Sinikka Langeland and Jaga Jazzist, Royal Festival Hall, London — a show of ice and fire

A contrast in styles at this all-Norwegian EFG London Jazz Festival concert
Financial Times David Honigmann

It was a show of ice and fire: medieval-tinged folk-jazz from Sinikka Langeland and an all-star ensemble, followed by genre-spanning electronic big-band noise from Jaga Jazzist. Appropriately for a country whose state broadcaster made a seven-hour programme about a train journey, the evening lasted three hours, pushing right to the limits of the venue’s permitted time. Langeland was joined by a host of ECM labelmates: Trio Medieval on vocals, Arve Henriksen on trumpet, Trygve Seim on saxophones, Markku Ounaskari on drums and Mats Eilertsen on double bass. Langeland plays the kantele, a flat zither with night-sky sparkle. Her set replicated her recent album The Magical Forest, which draws a northern arc from the depths of Norway to the Ainu of northern Japan. The songs tapped into deep reservoirs of the uncanny, starting with a prayer to the tree goddess, the trio singing slow upward harmonies, Seim breathing into his tenor like a panting woodland monster, Henriksen angelic. There was a wolfman; woman-birds flew around the world-pillar; Jacob witnessed the angels, the kantele a filigree ladder up to the heavens. Introducing “Kamui”, Langeland outlined the Ainu custom of raising a bear cub that is then “tortured to death” as a sacrifice; the audience were silent, unsure how to react. For the song she bowed the kantele, producing an anxious growl. Best of all was “Karsikko”, a meditation on grief, Langeland singing the hymn-like melody as a duet with Henriksen, Eilertsen arriving just at the end to underscore the lament.

JAGA JAZZIST + SINIKKA LANGELAND | London, Royal Festival Hall

REVIEW: On the closing night of this anniversary@LondonJazzFest to see the  filled with such a broad range of people unified by a love of such eclectic music is to see the festival at its multifarious best @jagajazzist @sinikkala https://wp.me/p4xzQr-Wg 

JAGA JAZZIST + SINIKKA LANGELAND | London, Royal Festival Hall

The 25th edition of the EFG London Jazz Festival drew to a multi-coloured, light-pulsing close at the Royal Festival Hall as two halves of contrasting but majestic Norwegian music lit up the Southb…

theprickle.org

The 25th edition of the EFG London Jazz Festival drew to a multi-coloured, light-pulsing close at the Royal Festival Hall as two halves of contrasting but majestic Norwegian music lit up the Southbank.

Sitting centre stage, Sinikka Langeland was a beacon of scarlet who quickly cast a spell over the hall. Singing while tickling and tapping the kantele (a zither-like instrument), Sinikka’s music has the universally-respected ECM stamp of authenticity and her varied approaches to folk songs quickly demonstrated why. There is a ponderous darkness to her music and the icy voices of Trio Mediaeval added a prophetic dimension to her rather peculiar tales. Heard the one about the bear being sacrificed in a forest who awakes into an outer-body experience, watching its own bear carcass on an alter from a tree? Although not exactly ‘Goldilocks’ Sinikka’s power of communication and gift for arranging created a liminal atmosphere where these songs could sparkle in the air.

Sinikka Langeland “The Magical Forest” automn tour – at London Jazzfestival

GIGS
JAZZ & BLUES

Jaga Jazzist + Sinikka Langeland

Part of EFG London Jazz FestivalSee the UK live premiere of Sinikka Langeland’s new record, The Magical Forest along with music from Jaga Jazzist, in this double-bill concert.

Sinikka Langeland is joined by a stellar ensemble of instrumental soloists Arve Henriksen and Trygve Seim, along with the voices of Trio Mediaeval.

Performing opposite them is Jaga Jazzist, playing music that melds jazz, rock, hip-hop, reggae, polka, electronic, classical and choral genres together to become a musical law unto themselves.

Jazz and improvised music from northern Europe has made a worldwide impact over the past half century. This year’s EFG London Jazz Festival comes together with our Nordic Matters programme, to create a varied all-day event, featuring landmark artists from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. More details on this programme to come.

