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Samla Mammas Manna


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Samla Mammas Manna Samla Mammas Manna album cover
4.05 | 140 ratings | 15 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Circus Apparatha (6:02)
2. Pausus (0:18)
3. Vidgat Läge (Broadened Condition) (3:15)
4. Släde Till Satori (Slayride to Satori) (4:17)
5. Schekina (2:51)
6. Uvertyr Till Häst (Overture to a Kind Horse) (2:55)
7. Flickan I Skogen (The Girl in the Woods) (2:20)
8. Manna Jamma (5:53)
9. At-One-Ment (4:20)
10. Skrik Från Embassy-Live (Shouts from Embassy) (2:29)
11. Fittravisan (0:59)
12. E'pop Tai (4:09)

Total Time 39:48

Bonus tracks on 2001 CD release:
13. Cirkus Impala (3:39)
14. Lawrence in Sahara (2:01)

Line-up / Musicians

- Lasse Hollmer / organ, piano, vocals
- Lars Krantz / bass
- Hasse Bruniusson / drums, vocals
- Henrik "Bebben" Öberg / congas, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Lasse Wikfeld

LP Silence ‎- SRS 4604 (1971, Sweden)

CD Silence ‎- SRSCD 3603 (2001, Sweden)

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SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA Samla Mammas Manna ratings distribution

(140 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA Samla Mammas Manna reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Greger
5 stars The first classic album by SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA is strangely enough also the last SAMLA album to be released in the CD format. I am however a proud owner of the original LP which I treasure a lot. SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA was one of the leading bands in the musical wing (the other wing was political) of the Swedish progressive movement in Sweden at the beginning of the 1970's. It was obvious already with the first album that SAMLA was something special. Their debut album is filled with what could be labelled as some kind of unique piano and organ dominated "circus music" blended with avant-garde, jazz-rock and progressive rock. It sounds as if they had a lot of fun recording it and there are many strange and silly voices and sounds here and there. SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA has never followed any trends and they have always done music the way they want to. The beautiful cover artwork by Lasse Wikfeld is also worth a special mentioning. If you already own the original LP you should get this CD anyway as it contains two bonus tracks "Cirkus impala" and "Lawrence in Sahara". Highly recommended and much sought after on vinyl!
Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Good debut album with little of the genuine craziness of later albums but points out their silly attitude well enough. The songs are short and folk oriented but toying with fusion, prog and experimental music all the time which makes for an interesting listen but unfortunately the production values of the album resulting in poor and thin sound (it was recorded in a chickenhouse so they are forgiven). The opening track "Circus Apparatha" is one of the best cuts here with funny lyrics about all the weird people working in this particular circus and sets the tone perfectly, the sound is dominated by Hollmer's rhodes keyboard but I do miss Coste Apetrea's guitar. Nice music but mostly for fans.
Review by Tom Ozric
5 stars SMM's debut release is a charming, whimsical album. The production values leave a bit to be desired, but it kinda adds to the naivety and innocence of this wonderful bit of creativity. Opening with a quirky electric-piano riff, 'Circus Apparatha' indeed sounds like a carnival - humourous riffs, vocals and silly voices, care-free organ and e-piano playing, with a competent rhythm section - it really gets this album off to a great, unique start. Very hard to actually describe this music, perhaps some of the more jazzy e-piano dominated material by The Doors, with a hint of R.I.O. but still quite different. Their focus on truly challenging R.I.O. will eventually become more apparent over the course of the next few releases. The bulk of the album is instrumental, and the sound and instrumentation consistent throughout. There are some brief, but beautiful e-piano interludes at certain points, and there is a loose, jammy vibe to be heard on most tracks. Sometimes slow, sometimes fast, many tempo changes and tasteful progressions abound, always keeping things interesting. I've listened to this lots of times since I got the LP and I still discover something new each time. I guess I'm jumping on the 'masterpiece band-wagon', but the album sports enough genuine character and uniqueness that it deserves the full rating.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Samla Mammas Manna is a great experiemtal/ RIO rock band from Sweden. Their music is influenced by lots of different genres, and they end up sounding very original. It is note worthy that this album is from 1971. Even though that time was mostly dominated by symphonic prog rock bands a few bands stuck out and insisted on making something different and Samla Mammas Manna is certainly one of them.

