Jens Carelius has announced a brand new album entitled “Opsi” that will be released in September 2019 on Jansen Records. The album is named after his great-great-grandfather Fritz “Opsi” Doerries, the entomologist, and was inspired by his travels through Eastern Siberia in the late 1800s.
Many of us grew up listening to the supposedly enthralling stories and achievements of old or departed relatives, whether they are entirely true is another matter, but stories are always handed down and interpreted by each generation. Few can compare to the tales of Jens Carelius’ great-great-grandfather Fritz Doerries that he learnt of and neither can they compare their interpretations of these stories to Carelius’.
At 25 years old, Fritz “Opsi” Doerries left his hometown of Hamburg to experience a world completely different to his own, in the lands of Eastern Siberia. Doerries spent over 25 years in Siberia and his diary served to illustrate the wonders of nature in a breath-taking way to a young Carelius. In 2019, Jens Carelius will release his interpretation of the stories found within the diary as his new album “Opsi”.
An entomologist by trade, Doerries documented over 50,000 specimens of fascinating butterflies – many of them never-before-studied. His findings can today be found in museums all over the world and he even has a species of pygmy woodpecker named after him as it was first discovered in Siberia. He died at 101 years old, and left a diary chronicling, among other things, his hazardous oceanic voyages, the crossing of Japan by foot, surviving ice cold and merciless winters, but also endlessly beautiful summers.
Along with Lars Horntveth (who is perhaps best known for his work in founding the group Jaga Jazzist), Jens Carelius has created a thrilling soundtrack to his great-great-grandfather’s tales. Introductory track “Lay Me Down” is a startling opener with a romantic twist, Carelius has explained that, “During Opsi’s 22 years in Siberia, he had several visits to Germany, and the diary reveals details of a hidden love story that I’ve chosen to explore in this song. When you really miss someone, you forget about any trouble, pride, and drama that being with them stirs up. You just want that person and that love to be there, even though you know the ordeal it could bring.”
Carelius’ 12-string guitar and unique finger picking perfectly echoes the feeling of travel and movement – which are recurring themes in his music anyway. This, combined with the experimental talent of Horntveth, leaves an album that is part epic journey movie OST and part family history, with everything down to the individual lyrics based on the fascinating life of Fritz “Opsi” Doerries and his diary.