Sinikka Sommer i P2 NRK torsdag 20.juli

Det var veldig fint å få lage Sommer i P2 program.
Jeg forteller om min vei inn i musikken og historier fra
barndommen i Solør m.m. + at jeg har fått velge musikk… Velkommen til å høre!

Det sendes på NRK P2 torsdag 20 juli kl 10 og kl 23 og i reprise fredag 21. juli kl. 14.

I tillegg kan det høres i NRKs radiospiller her: https://radio.nrk.no/serie/sommer-i-p2

Og lastes ned som podkast her: https://www.nrk.no/podkast/

Den 20.juli spiller jeg også “The Magical Forest” på Molde Jazzfestival.Sinikka Langeland 1-1

Sinikka Langeland Ensemble “The Magical Forest” TOUR 2017

SINIKKA LANGELAND ENSEMBLE  & TRIO MEDIÆVAL

THE MAGICAL FOREST

TOUR  2017

The colours of The Magical Forest glow in this remarkable recording which brings together Sinikka Langeland’s Norwegian-Finnish-Swedish Starflowers quintet with the singers of the Trio Mediӕval. It’s an inspired concept: the Trio Mediӕval, with their affinity for folk music and their unique vocal blend, adapt themselves ideally to Sinikka’s sound-world, which is once archaic, timeless and contemporary. The quintet members, all bandleaders in their own right, are amongst the most characterful players in Scandinavia today, and Sinikka sets them free to improvise around her cycle of songs, built upon myths and legends of the world tree.

Photo: Lasse Brown

14677363_997470133696960_5035495159060496384_n

Thom Jurek, All Music

ECM news

A US reaction to Sinikka Langeland’s new recording

The Magical Forest

Perhaps the most endearing quality of The Magical Forest, its center, so to speak, is Langeland’s kantele playing. Her Finnish table harp bridges jazz improvisation and folk song in ‘Beaver,’ and illustrates the reach of Finnskogen from Western Europe to its outlying connections in Siberia and even Japan in ‘Kamu,’ and underscores the inseparable relationship in this music between vocalists and instrumentalists on ‘Pillar to Heaven.’ Langeland takes chances on The Magical Forest. She allows improvisers a greater degree of freedom. In turn, they extend the reach of her songs from the historical past to the present without erasing their folklore. By involving Trio Medieval, she invites a more fluid yet constant relationship between the physical and metaphysical. Together they illustrate the universal aspects of Finnskogen culture in global symbolism and myth.
Thom Jurek, All Music

og bakom synger skogene PLATE: Albumets tone har dype røtter, men synger for vår tid. AV: ARILD R. ANDERSEN

 

Sinikka Langeland_the magical forest

PLATEANMELDELSE

 