The album is mostly instrumental, but starts with Circus apparatha which is a song with swedish lyrics and singing. I must say that even though the instrumental songs are very impressive Circus apparatha is my favorite here. This song has first of all a great instrumental track and on top of that the strange and funny Swedish lyrics that are just hilarious to me. The singing in itself is also very good here. The rest of the songs are also very good instrumental songs with lots of piano and organ led melodies. A lot of the melodies remind me of a day in the circus as they have that happy flavour of clowns, candyfloss and elephants. The songs rely heavily on rythm though, and with both a drummer Hasse Bruniusson ( now in The Flower Kings) and a percussionist Bebben Öberg, this is the part of Samla Mammas Manna´s music that is dominating and I promise you that they play some pretty impressive things. The songs are slightly complex yet memorable. This is not totally inaccessible RIO, but rather a pleasant variant. Handclaps are even thrown in to great humorous effect.

The musicians are outstanding and I´m especially impressed by that brilliant rythm section, but the funny little piano/ organ melodies are also wonderful.

The production isn´t the best but it doesn´t ruin the music and it has it´s charm.

This debut album is an excellent RIO album and I enjoy it very much. Had there been more of those funny vocals this could have been a masterpiece, but as it is I will rate it 4 stars.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The first time I listened to SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA I asked myself What in God's name is this? Because this guys are weird to an extreme, for many it could be just a funny band making some sort of Vaudevillian act, but if you listen the music that surrounds all the sounds and weird vocals, you notice immediately that this guys are really skilled and the music is first class Prog.

But lets go immediately with the self titled debut of this excellent Swedish band.

The album starts with "Circus Apparatha" a strange track that creates a circus paraphernalia, it's amazing how they can blend all the comic sounds and vocals (which I can't understand) with excellent Psyche and Prog music, the radical chhanges keep the listener clueless about what's coming next, and they even add some dramatic organ sections by the surprising Lasse Hollmer, who does an outstanding work.

"Pausus" is a short 20 seconds interlude that works as an into for "Vidgat Läge", a radically different song top the opener, the intro reminds me a bit of Santana with the Hammond recreating the spirit of the late 70's and the percussion by Bebben Öberg who adds congas with a Latin edge. Then the song turns absolutely dramatic with contradictory sections linked all together with great skills. Again the keyboards are delightful.

"Släde Till Satori" is another strange song that blends perfectly a theatrical atmosphere with a Classical sound and a Jazzy edge, the piano is played with unusual fury and the drumming is outstanding. May seem a repetitive song but every round is different to the other, some strange and new element is added, like the extra 52 seconds which are very spacey.

"Schekina" starts with a barely audible piano and drums section that goes "in crescendo" like announcing a climax that reaches after a minute with the organ, guitar drums and bass hitting the listener with a sonic wall, again outstanding.

"Uvertyr Till Häst" keeps the atmosphere of the first track but the sound has evolved becoming more complex and elaborate, the detail of the hand clapping is perfect, the melody is simply beautiful, I always wonder how this guys can make something sop elaborate and complex sound so simple?

"Flickan I Skogen" is an excellent track where the unusual guitar style is absolutely unique, like hitting the instrument with hate, while the organ keeps a soft Psyche melody in the background almost as if they were jamming, also solid work by Lasse Krantz in the bass, as the support of all the music.

"Manna Jamma" begins with the strangest "a capella" section I ever heard, like a comedy dialogue that ends in donkey sounds and immediately leads to a jazzy passage where the keyboards and drums take the lead and then the complete band enters with all the have making us take a trip back to the late 60's, pure Psyche.

"At-One-Ment" is another song that takes us back to the 60's, reminds me of "Meshkalina" by TRAFFIC SOUND but with congas and fully instrumental, turms softer in the middle just to end completely weird.

"Skrik Från Embassy-Live" is a song that seems a complete jamming session, with strong and unusual sounds, full of interesting cacophonies, the star here is Bebben Öberg with his complex and elaborate percussion. Normally jamming bores me, but this song is fantastic.

Now its' time to get really crazy with "Fittravisan", a complete cacophony where percussion, piano and guitar blend in some sort of sonic wall, they made it short enough not to bore anybody.

"E'Pop Tai" is completely different to any previous song, an extremely beautiful Synth melody with a backing sound that seems made with maracas. Strangely flows gently from start to end without surprises.

The edition I got has two extra tracks, the frantic, cacophonic and Jazzy "Circus Impala" and "Lawrence in Sahara" which sounds like a Latin version of "Piper at the Gates of Dawn", but as always, I only focus in the tracks that were released with the original release, because that's the way the band believed the album should be listened (Well also due to time limitations of the Vinyl records).

