Xylofonorkestern (The Xylophone Orchestra)
Musician, composer and visual artist Christer Bothén who took part in one of our first albums, the Don Cherry tribute ”See You In A Minute” is suddenly releasing TWO albums on the Country & Eastern label, and that on the same day, november 8 2014.
Christer has studied music in Mali, where he learned the donso n’guni and in Morocco where he studied the guinbri with Abdellatif El Machzoumi since the early seventies. Christer played with Don Cherry and actually taught him some donso n’guni playing. In Don’s group he met Bengt Berger and they formed the group Spjärnsvallet with Nikke Ström and Kjell Westling. Recorded a minor classic LP in the budding world music genre in 1975. Some material that was not released then or was shortened to fit the LP format makes up the new Spjärnsvallet album ”Again and Again” together with a recording the remaining three of us did just now: AGAIN – in remembrance of deceased multi instrument genius Kjell Westling, where we improvise around a couple of the tunes we used to play 40 years back, luckily finding that we are still ”on the case”.
Apart from playing piano, tenor saxophone and bass clarinet, Christer composed most of the material in Spjärnsvallet in a very personal and rhythmic style. Christer was also a member of the early Bitter Funeral Beer Band but left to focus on his own new group Bolon Bata.
During the last seven years he has been teaching, forming and playing with Xylofonorkestern (The Xylophone Orchestra) in a music-pedagogy project at a day center for people with cognitive disabilities in Stockholm. Christer Bothén has composed rhythmic/melodic pieces while working continually with the members of the orchestra. The result is a music of their own – music that emanates from the talents of the musicians rather than from their limitations. ”Stora Blå” (Big Blue) is an album to love and enjoy!
Christer is currently a member of Mats Gustafsson’s Nu Ensemble & Fire Orchestra, collaborates with Tisha Mukarji and does solo projects with his bass clarinet.
Here is a video from NRK from 1982 when Christer, Anita Livstrand and Bengt Berger were invited to Kautokeino for what must be one of the earliest meeting between North and South: