Symbio was named Best New Artist of the Year at the Swedish Folk & World Music Awards 2016. With their strong stage presence, and a magical combination of hurdy-gurdy and accordion, the duo performs in a way that you’ve never heard before, taking their audience on a moving and dreamy musical journey . Through a playful, energetic and close interaction Symbio creates new music with a warm expression. They mostly write their own material, and want to create a musical world that they themselves are affected by. During concerts they perform with both seriousness and joy, telling personal and vivid stories about the music.
The two musicians in Symbio are graduates of the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. Symbio was created in 2012 and in 2015 the duo received the Scholarship for Ensembles from The Royal Swedish Academy of Music. In October 2016 they released their debut album Phoresy and their second album will be released in late summer 2018.
– Symbio is a project that is very close to our hearts. We are passionate about the music we make together. We hope and believe that our music will touch both organizers and audiences.
Johannes is a passionated musician and artist. His voice is the hurdy-gurdy and he moves between different genres such as Swedish traditional music, contemporary music and improvisation. With lyrical, melodic lines, intense grooves and singing drones Johannes plays the hurdy-gurdy in a way seldom heard before. In Symbio he uses all the many colors of the hurdy-gurdy combining the archaic roots with the modern possibilities, always searching for new sounds and possibilities. Johannes is regarded as one of the most interesting, upcoming hurdy-gurdy players of his generation. He has traveled all around Europe playing concerts, giving masterclasses and meeting professional musicians to develop his own way of making music.
Within the duo Symbio LarsEmil seeks a different approach of playing the Accordion. From small fragile sounds to the most brutal roarings he brings out the beauty and unexpected sounds of the accordion. By using rhythmic structures combined with melody and various harmonies brought from both folk, pop and jazz he creates his musical voice within the duo.
”The musicians in Symbio bewitch us with their hypnotic playing of the hurdy-gurdy and the accordion. In spite of there only being two of them, they produce an unbelievably full-bodied sound which fills the entire hall. The hurdy-gurdy, an advanced instrument, has been ”newly-invented” by Johannes Geworkian Hellman. The same can be said of the way that LarsEmil Öjeberget plays the accordion. Their music feels new and different. Rhythmically they make us think of electronic music and metal, whilst their whirling melodies remind us of folk music and tradition: Scottish/Irish folk music, French accordion and Nordic medieval music. Yet first and foremost Symbio is something very much its own. I liked them from the first moment that I heard them perform at the Urkult festival in the summer.”
Susanne Holmberg, Lira – Swedish music magazine, 2016
”Imagine a blend of Benny Anderssons Orchestra*, R&B with Beyoncé, heavy bluesy rock with Led Zeppelin and a little organ with Olivier Messiaen – all performed on the hurdy-gurdy and the accordion. When the two musicians in Symbio play I feel like a muggle. On stage: wizards, weaving their magic to create crazily swinging and up-to-date music on instruments not associated with modern-day popular music. I have never heard anything like it, whilst at the same time the duo’s music sounds strangely familiar. As though from a parallel world, though I am aware that it is in fact simply a matter of everyday honest musicality, creativity and thousands of hours of practice and studies.”
Catarina Nitz, Eskilstunakuriren, 2016
”Hurdy-gurdy and accordion – an unusual combination in folk and world music. In the hands of the two young men in Symbio it sounds entirely obvious. A kind of folk fusion with a suggestive trance groove. Late one Friday night they make the entire audience at the Stockholm Folk Festival jubilate. Johannes Geworkian Hellman (hurdy-gurdy) and LarsEmil Öjeberget (accordion) are both graduates of Sweden’s Royal College of Music, so it is no surprise that they treat us solely to their own compositions. The listener is drawn into a world of its own with the August darkness as a fitting background. That we hear two virtuoso musicians is obvious to all!”
Lars Lind, Lira -Swedish music magazine, 2015