Hun er avbildet i skogen med kantelen sin. Så er det også slik at trærne har en sentral plass i tekstene på Sinikka Langelands «The Magical Forest». Kantelen er det finske nasjonalinstrumentet, og Finnskogen har vært Langelands hjemplass siden 1992. På tidligere plater har hun benyttet tekster av Han Børli, Edith Södergran og Olav H. Hauge. I sangsyklusen på dette nye albumet går Langeland til eldre tekstmateriale og oppsøker myter og legender. Lydene fra skogen og regionens historie er integrert i Sinikka Langelands arbeid. Man kan forstå det slik at hun vil formidle skogmagi og la århundrenes tro og folklore spille med i musikken. Til å hjelpe seg har hun Trio Mediaeval og en storvokst kvartett. Som vokalist er Langeland forankret i folkemusikken, og hun er kjent for å mestre både kveding og runesang. «The Magical Forest» faller inn i en tradisjon både Jan Garbarek og Arild Andersen har vært viktige formgivere for, men Langeland-oktetten tråkker opp noen egne stier.  –Gode tre, Guds reine skapning, spire fødd tå Moder jord, du som vekste opp i lykke! Det skal spirituelle musikalske krefter til for å bære slike tekstfragmenter. Det lykkelige er at disse utøverne klarer det. Selve anslaget med dump perkusjon og det som må være besjelet kantele, formidler både undring og snev av mystikk. Anders Jormins bass er mild og vakker som markblomsten, og Trio Mediaeval tar sangen inn i et åndelig rom. Det låter vakkert uten å forsøples av føleri. På «Sammas» kommer Trygve Seim og Arve Henriksen inn med myk innlevelse og underbygger det som er grunntonen på «The Magical Forest». De to blåser inderlighet inn i «Jacob´s Dream». Seims tenorsaksofon har myrtone, og Henriksens trompet tegner landskapet. Det jeg kan savne i musikken, er en råskap og et pådrag som kunne ha avspeilet andre sider av skogmagien. «The Magical Forest» er ikke ensformig, men den har en tydelighet som hadde tålt å bli løsnet på. Tittelsporet inneholder mye billedskapende og vemodsvakkert spill fra saksofon og trompet. Det står på helt egne bein, samtidig som det underbygger Sinikka Langelands idé. På «Kamui» bygger de et tema som blir i overkant sukret. Det er Langelands overbevisende vokal som bærer denne sangen. Den uakkompagnerte stemmen hennes i «Karsikko» er også god å lytte til, men den vill ha truffet meg sterkere med en noe tørrere produksjon, noe mindre klang. Musikken på «The Magical Forest» er gjennomgående lettfattelig og innholdsrik. Jeg opplever albumet som det sterkeste fra Sinikka Langeland så langt. Kantelen er integrert på en smidigere måte enn før, og de åtte musikerne beveger seg balansert og krystallklart. Det er krevende å ta tak i gammel form og tradisjonelle mønstre og kombinere ivaretakelse med fornyelse. «The Magical Forest» har et eget sus og en egen sang.

Arild R. Andersen

Sjamanistanes inntogsmarsj Dag og Tid 12. aug LARS MOSSEFINN

Sjamanistanes inntogsmarsj

 Dag og Tid 12. aug side 32245 ordForfatter: LARS MOSSEFINN Lars Mossefinn er frilans kulturarbeidar og fast jazzmeldar Dag og Tid
Livet på Finnskogen er magisk, i alle fall med Sinikka Langeland som vegvisar.
Sinikka Langeland held fram med å henta fram og la seg inspirera av folkemusikktradisjonen frå Finnskogen. Dette arbeidet og denne fasinasjonen har prega Langeland i mest ein mannsalder. Her har ho med seg ensemblet frå første ECM-utgjevinga Starflowers (2007) og plata frå 2011 med Edith Södergrantekstar, The Land That Is Not.

Denne konstellasjonen har utvikla eit kollektivt uttrykk som sameinar det tradisjonelle og moderne. Dei vekslar om å vera i framgrunnen, men oftast ikkje i ein klassisk solist/kompkontekst. I denne konteksten føyer Trio Mediaeval seg inn som det mest naturlege som tenkjast kan. Klangen frå vokaltrioen står fint til den særmerkte røysta til Langeland og er med på å streka under kvaliteten i ein del av tekstane («Jacob’s Dream»). I andre samanhengar («Køyri») inngår trioen i det samla ensembleuttrykket. Tekstane, anten det er Langelands eigne eller tradisjonsstoff, blandar eller stiller opp mot einannan den sjamanistiske tradisjonen ein finn i runesongane og ein tidleg kristen salmetradisjon. Det som kunne ha vore banale mytologiske anekdotar, går med den musikalske handsaminga gjennom ein allegorisk transformasjon som gjer at ein tur i Langelands magiske skog blir opplevd som særs meiningsfull.FOLKEMUSIKK SINIKKA LANGELAND:

The Magical Forest SINIKKA LANGELAND, VOKAL OG KANTELE, ARVE HENRIKSEN, TROMPET, TRYGVE SEIM, SAKSOFONAR, ANDERS JORMIN, BASS OG MARKKU OUNASKARI, TROMMER, TRIO MEDIAEVAL, VOKAL. ECM 2448

Bildetekst:
- Sinikka Langeland har late seg inspirera av folkemusikktradisjonen frå Finnskogen i mest ein mannsalder

Sterkt fra skoga 10.08.2016 Tor Hammerø

 

Sterkt fra skoga

10.08.2016 | Tor Hammerø

Sinikka Langeland har lenge vist oss at hun har noe helt spesielt på hjertet. Her gjør hun det kanskje i sterkere grad enn noensinne med stjernehjelp fra noen av våre aller beste.