There's no other possible rating than 5 stars because "Samla Mammas Manna" fulfills all the requirements of the guidelines, it's essential for any Prog Collection, being this is the pioneer album of the influential Scandinavian Prog and it's a masterpiece (At least in my opinion).

I believe that despite it's weirdness, this album is for any fan of real Prog with strong Psyche elements, so get it with confidence, you won't regret.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Samla Mammas Manna, Zamla Mammaz Manna, Von Zamla,... all of them exponents of a nucleus of Swedish RIO creativity that kicked off with this charming debut album. Samla Mammas Manna is great mix of 60's psychedelics, avant-garde rock and circus extravaganza. I love it for its playful approach, its warmth and its pure emotionality.

The album is still indebted to psychedelic rock and isn't all that far removed from the Canterbury sound really. It's mainly due to the organic rocking sound and jazzy flavour of the material. But the vocals and the avant-garde elements of SMM make quite a difference. There is little here that reminds of the sweet pop music roots of a band like Caravan for instance. But Soft Machine is not that far away really.

The album is mainly instrumental, well played rock music with touches of jazz, circus music, folk, avant-garde and humour. It captures the early RIO spirit very much, being genuinely experimental without being contrived or artsy. The material is catchy and pleasant throughout but I regret that much of it is instrumental. The tracks with vocals such as the engaging opener Circus Apparatha stand out very much above some of the rather anonymous short instrumentals around it.

This is a very promising debut with a great authentic attitude and some superb pieces of music. After being charmed by the chamber rock of Von Zamla, I'm really looking forward discovering the remainder of the SMM output.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars You gotta love these talented Swedes. They seem to be having too good of a time making music don't they ? On the surface the music here sounds fairly simple with piano being ever- present as drums, percussion and bass support. Quite a bit of organ in this one too and some vocal expressions. This was released in 1971 and it really is a joy to just sit back and listen to it.

"Circus Apparatha" as the title suggests is kind of silly with some crazy vocal expression. It's uptempo and simply a dynamite tune. It does settle before 4 minutes but then picks back up before 5 1/2 minutes with the organ and piano leading. "Pausus" is a short piano piece. "Vidgat Lage" is kind of jazzy with bass, drums and piano standing out. It builds with organ joining in. "Slade Till Satore" is piano and drum led. This is catchy. Some bass too then organ 3 minutes in. It turns surprisingly dark 3 1/2 minutes in. "Schekina" builds slowly with drums, organ and piano eventually leading. "Uvertyr Till Snall Hast" opens with piano, drums and organ. It picks up quickly with clapping, bass, drums and organ. Contrasts continue.

"Flickan I Skogen" is a short piano / drum led tune that picks up late. "Manna Jamma" opens with organ and these multi vocals before getting fuller. They're kicking it hard before 4 minutes. Nice. "At- One-Mint" features more great jamming like the last track. It settles before 3 minutes and ends with a bird singing. "Skrik Fran Embassy-Live" is bass and drum led to start before they start kicking ass a minute in. "Fittravisan" opens with percussion which is joined by piano. "E'pop Tai" features piano and congas before the congas are replaced by the percussion. Cool tune.

Just a killer debut that might seem a little samey at first but after repeated listens it will unfold it's unique qualities.

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Debut album from the most important (by far) Swedish band in the progressive realm, as these guys would be part of the RIO legend, but had a very impressive existence prior to that chart's creation, almost delving in the Canterbury side of things, like Henry Cow had too with Leg End. Indeed, this self-titled debut album is already stretching the normal rock realm well beyond conventional boundaries, a bit in the Zappa sense, but without the dumb and cheesy humour of the Mothers. Don't get me wrong, SMM have also a solid sense of humour, but it's definitely more subtle than Zappa's Mother's' sketches or the later scatological obsessions of the late-70's. Just by the quartet's constitution, you can already guess that you're in for a wild trip: a keyboard-led quartet with a drummer and a percussionist. The album consist of 12 relatively short tracks

Opening on the SMM-like signature of Circus Apparentha, the album reveals itself to, be a very enthusiastic and enthralling trip into happy and joyous music, that's confirmed with the jazzy/Latino organ-lead Vidgat Läge track, sometimes close to Santana's Gregg Rollie. Satori is a repetitive but evolving descending riff on the piano. The album goes on with some musical insanities like the nearly-spoken introduction vocals of Manna Jamma, before the track veers wildly into an organ-led improv. The album remains entertaining throughout, but SMM is missing another solo instrument to be captivating enough through the length of an album-full of tracks. And while usually energetic, rather surprisingly, this otherwise superb album ends in a relatively low-key Pop Tai, which almost a deception as you'd have expected them to go out on a loud BANG!!!

