Samla Mammas Manna was a prog rock band that was active during the 1970s and later that seems to have been Sweden’s closest approximation to Frank Zappa. Samla Mammas Manna was musically accomplished and willing to wander all over the map into outright experimentation, and they were also quite funny, a bit like how Zappa was funny. Samla Mammas Manna maybe brought a little less edge to its humor than Zappa did. They were highly adventurous musicians of an exacting and exuberant nature.
The phrase “Samla Mammas Manna” is Swedish for “Collect Mama’s manna” and undoubtedly was chosen for its mellifluous ring, it’s something akin to a tongue-twister. According to François Couture, SMM’s second album Måltid (“Mealtime”) combined “free improvisation, Scandinavian folklore, progressive rock motifs, and Amon Düül II-like short songs.” Doesn’t that sound tasty?
In the late 1970s Samla Mammas Manna was one of the founding partcipants in the Rock in Opposition (RIO) movement, which was very influential throughout Europe. In 1979 SMM signed up to be Fred Frith’s backing band on his first solo album following the breakup of Henry Cow, 1980’s Gravity.
In this clip, the year is 1974. The members of the band amiably answer a few questions from the noted guitarist Stefan Grossman before breaking into a phenomenal rendition of material off of SMM’s third album Klossa Knapitatet, which was a new album that year. Judging from the comments on the YouTube thread, Swedes are very familiar with this band.
If nothing else, Samla Mammas Manna had one of the most entertaining drummers it’s ever been my pleasure to watch. The creativity and joy on display here are positively infectious.
Should this clip appeal to you, I promise you there is much more of the same on the studio albums.