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Ingrid Karklins

Country of origin:


Type of music generally:

Somewhat experimental evocative/eclectic Latvian traditional folk-flavoured pop-rock, beautiful and fierce.


Most recent album, Red Hand (1997).

See also:

There's very little info remaining about her on the web. Here's her All Music page


She's totally individual. (Neile)

Laurie Anderson falls down a manhole in Riga, and Ingrid Karklins emerges. Wow. (

Another totally unique artist, I can't really conjure up a comparison. Sometimes touches of Laurie Anderson and Danielle Dax. (

Covers/own material:

Own material, occasional traditional songs

General comments:

Ingrid Karklins is from Austin Texas, and her music is anchored in the her Latvian ancestry. Several of the songs on her albums are sung in Latvian, or a combination of Latvian and English. I would find it hard to compare her to any one artist, but at times I sense a combination of Laurie Anderson and Danielle Dax emerging from her music. That's part of my fascination with her, as they are among my favorite artists. However, Ingrid is a unique gifted artist that is charting new and unexplored areas of music creativity.
     To say Ingrid is unique is a gross understatement; I can only set aside a special category for her alone. Her musical foundation is broad, but not based on the common ground of western pop music. I think she is some sort of manifestation of Perkon, the thunder god (introduced to me thru "Kas Dimd"): dark, unpredictable, exciting, scary, and very powerful. Her music brings out all those elements in me, that's why my favorite listening scenarios are cold wet and stormy. Even when it's sunny out side, just closing my eyes while listening to Ingrid's music summons the thundering of Perkon. (

The music is a unique combination of elements from Ingrid Karklins' Latvian background and experimental rock. Powerful but melodic. Sometimes her music is like being caught in a thunderstorm—that elemental sense of the world and power you can't quite trust to be kind to you even if the rain is warm and a relief. It's still electricity in the air and a deluge and that uneasy connection between what is fundamentally unhuman (the sky, the storm, the grass) and what is essentially human. (Neile)

I'd be surprised if everyone liked Ingrid's music, but I wouldn't feel bad recommending it to anyone anyway, just because it is so heartfelt and alive. Her sound is pretty unique—a touch of world music, some atmospheric Peter Gabriel-type sounds, some almost folky, touching piano numbers, vocal layering, and amazing thrumming and frolicking drum 'n' bass. (neal)

Recommended first album:

All are wonderful. (Neile)

Recordings include:

A Darker Passion

Release info:

1992—Green Linnet Records—GLCD 1118


Wide in the U.S. in stores that carry independent releases

Ecto priority:

Very high for those who love experimental, passionate folk-flavoured rock.

Group Members:

Ingrid Karklins—vocals, keyboards, pianos, kokle, violins, rattle, rebec, whistles, hand claps, chaos

Guest artists:

Steve Bernal—fretless bass
Malford Milligan—vocals, hand claps, chaos
Thor—electric and acoustic drums, percussion, balafon, talking drum, conga,Thorfon, tube drum, tambourine, trideksnis, hand claps, chaos
Susan Voelz—violin
Mark Williams—electric cellos, vocal, fretless basses, acoustic baritone bass
Rudoph Lege—saxophone, racket
Zebran O. Williams—vocal, drums (chaos)
Craig Ross—guitar, hand claps, chaos
Arkadelphia—hand claps
Mark Barnett-guitar
John Hagen—cello
Heather Moore—viola

Produced by:

Ingrid Karklins and Stuart Sullivan


It's brilliant! It's really hard to categorize, although Meredith's description of Laurie Anderson in Riga was pretty good. If you don't have it, go and get it! (

This is a stunning collection with enough disparate elements to interest nearly everyone. It's the kind of music where you hear more each time you listen to it. (Neile)

Anima Mundi

Release info:

1994—Green Linnet Records—GLCD 1141


Wide in the U.S. in stores that carry independent releases

Ecto priority:

Very high for those who love experimental, passionate folk-flavoured rock.

Group members:

Ingrid Karklins—vocals, keyboard, train whistle, kokle, rebec, Farfisa, violins, whistle, niliov, wine glasses, rattle

Guest artists:

Arkadelphian—alarm clock
Steve Bernal—basses
Craig #7—guitar, banshee wails
Chris Searles—drumset, thumb piano, floor tom choir, straw shaker, Azizagong, windchimes, bottle caps, jangle tree, sand blocks, berimbau, djembes, finger cymbals, dumbek, vibraslap, bass drum, tambourine, surdo, Thortruckmirror, kickdrum, lid, guiro, orchestra bells, rainstick, woodblock, bongos, clay bongos, malleted drums, finger bell, Native American drum, wind gong, snare drum
Mike Barnett—bodran, voice, hurdy gurdy
Malford Milligan—voice
John Hagen—cellos
Heather Moore—violas
Susan Voelz—violins

Produced by:

