Praise Drumming

Bengt Berger & Bitter Funeral Beer Band

A knock on my door and suddenly two boxes arrived from Dragon Records with the CD release of the second album w Bitter Funeral Beer Band, “Praise Drumming”. The album was recorded and mixed with Jan-Erik Kongshaug at the Rainbow Studio in Oslo in 1986 and has been very hard to find on vinyl. Moreover it has one of the most beautiful covers ever, created by Gittan Jönsson.

DRCD449 front and back

”Bitter Funeral Beer” became an instant classic after its release on ECM in 1982. Bengt Berger and the Bitter Funeral Beer Band followed it up with ”Praise Drumming” on the Swedish label Dragon in 1987, an album that has been very hard to find on vinyl since long. Dragon now releases it on cd and it has stood the test of time remarkably well with its mix of traditional music from Ghana with modern themes like ”Praise Drumming for ANC” and the funeral piece ”Pire for Palme” (the Swedish prime minister had just been shot dead while walking with his wife in the center of Stockholm).

More info and reviews further down on this page.


  1. In A Balinese Bar (8:02)
  2. Two Ewe Songs (7:23)
  3. Upper Region (8:26)
  4. Twisted Pattern (2:30)
  5. Ammasu (5:05)
  6. Pire for Palme (5:20)
  7. Dar-Kpen Gan Da Gina (4:20)
  8. Praise Drumming for ANC (3:14)


  • The musicians:

    • Bass Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Flute, Percussion – Björn Hellström
    • Bass Guitar, Electric Guitar, Percussion – Sigge Krantz
    • Bass Guitar, Percussion – Thomas Huhn
    • Cello, Percussion – Matthias Helldén
    • Drums, Percussion – Tomas Mera Gartz
    • Electric Guitar, Violin, Percussion – Tord Bengtsson
    • Percussion – LiseLotte Norelius
    • Tenor Saxophone, Percussion – Ulf Wallander
    • Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute, Percussion – Thomas Gustafson
    • Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Percussion – Bengt Ernryd
    • Trumpet, Percussion – Tommy Adolfsson
    • Vocals, Amadinda, Xylophone, Percussion – Anita Livstrand
    • Xylophone [Ko-Gyil], Amadinda, Percussion – Bengt Berger

    Cover by – Gittan Jönsson
    Recorded by, mixed by – Jan-Erik Kongshaug, Rainbow Studios, Oslo
    Mastered by – Rune Persson
    Photography by [Back Cover] – Kärsti Stiege
    Producer, Liner Notes by – Bengt Berger

    Recorded by Jan-Erik Kongshaug at Rainbow Studio, Oslo, Norway, March 25 and 26, 1986.
    The ornaments on the on Gittan Jönsson’s cover painting are derived from Ashanti Kente-cloth patterns. They all carry a meaning.

    Contact Dragon Records at drarec@dragonrecords.se

more info

On Country & Eastern’s YouTube channel you can find videos in playlists with Bitter Funeral Beer Band.

The reissue of this album from 1986 received a very good Swedish review by Peter Sjöblom in Mono He also put Praise Drumming on his “Best of 2017-list”:
“Lyckligtvis fanns det ett och annat som lyfte åttiotalet ur sitt erbarmeliga elände, både inom jazzen och rocken. Och bortom. Sådant som Bitter Funeral Beer Bandsom håller än idag och som gör att man kan om kanske inte just fördra, så i alla fall lättare förtränga årtiondets mer osmakliga yttringar………….Trettio år som alltså inte märks i denna evigt unga musik.”

Here is one by Tor Hammerö in Norway:
“Vest-afrikansk musikk, med sine fascinerende rytmer og Bergers låter, er et heftig utgangspunkt for åtte ekskursjoner. Det er tøff, moderne, tidløs og grenseløs musikk som sikkert vil være like spennende å høre igjen om 30 år også. Bengt Berger har gjort og gjør en viktig jobb.”
More from Norway, Jan Granli, Salt Peanuts

And one in Polish to add to the multi-linguistics, this one by Dionizy Piątkowski in Era Jazzu

A fabulous one in English by Raul da Gama where he concludes “this hugely powerful album was first recorded by what is easily one of the great ensembles in any music.”

and from Songlines: