Background – Irya Gmeyner

Irya Gmeyner spent her early years in Newcastle, England. She moved with her English parents to the Swedish countryside to a small town called Delsbo but returned to England as a teenager, where she made a living as a busker playing balalajka in the streets. After a year in England, Irya returned back to Sweden and started Circus Cirkör with Tilde Björfoss and some friends. At the same time, she and a childhood friend from Delsbo started the group URGA. URGA made 3 albums and played over 700 concerts around the world. URGA is still a name on the alternative underground music scene, even though the band hasn’t been active for several years.

Background – Irya’s Playground

It began somewhere around 2003 when the singer Irya Gmeyner and Pange Oberg met. Liking arose and Irya and Pange soon started to make music together. Irya had toured around the world, been part of founding Circus Cirkor, was fronting the band Urga and needed a fresh start. Pange had also, from a young age, worked in the music industry, but from a completely different side, as concert promoter, booker and manager. He also needed a change and a new start.

That was the beginning of a new musical collaboration; Irya’s Playground. Originally from Irya’s songs and visions, but soon the couple began to make songs together and an embryo of a unique sound began to grow. The debut album “Irya’s Playground”, released in 2008, received fantastic reviews. It also became the backbone for the collaboration with Circus Cirkor that resulted in the performance “Inside Out”. Irya’s Playground wrote the music and played live in the show. The original idea was to do a few shows in a circus tent in Lund. Almost three years later, “Inside Out” had become an international success that toured the world and played in New York, London, Moscow, Wellington, Germany, France and Italy. In Stockholm alone “Inside Out” played over 60 sold-out performances.

When Irya and Pange had settled down after the world tour they began working on the album in the spring of 2011. Both felt that they needed some free space without other commitments. Therefore Irya completed her studies and Pange took a leave of absence for an indefinite time to be able to totally devote themselves to music. A life choice that wasn’t easy for either of them, or their environment.

The album was recorded in Irya’s Playground’s studio, a part of a creative space with musicians and artists known as “House On The Hill” and run by the artist Clay Ketter. The smell of paint and turpentine, the constant wind from the countryside, and a cemetery as a next-door neighbour left their mark on the music.
Irya has been the sound technician and together with the musicians the music has developed and taken on new expressions. A lot of time has been put into the recording of drums and percussion where Irya’s Playground has enlisted the help of the sound technician Carl Granberg. Together they have created a sound combining acoustic beats, with electronic sounds, synthesizers and wayward guitars. Journalists have compared Irya’s Playground’s music with artists such as Portishead, Mazzy Star, Marianne Faithfull, Bjork, The Velvet Underground and Arcade Fire.

The Album ”The Pain Of Letting Go”, that will be released world wide on April 17, has been mixed by Nille Perned at Ingrid Studio and written & produced by Irya & Pange. Povel Olsson has co-produced some of the songs. In addition to the band, participants on the album are Povel and Linnea Olsson, Bebe Risenfors, Sebastian Oberg and Martin Hederos.