Devastating news from Swiss folk Metal institution Eluveitie who have just announced the departure of Merlin Sutter (drums), Anna Murphy (hurdy-gurdy and vocals) and Ivo Henzi (guitar). This comes after the departure of Patrick Kistler (tin and low whistles, bagpipe) last year.
The final show that Merlin, Anna and Ivo will play will be the Fortarock Festival in Nijmegen, Holland on 5th June but the band will play all confirmed future shows with stand-in-musicians until new members are confirmed.
Eluveitie have twenty-three gigs booked after Nijmegen in nine different countries. Finding a replacement hurdy-gurdy player is going to be a massive headache for Eluveitie but Stephan Groth from German Pagan folk Metallers Faun and Anna Kränzlein from German medieval folk rockers Schandmaul are names that immediately spring to mind.
Ritchie Blackmore sometimes plays a hurdy-gurdy with Blackmore’s Night, as seen on their concert DVD ‘Paris Moon’ but he is almost certainly a non-starter to replace Anna, as is Jimmy Page who can be seen playing a hurdy-gurdy in the Zeppelin movie ‘The Song Remains The Same’. Page and Plant are also seen using a hurdy-gurdy in a 1994 recording of ‘Gallows Pole’.
Jennifer Van der Harten-Evans from Pagan folk band Omnia is a far more likely contender as she plays the hurdy-gurdy on many tracks on their 2006 album ‘Pagan Folk’.
The band have just released this official statement: “With a heavy heart we have to announce that Eluveitie will go through another change soon. We have decided to part ways with our longtime drummer Merlin Sutter.
“In the consequence of this, Merlin’s close personal friends Anna Murphy and Ivo Henzi decided to leave Eluveitie as well.
“We all developed a lot over the last ten years – not only as a band, but also as individuals. And we partly developed in different directions; different goals, wishes and ideas emerged. Over the last years we all had to deal with interpersonal challenges within the band. Instead of pulling together, our days have rather been shaped by wearing friction and constant clash of interests.
“And thus we felt that we have become something we shouldn’t have; that we’ve diverged from what Eluveitie was always meant to be – a band, a family, a passionate and deep-rooted group of musicians, where heart’s blood can flow freely!
Anna Murphy. Lucky that Heavy Metal hurdy-gurdy players are in plentiful supply…
“Eluveitie was always meant to be about ‘rock’n’roll’, passion and also about ‘carrying the torch’ of the Celtic spirit. Yet over the years we have partly diverged from our roots, which is not good. Each and every single one of us is definitely a passionate musician. But in this group constellation, we seemed to rather cumber, than to inspire each other.
“The band has suffered from this for a longer time now. So we ended up in this painful situation where the mentioned facts have made it impossible to us to continue like this and we came to the point eventually, where we believe, it’s best to go separate ways.
“It was a terribly hard decision to make and it hasn’t been done carelessly, but with tears and a heavy heart. We know that this is tough to handle – for everybody. And we know it sucks badly that things developed this way.
“Above the fact that this is hard to handle personally and emotionally, we are painfully aware of how much it also must disappoint you, our fans… which makes it even harder.
“We do not part from each other in hatred though. From our hearts we wish Merlin, Anna and Ivo only the very best for their future ways and also all the best of luck and success for all their further musical projects. For we’re sure their musical journey will go on and it will be great. And maybe our ways will even cross again in future, in a different way.
Merlin Sutter. A wizard of a drummer…
“For us in Eluveitie this now also means a lot to deal with.
“We do not want to look at it as yet another line-up change!
“For us it means to seclude ourselves for a while, to take the inward turn and to recollect. We will go back to our roots and become again what we once have been.
“We will still play the next couple of shows together with Merlin, Anna and Ivo. Their last performance with Eluveitie will be the Fortarock Festival in Nijmegen (NL) on 5th June. So you should grab your chance and come to one of these shows!
“After that we will not leave you, our fans, hanging. We promise you to play every single show we have confirmed so far! We will perform with temporary stand-in musicians until our new line-up is ready and we promise to do everything to find the best possible session musicians we can!
“There won’t be ‘replacements’ – Merlin, Anna and Ivo are unique and not replaceable. Yet we will come on stage with a very strong live line-up – this is a promise.”
“Today became history, history became legend,
And fell into oblivion,
Yet nothing vanishes without a trace,
Everything that is sprang from what was.”
‘Nothing’ from ‘Origins’, 2014
Click here for our review of Eluveitie’s gig in London in November 2014.
07.05.2016 Switzerland Biel Das Zelt, Expo-Park Nidau
13.05.2016 China Shanghai QSW Culture Center
14.05.2016 China Beijing Tango Club
15.05.2016 China Guangzhou T:Union
17.05.2016 Australia Perth The Capitol
19.05.2016 Australia Brisbane The Zoo
20.05.2016 Australia Sydney Manning Bar
21.05.2016 Australia Melbourne Max Watts
22.05.2016 Australia Adelaide The Gov
24.05.2016 Singapore Singapore Scape
26.05.2016 Bangladesh Dhaka ICCB Hall 4
28.05.2016 Taiwan Taipei Jack Live Studio
03.06.2016 Switzerland Basel Das Zelt, Rosentalanlage
04.06.2016 Romania Bucharest Metalhead Meeting
05.06.2016 Netherlands Nijmegen Fortarock
(Anna, Merlin and Ivo’s final show)
08.06.2016 Germany Gossnitz Gossnitz Open Air
10.06.2016 Germany Sankt Goarshausen Rockfels Festival
23.06.2016 Hungary Balatonszemes Rockpart Festival
24.06.2016 Germany Abenberg Feuertanz Festival
02.07.2016 Switzerland Winterthur Das Zelt, Wiesendangen
16.07.2016 Czech Republic Vizovice Masters Of Rock Festival
29.07.2016 France Albi X-treme Fest
04.08.2016 Germany Wacken Wacken Open Air
12.08.2016 Spain Villena Leyendas Del Rock Festival
21.08.2016 Poland Cieszanow Cieszanow Rock Festival
27.08.2016 Turkey Istanbul Headbangers’ Weekend
23.09.2016 Switzerland Brig Das Zelt, Rhonesandterrain
07.10.2016 Switzerland Solothurn Das Zelt, Pier 11
05.11.2016 Switzerland Luzern Das Zelt, Alpenquai
23.11.2016 Austria St. Polten Mittelalterspektakel
16.12.2016 Germany Giessen Hessenhallen
17.12.2016 Germany Dresden Alter Schlachthof
22.12.2016 Germany Filderstadt Filharmonie
26.12.2016 Germany Bochum Ruhrcongress
27.12.2016 Germany Wurzburg Posthalle
28.12.2016 Germany Bielefeld Ringlokschuppen
29.12.2016 Germany Bremen Pier 2
30.12.2016 Germany Postdam Metropolishalle