Welcome to the world of Foreign Slippers, where flocks of scratchy birds fly over enchanted forests full of cloth dogs and mercurial musicians, while a bewitching voice sings lullabies to the icy sky…
At least, that’s one possible interpretation, according to Gabi Froden; singer, artist, author, songwriter and ruling deity of Foreign Slippers:
“It’s a whole little world which these foreign slippers – the people playing the music -inhabit, together with all the little drawings and the characters and the dogs and the birds and the little shoes and the things that I make… which is almost a place which allows me not to properly grow up… because it means I can sit and make little dogs and call that work!”
But despite the storybook landscape, the music of Foreign Slippers is heartfelt, serious and rooted in real life.
“I write a lot from my life without knowing that’s what I’m doing – which I like because it means the songs come from somewhere inside I’m not in control of. But I also steal other people’s lives. I like the idea of trying to understand other peoples’ experiences or express them through myself… It comes genuinely from my heart. I hope the songs are real, and can be really beautiful, but also really sad or happy, or hopeful.”
These shifting emotions are perfectly conveyed by Froden’s unique voice, which modulates effortlessly from the wintry heartbreak of ‘Two People in You’, to the euphoric exultation of ‘It All Starts Now’, to the rollicking power pop of ‘Avalanche’. It is the defining feature of the world of Foreign Slippers. Starting in the church choir in her native Norrkoping in Sweden, and travelling via the Tom Petty and Pavement covers of her early bands, all the way to the haunting melodies of her new album, “singing is something I could not not do,” Gabi says.
That new album, ‘Farewell to the Old Ghosts’, is a complex but ultimately uplifting collection of songs:
“It’s called that because, at the same time that something awful, or difficult or sad, has been going on, there’s also a feeling that something better is coming, because we’re saying farewell to something that has passed.”
There is a new world to explore. Strange but familiar, exotic but comforting, isn’t it time you put on some Foreign Slippers?
Photos / Packshots