Ingrid Karklins and Stuart Sullivan, with Chris Searles and Steve Bernal


This one sounds an awful lot like A Darker Passion, but there are hints of some new things as well. I especially love the Latvian songs. This albums continues with the mix of traditional Latvian songs and Karklins originals. It also includes a full version of "Hiro" which we only heard part of on the previous album. Over all, I like it. She's not really doing anything new, but the traditional songs are still as beautiful as ever and her originals are always fascinating and slightly Laurie Anderson-esque. Check her out if you haven't heard her before. You won't be disappointed with either album. (

Though this album is a lot more processed and just a little bit less defiantly original than A Darker Passion, I still really like it. It's funny, though, at first it didn't immediately demand to be played the way A Darker Passion did, but has grown on me slowly as time has gone on. A sneaky powerhouse. (Neile)

I really don't understand why this album didn't receive more attention when it was released. I have mixed feelings about A Darker Passion, which has some brilliant moments and some not-so-brilliant. On Anima Mundi, I think Ingrid has found her stride, and found the means to integrate the two sides of her musical split personality. This album simply blows away her first release, and I highly recommend it. (

Karklins takes a bizarre array of influences—Latvian folk music, African percussion, Laurie Anderson, progressive jazz, Kate Bush—and weaves them together in a dense, seamless tapestry. Not as dark as, but still somehow heavier than, her A Darker Passion. (

In this album Ingrid Karklins uses many varied and exotic instruments that add a wonderful array of unusual sounds throughout the recording. "Kas Dimd" is a piece sung in Latvian about Perkons, the thundergod (that's what the liner notes say) that is a great example of the power of her music. The instrumentation, especially the combination of surdo, rainstick, and drumset as a backdrop to the haunting vocals transports you to some magical surrealistic meeting with the thunder gods. Every selection in this work is a unique musical adventure crafted and brought to life by Ingrid and the other fine contributing musicians. I think Ingrid will be making ecto quality music for many years to come. (

Red Hand

Ingrid Karklins & Backbone

Release info:

1997—Willow Music,500 Terrace Dr., Austin, TX 78704-4343, U.S.A.


Currently only available by mail order

Ecto priority:

Highly, highly recommended

Group members:

Ingrid Karklins—voice, piano, keyboards, kokle, violin, blue tube
Steve Bernal—bass, blue tube, drums & percussion
Craig No. 7—guitars, spark plug wrench
Thor—drums & percussion

Produced by:

Ingrid Karklins & Stuart Sullivan


A highly individual effort: a construct of passion, both of affection and anger. This is power without bombast—sonic richness and simplicity and density and clarity all at once. And of course Ingrid's voice and sensibility. An album that forces you to listen. To get involved. This is Ingrid Karklin's The Dreaming: a stunningly powerful, musically rich, and highly evocative album that demands attention from the listener. Markedly individual and beautiful, the album is as carefully wrought as the hand-designed packaging it comes in. This is an album not to be missed. Simple, yet rich with mystery. Passionate, yet with a clarity of vision. A masterwork. (Neile)

Red Hand is one of the best things I have ever heard. And It's lush yet sparse, moving, intelligent, beautiful, and just plain *good*. (For the Nick Drake fans, there's an inspired cover of "Know" near the end.) This is a disc that I'm going to be discovering for a long time. (I *like* the bass. :) The range of emotions here is stunning. It pulls you in and refuses to let go. And that's not even talking about the 100% individually hand-made packaging! It wins every packaging award I'd like to create for the purpose. :) This is Ingrid sharing a bit of herself with us, and I consider myself quite lucky to be along for the ride. (

I was very impressed with the packaging. The album itself is really good too. The first time I heard it, I was a little turned off by the overwhelming, rather ponderous use of the bass, but on subsequent listens, it didn't bothered me nearly as much (I also turned off the "Super Bass" on my amp), and I've been able to focus on all the other interesting stuff going on in the songs. Ingrid's voice is in fine form, and I was really struck by her sounding like Laurie Anderson—especially on her spoken word parts. I went back and listened to Anima Mundi and noticed the same thing there, though I hadn't noticed it before. Anyway, definitely an album worth checking out. Much less "folky" than her previous work, and more experimental. Probably not for everybody, but worth checking out. (

I was really struck by the bass on the album too. In fact, it was the first thing I noticed, as it kept slapping me around for the first 15 minutes of the album. But I like that sort of thing :) (neal)

overwhelming, perhaps, but i'm perplexed by your ponderous comment. steve bernal's style is about the most liquid bass-playing i've ever heard—it's so fluid, flowing and twisting between the piano and drums. yes, it's the most upfront instrument on the recording, but certainly not ponderous! (

The packaging is really really cool and the music is wonderful. I like the bass—it kind of reminds me of Jaco Pastorius at the end of his life (like on Joni Mitchell's Shadows and Light). (

Since A Darker Passion and Anima Mundi, my expectations of Ingrid's music are of the highest standards, and Red Hand even surpasses those lofty benchmarks. (

This is old news to others who have been listening to her for years, but I have to mention Ingrid Karklins, Red Hand in particular. I cannot get tired of this one! (

Very nice packaging and music.... (

Thanks to Jens P. Tagore Brage for work on this entry.

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