Jens Linell

Jens Linell's musical odyssey began in Östersund, Sweden, in 1982, under the mentorship of his father, a guitar teacher, who introduced him to the world of drumming at just seven years old. Growing up immersed in the vibrant energy of punk and hardcore bands, Jens's musical palette expanded when he entered a music school, where he encountered classical music, jazz, and the rich heritage of Swedish folk music.

At 17, Jens's journey took a pivotal turn when he joined the esteemed theater company "Västanå Teater" in Värmland, Sweden, where he spent three transformative years as a musician during summer plays. It was here that he forged deep connections with fellow folk musicians, igniting a passion for the genre that would shape his future path. Venturing further into the realm of musical exploration, Jens delved into Cuban music studies in Habana and embarked on an enlightening journey with master tambourine player Björn Tollin (Hedningarna, Boot) in 2003. The tambourine became Jens's key to unlocking the intricate rhythms and melodies of Nordic traditional music, guiding him ever closer to the heart of the genre.

In 2006, Jens embarked on a new chapter of his musical education at the College of Music in Gothenburg, Sweden, where he delved deep into the nuances of musical expression for three years. A semester at the Ole Bull Academy in Voss, Norway, further enriched his understanding of Nordic traditional music, leading him to explore the captivating world of the Hardanger fiddle. As Jens's musical journey evolved, he ventured into the realm of freelance musicianship, making his mark with acclaimed ensembles such as Triller (2007) in Sweden and SVER (2008) in Norway. Through his unwavering dedication and passion for music, Jens Linell continues to captivate audiences with his unique blend of tradition and innovation.

Since embarking on his musical journey after leaving school in 2010, Jens Linell has carved a distinct path as a freelance musician, both as a solo artist and as a collaborator in various projects. At the heart of his artistic vision lies a commitment to following the melody player with unwavering dedication, a philosophy that has propelled him to the forefront of the Nordic folk music scene. Renowned for his mastery of percussion, Jens has honed his craft with a singular focus on becoming a melody player on drums, seamlessly blending elements from jazz, rock, and free improvised music into his repertoire.

"I want to step out of the role as a drummer, the timekeeper, and to just follow the melody - wherever it goes," Jens expresses, encapsulating his artistic ethos. A defining characteristic of Jens's performance style is his preference for playing with his hands, whether it's the thunderous crash of cymbals, the delicate caress of the snare, or the rhythmic pulse of the tambourine. This tactile approach imbues his music with a sense of intimacy and spontaneity, allowing him to traverse musical landscapes with unparalleled fluidity and expressiveness.

Jens has opened new doors with SVER, touring the USA & Canada, on the youth radio charts with Snakka San & SVER and at jazz festivals with Trondheim Jazz Orchestra. He does solo concerts as well as being part of Mæd Luggumt, GKN5, and Triller.

Interview with Neil Pearlman from the Tradcafé Podcast: