with the world renowned Kneehigh Theatre and has performed in sold out shows with them throughout the UK, South America and the U.S. He has performed and composed for acclaimed companies such as The Royal Shakespeare Company, Art Angel and the National Theatre as well as creating his own brand of gig-theatre, mixing alt-folk, rock, world music and multimedia.
Ruben Engzell is a shining light in the Swedish music scene. Working with Christian Kjellvander, Peter Morén and EP's Trailer Park to name a few, Ruben worked on ground-breaking London projects such as Future Cinema and Sona Soul before returning to his home country to set up his own studio in SoFo, the creative heart of Stockholm.
Jesper Jonsson, who joins the band onstage as a live drummer/percussionist,
grew up on the remote Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic sea, before moving to Stockholm where he headed up the rhythm sections for highly regarded artists such as EP's Trailer Park, Lisa Lindal and Laakso.
Vena Portae will be playing the following live dates this August:
15 Stroud, The Goods Shed
16 Dermot O'Leary - live Radio 2 session
17 Beautiful Days Festival
21 Southsea, Square Tower
22 Marlborough, Sound Knowledge
23 Lewes, Union Music Store
23 Bexhill, Music's Not Dead
24 Purbeck Folk Festival
25 Winchester, Swiss Cottage
26 Birmingham, Kitchen Garden Cafe
27 London, Green Note
29 Durham, Old Cinema Launderette
30 Manchester, Castle Hotel
31 Stoke (Folk in a Box @ AppetiteStoke)
The season 7 premiere guests featured some cast members we haven't seen much of for a while.
This year's Rotterdam event was definitely one to remember.