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There aren't too many bands who truly don't sound like anyone else, but it's quite true of Tory Voodoo, even down to their name (which comes from the Celtic Island of Torai, and the voodoo, the cast of their sound). This is the folk of the 90's, where original compositions and songs from the tradition meet the electric sound of Robert Fripp and Bill Nelson. Between them, Arvid Smith and Lee Hunter create a swirling tapestry of music that's received critical acclaim across the U.S. and Europe.
Innovative guitarist, Arvid, provides the acoustic and electric fretwork, using loops and effects to create the sonic backdrop for Lee's clear voice and percussion. Together, they create something with magical power and force, that is both grounded in the past and looking firmly towards the future.
It is a combination that Dirty Linen Magazine called "both enjoyable and challenging," and Out N' About deemed "the most intriguing mix of electric and acoustic instruments pure folk may have ever experienced. . . that still shows complete respect for the purity of the original music."
Over the course of two albums, 1995's Roll Down Thy Window and now with Third Weeks a 'lightnin', Tory Voodoo have grown and expanded their vision. The song - be it original or traditional - remains the focus, but they take it to places it had ever imagined, a journey that captivates and pulls the listener along.
The collaboration that would become Tory Voodoo began eight years ago when Arvid Smith, already a widely respected player with an instructional book to his credit, met Lee Hunter, a classically trained percussionist. Realizing they both loved folk and world music in its many forms, they began working together on a number of projects. From there, it was just a short step to exploring the possibilities as a duo, and the band was born. Since then they've played all over the eastern United States, opened shows for artists as diverse as The Band and Rory Bock, and been honored by Florida's Jam Magazine as Best Duo of 1995.
Things really kicked into high gear when Folk Roots, Europe's premier folk and world music magazine, raved about the self-released Roll Down Thy Window, including the track All Our Trades Are Gone on their Froots #6 compilation CD. The album was also featured on the BBC World Service, and The Rocket, located in the damp Pacific Northwest, stated bluntly, "You need this album."
The torrent of praise led to the contract with Louisiana's Binky label, and the release of Third Weeks a 'lightnin' in December 1996. It is a record that takes Tory Voodoo's ideas one step further. Lee's voice has never sounded clearer or stronger, and Arivd pulls out all the stops to bring something fresh to the music. If you think all folk music sounds the same, you just simply haven't heard Tory Voodoo.
Misunderstandings about their band name led to a change in 1998; Tory Voodoo became Tammerlin. The duo continued their rigorous touring schedule and expanded their base as festivals began to embrace their innovative approach.