FEATURED MEMBER – Irya Gmeyer

Posted on March 16, 2010

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http://www.pelime.com/iryasplayground/

http://www.irya.se/

Irya was brought up in Sweden but returned to her English roots and moved to England for a year as a teenager.  Her seeds of her future music career grew there when she played in a pub in the evening and busked on the street during the day.  She played an unusual instrument: the balalajka.  Dating back to the 18th century, it is a Russian guitar-like instrument, triangular in shape with three or six strings.  When she moved back to Sweden, she started a circus called Circus Cirkör with Tilde Björfors and some friends and a band called URGA that produced three albums still popular in the underground scene.

Irya was brought up in Sweden but returned to her English roots and moved to England for a year as a teenager.  Her seeds of her future music career grew there when she played in a pub in the evening and busked on the street during the day.  She played an unusual instrument: the balalajka.  Dating back to the 18th century, it is a Russian guitar-like instrument, triangular in shape with three or six strings.  When she moved back to Sweden, she started a circus called Circus Cirkör with Tilde Björfors and some friends and a band called URGA that produced three albums still popular in the underground scene.

Q.  What brought you to learn the balalajka?  

A.  We had a Russian teacher in school that played balalajka – she inspired me to learn how to play.

Q.  Did that year in England inspire your later work? 

A.  It’s hard to say, but that year defiantly made an impact on me personally.

Q. How did you get involved in starting a circus?  

A.  Me and Tilde and some other friends started at college and in that college we had a lot of theatre. After we finished, we carried on with the theatre, but we thought it fairly limiting. We wanted to do something that had everything, theatre, music, dance, art, fashion, circus and a lot of madness mixed with humor. So we started Cirkus Cirkör. 

Q.  Did Cirque de Soleil inspire you at all? 

A.  No, not more than that we knew that Cirque de Soleil was one of the biggest and standards were very high. We also knew that we can never compete with them, so we had to do our own thing.

Q.  Where do you find the inspiration for your songs? 

A.  I find inspiration from other musicians and bands and from people around me. From films, books and from my own experiences. 

Q.  The sounds? 

A.  We worked a lot with the sounds on the album. We made beats out of different metal junk. I guess we tried to find other ways of recording the songs… We had a lot of fun in the studio.

Q. What does the pumping heart signify for Cirkus?  

A.  It’s a symbol for being and feeling alive and to follow your heart and not be stopped by your fears. To dare more then you dare.

Q. Are there any artists you relate to particularly? 

A.  Patti Smith has inspired me.  She is a strong woman and was one of the first female artists who did her own thing and she never compromised. 

Q.  Where do you see your music going from here? 

A.  We will tour another year or so with “Inside Out”. We will also record another album that hopefully will be released in the autumn 2010. 

Q.  Future projects? 

A.  I want to make another performance with music and circus. I also want to make a platform for musicians and artists to meet and do things together. 

Q.  What do you hope to achieve in 2010 and how do you feel Pelime might help facilitate this?

A.  I want to release our new album and try to find a way to get it out outside Sweden. I think Pelime can help me finding interesting people who work in a similar way or a different way that can inspire me. Also I hope that I will meet people that would like to use our music in different ways. 

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