Sinikka Langeland (55) fra Grue på Finnskogen har i flere tiår vært en viktig og retningsgivende musikant med et tradisjonsrikt musikalsk fundament som ståsted. Hun har gått djupt inn i et musikalsk landskap, nesten bokstavelig talt, som har røtter i Finland, Russland, ja faktisk også Japan, og som har strukket seg til Finnskogen. Med sitt mesterskap på det finske nasjonalinstrumentet kantele, samt hennes unike runesang og kveding, har Langeland åpna ørene for dette vakre, sterke, men på sett og vis fremmede tonespråket for tusener verden rundt – mye med hjelp av ECM og Manfred Eicher som har gitt ut Langelands musikk de seineste åra.

På Finnskogutstillingen i 2012 blei Langelands bestillingsverk “Sammas – Himmelsøyle” urframført og litt seinere gjentatt på Oslo internasjonale kirkemusikkfestival. Nå får alle vi andre kloden rundt også anledning til å bli med på denne unike reisa der Langeland har skrevet all musikk og all tekst basert på fortellinger som har levd i flere hundre år – historier fra skoga må vite. Langeland har greid å bevare det ekte og inderlige fra det opprinnelige i uttrykket samtidig som hun har makta å flytte det inn i vår tid også.

Mye av årsaken til at resultatet har blitt så vakkert, inderlig og ikke minst tidløst, skal hennes håndplukka superlag ha mye av æren for. Arve Henriksen på trompet, svenske Anders Jormin på bass, finske Markku Ounaskari på trommer og Trygve Seim på tenor- og sopransaksofon samt vokalensemblet Trio Mediaeval med Anna Maria Friman, Linn Andrea Fuglseth og Berit Opheim. De har alle skjønt Langelands intensjoner med dette verket og lagt sjela si i å ta det dit og enda videre.

Sinikka Langeland har nok en gang skapt musikk hun er helt aleine om. Hun tar oss med til inderlige steder de aller færreste av oss har vært og jeg lover at det er steder det er herlig å oppholde seg på.

 

Sinikka Langeland

The Magical Forest

ECM/Grappa/Musikkoperatørene

What a beautiful noise: Sinikka Langeland and her kantele. The Guardian Dave Gelly Sunday 7 August 2016 08.00

 

 

sinikka LangelandWhat a beautiful noise: Sinikka Langeland and her kantele. Photograph: Morten Krogvold

Dave Gelly

Sunday 7 August 2016 08.00 BST

 

The combination of jazz and Scandinavian folk music, which the ECM label pioneered, is sometimes accused of being chilly and remote, but this is different. Sinikka Langeland plays a kind of tabletop harp, or zither, called a kantele, and its homely, plangent tones permeate the music. She accompanies herself singing songs based on myths and legends. The English translations in the booklet are almost as inscrutable as the original Finnish, although they sound beautiful. There are improvised duets for trumpet and tenor saxophone and sweet vocal harmonies by the Trio Mediaeval. A little of this may go a long way with some jazz lovers, but catch it at the right moment and it can grow on you.

Sinikka Langeland – The Magical Forest ECM 2448. by Henning Bolte, London Jazz Nrws

Finnish singer / kantele-player(*)  Sinikka Langeland’s latest album with her eight-piece ensemble is a wondrous instance of spiritually unfolding pure and deep musical sounds. In close connection/communion with her strongly dedicated fellow musicians Langeland gives shape to the ancient mystical image of Jacob’s ladder, truthfully and abundantly in all its facets and dimensions. In firm togetherness of their individual voices the musicians evoke and celebrate moments of shining as well as moments of feeling secured within inscrutable wideness.