Despite the uneven production, this album is a very worthy pre-RIO cradle that most progheads (even the neo-sympho-retro heads) should investigate, or at least SMM's next two albums, even if I suspect they will find this one more accessible. The two bonus track from the 01 Cd reissue are in the wild line of the album, but seem to be better produced. Even stronger than this excellent invigorating musical slap-in-the-face, SMM would go on to the even stronger Maltid album, but this is another story. SMM's debut album is certainly a fitting start to the most impressive and legendary Swedish bands, no matter what decade

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The band Samla Mammas Manna has always been a huge favorite of mine, or should I say all Lars Hollmer work in general. Hollmer always brought a seal of quality to all projects that he participated in and the debut album from Samla is where it all began!

This band-titled debut as just as great as any of the band's later releases which is really amazing considering how early in their career they were. The music here has not yet adapted the jazz and folk music influences that the collective would depict later on and instead we get, for most part, a lot of wonderful instrumental music with playful twists and improv moments. Lars Hollmer show pretty early on that he knows his keyboards inside and out ,while Hasse Bruniusson's drum arrangements fill out the gaps and sometimes even overshadow Hollmer's input.

The album-opening track, Circus Apparatha, does sound like a product of the Swedish progg movement (not to be mistaken with prog), but the creative instrumental arrangements give it a completely different spin and deviate the band pretty much entirely from that movement. A few tracks onwards, we are treated to some wonderful instrumentals like Släde Till Satori and Flickan I Skogen, both showing that Samla is a completely unpredictable collective that can treat its audience to a new experience with every new performance! The rest of the material is great but still is not completely matured. Still, it works well as interludes between the highlights.

Just like many reviewers before me have suggested, the debut album from Samla Mammas Manna is a worthy addition to any progressive rock collection and a must have for Samla fans and RIO lovers in general. To me, it's easily my second favorite album out of the band's '70s albums, surpassed only by Måltid.

***** star songs: Pausus (0:20) Släde Till Satori (4:14) Uvertyr Till Snäll Häst (2:55) Flickan I Skogen (2:22)

**** star songs: Circus Apparatha (6:04) Vidgat Läge (3:19) Schekina (2:52) Manna Jamma (6:07) At-One-Ment (4:20) Skrik Från Embassy - live (2:29) Fittravisan (0:58) E`Pop Tai (4:12)

Review by Warthur
4 stars Like their fellow founding fathers of RIO in Henry Cow, Samla Mammas Manna started out with a heavy Canterbury influence, though in the debut album you can also hear the cheeky attitude and a few musical references to Uncle Meat/Burnt Weeny Sandwich-era Mothers of Invention. It's certainly a move worthy of Zappa to begin your album of mostly-instrumental Canterbury- flavoured prog with a bit of circus music.

Still, the oft-cited connection between Samla and circus music seems confined to those parts of the opening track (Circus Apparatha), and the rest is much more comfortably in Canterbury/Zappa territory, with enough jazziness and complexity to take the band towards Soft Machine territory but sufficient playfulness to also pull it towards Caravan's Waterloo Lily-era sound, the resultant blend being sufficiently original to be worthy of attention from most Canterbury fans.

Review by GruvanDahlman
4 stars I can't remember the time before my love of the song "Circus Apparatha". I guess I discovered it by way of listening to the follow-up, "Måltid", where the song was included as a bonus track. Now, I still think that the song is a true masterpiece, showing off the all that's great about SMM: the tight musicianship, the really heavy jazz-rock, the avant-garde, the whimsical and the outright insane. It's true that the debut by SMM is less of a crazy affair than later albums but that don't mean there's not insanity. What I love most of all is the naive joy of playing. It's like the start of a fabulous journey into the unknown, a kind of gathering for the musically insane, trying out each others strengths and abilities. I won't go into details about each song, all I'm gonna say is that SMM:s debut is well worth hearing. Though it might be more conventional jazz-rock on this album than later ones, it's a great jazz- rock album with that special swedish touch, that I like. Not only because I'm swedish myself, but because it gives the music a certain flavor that is special, just as with any prog from any nation.
Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars While generally lumped into the greater Rock In Opposition category of progressive rock due to the fact that this Uppsala, Sweden based band was one of that renegade musical movement's original participants, the oddly named SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA which is said to have taken its moniker from a Swedish nursery rhyme, was in reality more of a hybrid between the zany musical antics of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention mixed with the jazz-rock virtuosity of bands in the Canterbury Scene with a clear parallel alongside the Dutch band Supersister. SAMLAS were one of the first to usher in the Swedish "progg" movement with this eponymous debut album that was released in 1971 and unlike many of the Swedish rock scene of the era eschewed overtly political themes and instead engaged in extreme bouts of absurdity.

