“To play correctly is great – to play freely is even greater” could be ISKRA’s motto. After almost half a century of free improvisation, the ISKRA musicians feel happy about the musical paths we chose in the beginning. We did not have to wait for the adventure – we created it and let it happen at every concert. It is a powerful feeling to stand before an audience not knowing what will happen. But the longer we played together, the more personal and refined our tools became, allowing us to create music in the moment. We brought along our personalities, personal experiences and impressions from our lives, and our boundless desire to mould the musical material. In contrast to compositions put down on paper, we experienced the sudden musical reactions of the moment. As
a composer, you can change the music after a performance and create a revised version. As an improviser you create the music in the very moment – every concert, every piece is a new one.

A large part of the music we hear is hierarcally organized. The conductor conducts or the bandleader leads, soloists perform their solos, accompanists accompany. This is the same kind of hierarchical thinking found in the military and in industry that threw improvisation out of Western art music in the middle of the 19th century. ISKRA opposed this on the basis of our anti-authoritarian ideals, which we shared with many in the 60’s and 70’s. “An archos” – without leaders – became our method of working, along with many improvisers in the 1960’s and the 70’s all over the world. The initiative for a musical development could come from anyone in the group, with any instrument or sound – a piece of “junk”, voice, toys, bass violin, synthesizer – all were of equal value, everyone was a soloist, everyone was an accompanist. This opened up new musical possibilities and a new world of sound for the ensemble.

We were rebels and took the name ISKRA (which means spark) from the early 20th century Russian socialist newspaper. The world had begun to move – jazz music had sprung its fetters, the flower- power movement presented an alternative life- style and the youth of the world protested against wars and injustice. Anti-imperialism, internatio- nal solidarity and demands for social and economic equality drove us to pursue a more humane world, without war and exploitation of people, animals, or nature. The word FRATERNITÉ – brotherhood, was heard in the slogan of the French Revolution. Harmonizing with ISKRA’s ideas about music, we use HUMANITÉ as a connection to the ongoing struggle for equal rights for all humans around the world. An egalitarian music can show the way.

Tuomo Haapala

The release concert for Liberté, Égalité, Humanité in the Bucky Dome in Stockholm on May 22nd 2012 became Sune Spångberg’s last. Having struggled with MS for many years, his last appearance on stage became a very warm farewell to all his admirers. Sune was 82 when he left the planet a couple of weeks after, on June 21st.

Here is a video with some music from Humanité:


  1. 1 LIBERTÉ (16:57)
  2. 2 EGALITÉ (30:22)
  3. 3 HUMANITÉ (12:15)
  4. L'ADDITION (digital-only) (9:49)

more info

United Mutations: “(Liberé Ègalite Humanité) needs multiple listenings and asks for your complete attention. BEAUTIFUL RECOMMENDED LISTENING

WIRE “this quartet interact with sensitivity and imagination.”

“The only upsetting thing about this CD is that ISKRA is no longer active.” Scott Worthington/Bass World

Liberté, Égalité, Humanité är en alldeles lysande skiva says Soundofmusic.se

”Liberté” är ljudet av ett antal frijazzpionjärer som behållit det bästa från ungdomsdagarna och med den erfarenhet de har tillskansat sig sedan dess lärt sig hantera det. Det är att växa upp och bli äldre på allra bästa sätt. Om man vill kan man säga att ”Liberté” är precis den skiva som jag alltid önskat mig av dem, och jag känner mig både glad åt och lättad av att den slutligen finns. – Review in Swedish, Tidningen Kulturen:

Here is another swedish review, written for UNT but edited very hard in the newspaper; this is the full text.