Charles Spearin & Josefin Runsteen release Thank God, The Plague Is Over LP

Canadian musician Charles Spearin and Swedish violinist Josefin Runsteen have released an avant classical album made together in this tiny chapel in northern Italy back in the summer of 2019 entitled Thank God, The Plague Is Over via Arts & Crafts. The songs on the record were inspired by the elimination of the bubonic plague back in 1976 and the relief that came from its end.

Spearin and Runsteen, two complete strangers from different spheres of the music scene, met in a 12th-century castle in northern Italy. They were invited by Canadian songwriters Feist and Irish musician Damien Rice, among a handful of other fantastic musicians and artists from various countries, to a week-long residency, to collaborate on music, poetry and ideas.

On the first day of the residency, when Charles and Josefin had barely exchanged a word with each other, they tested the acoustics in the Chapel and began improvising on their instruments. Charles, brought his nyckelharpa, a Swedish folk instrument, while Josefin brought her violin. Immediately, the two were astonished by colourful explosions of sound, and they felt an instantaneous, profound musical connection.

They decided to meet there every day and record their improvisations. These explorations are collected here as their debut album, Thank God, The Plague Is Over, a title that proved even more present and relevant than they could have ever imagined for this year, 2020. It is an album of not just hope and beauty, but – like the topic that inspired it – one of survival and fierce gratitude for making it through to the other side, for making it back to life.

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