Known for their wild mix of jazz, rock, folklore and circus music, this early album displays the band in simpler form before they went hog wild into jazz-fusion territory on their second album "Måltid" and despite cranking out some veritable rockin' grooves and pounding rhythmic drives, the SAMLAS crafted this debut completely with no guitar sounds at all, another attribute that they shared with their Dutch brethren Supersister but only on this first album. Guitars would become a prominent feature as the band evolved however on this one it's the organ that is the star of the show followed by the bass lines that also include a bit of piano and a subordinate percussive section in the form of drums and congas.

For the most part this is an instrumental journey that mixes the disparate musical elements of 60s psychedelic rock, turn of the decade Canterbury jazz and the silly Zappa-esque avant-prog experiments. The opening "Circus Apparatha" is the most blatant example of the band's career long fascination with carnival music and circus jingles but the vibe remains all throughout the album even when this quartet drifts off into long freeform jamming sessions. Vocals are sparse but when they occur they maximize the Canterbury whimsy and avant-prog absurdities to the n-th degree. The opener contains fairly nonsensical lyrics with some exaggerated German lyrics thrown in whereas elsewhere vocals are primarily used to lighten up the otherwise serious virtuosic musical constructs.

Musically speaking this album is all over the place in many ways. While the first track is steeped in circus music that screams out that the show has come to town, the Canterbury sounds immediately replace the festival and as time goes on psychedelic jams and even some 60s garage band sounds can be heard. The congas at times bring some Santana-esque Latin rhythms to the forefront but without any guitars to wail away, it sometimes sounds a little lacking. "Manna Jamma" is more akin to early Krautrock similar to what bands like Xhol Caravan were crafting around the time. While the later albums would really delve into the more avant-garde experimental world of progressive rock, this SAMLA MAMMAS MANNA debut is actually quite accessible much as the earliest Soft Machine albums were before the band went for the avant-fusion jugular.

This album really sounds like no other even within the greater SAMLAS discography. While recognizably the SAMLAS, this one is missing the guitar heft that Coste Apetrea would bring to the table on "Måltid" and the effect sounds like a more stripped down crude refinement of the more familiar albums that followed. Nevertheless, despite this not measuring up to some of the later works, this is a dynamically unique sounding album that shape shifts throughout its run and keeps the party churning on as the circus show unfolds. While the most 'normal' of the SAMLAS canon, this is by no means a simple rock album. There are many adventurous journeys not only into the absurd but these tracks also contain healthy doses of off-kilter time signatures and unorthodox fusions of disparate sounds. This is a compelling listen for sure and while the band would improve in virtually ever aspect of their sound on the sophomore release, this is by no means a throw away debut. On the contrary this may be required to actually understand how all the craziness came to be!

Latest members reviews

3 stars Samla Mammas Manna's first record, made 1971, is partly very good and gives a wink of how good they were going to be. This was though far from the magificent sound of Snorungarnas symfoni or Knossa knapitatet. On this record there is no Costa Apetrea, they actually didn't have a guitarist. Lar ... (read more)

Report this review (#970196) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Sunday, June 2, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I love the piano and drums. I am not entirely invoked by these albums, but the music is good. Furthermore, as far as RIO goes, you could probably put this in when your friends visit. They will ask you if it's Zappa, and since most of your friends like Zappa, it's ok. Still, it is really hard ... (read more)

Report this review (#163157) | Posted by kabright | Tuesday, March 4, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars VERY HARD TO FIND THE LP. I spent years looking for it. The story of lars Hollmer's band is here. Inside the tracks you can find the immense knowledge and the crativity of the swedish group. It's definitely not a debut album but their masterpiece. Try to find another similar band at the same t ... (read more)

Report this review (#112806) | Posted by bellatalla | Tuesday, February 20, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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