 

Time and again these eight musicians bring about moments of sound which radiate like light,  and conjure up visions of buzzing illumination. The feeling of physical space goes together with elevating imaginations. The emergence of these particular qualities is due to a special alchemy of sound with continual inversions of high and low, dark and light, the vocal and the instrumental, deeply breathing pagan rhythm and vaporizing sound-streams.

 

It is neither ambient nor common song singing, it is a third entity arising from the distinguished interplay of these eight musicians: Sinikka Langeland, kantele  and vocals, Markku Ounaskari, drums, Anders Jormin, double bass, Trygve Seim, saxophone, Arve Henriksen, trumpet and Anna Maria Friman, Linn Andrea Fuglseth and Berit Opheim, the three voices of Trio Mediæval. Involving these three female voices here is a superb choice. These musicians have an extraordinarily well-developed organ for the orchestration of sound forces, sound temperatures and sound colours.

 

I was lucky to experience the first public performance of this music deep in the nightly wintry Finnskogen(**) forest, the forest that inspired and nurtured this music. It is a great pleasure to experience how these sounds born from and deeply connected to this forest environment have found their way into the artificial context of the recording studio, losing nothing if the concentration and pointedness they have in their original environment. It is a touching example of what art can do and accomplish with its own combination of intuition, engagement, focus and discipline. This manifestation is a magic door to something real outside and inside us.

 

The purely typographic album cover is a boon. It generously and fully leaves everything to the listener’s feeling and imagination. The music’s cyclical nature allows different routes through the album’s nine pieces/tracks. By accidental circumstances I departed from track five, which appeared to be the title piece. Its gripping, fascinating simple motif opens the floodgates of the imagination. As in nature, each sound has its own space in this music. It reveals itself to the audience by a wonderful polyphony of voice(s) in space. The singing and instrumental voices find each other confidentially in sound and soul in unprecedented way.

 

NOTES (*):The Finnish kantele is a clear and light sounding table harp. This kind of table harps are found in countries from Finland to Japan, in manifold variations and sizes.

 

 (**): Finnskogen is a deep forest area 130 km northeast of Oslo at the Swedish border where Langeland was born and still lives. This area was settled by Finnish migrants in the 17th century. The music is deeply rooted in the specially preserved and developed Finno musical culture of Finnskoge

 

 

On Thursday, August 04, 2016

Sinikka Langeland: The Magical Forest By JOHN KELMAN

Sinikka Langeland: The Magical Forest

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By JOHN KELMAN
Published: August 4, 2016
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Some pairings seem, in retrospect, to be made in heaven; so inevitable that it’s only when they actually take place that it becomes clear how predestined they were all along. Sinikka Langeland—a forward-thinking traditional singer and kantele(Finnish zither/dulcimer variant) champion garnering significant attention in her home country of Norway over the past two decades—has, since coming to ECM with 2007′sStarflowers, achieved even broader recognition for her somehow other-worldly, effortlessly beautiful music that is at once antiquated andtimeless. But beyond redefining her country’s traditional music by placing it in the context of an improvisation-heavy quintet that also features fellow Norwegians, trumpeterArve Henriksen and saxophonist Trygve Seim, Swedish double bassist Anders Jormin and Finnish drummer/percussionist Markku Ounaskari, Langeland is also known— both at home and abroad, thanks to ECM’s release of Maria’s Song, a 2009 collaboration with violist Lars Anders Tomter and church organist Kåre Nordstoga—for further pushing boundaries by placing religious Norwegian folk songs alongside organ variations by Johann Sebastian Bach.

In the ensuing years, Langeland has continued to work with what has become known as her Starflowers group on another superb recording, 2011′s The Land That Is Not,performed with a Henriksen-less quartet version of Starflowers at the 2013 Vossa Jazz Festival and, with the release of 2015′s The half-finished heaven, introduced a new quartet featuring Starflowers’ alumni Seim and Ounaskari, joined by Tomter and Langeland for music with a more decidedly instrumental focus, as well as greater expressive explorations of angular terrain than define the largely melodic Starflowers group’s purview.

Despite coming at its music from a different perspective, Trio Mediaeval has, nevertheless, developed a commonality with Langeland that might not have been clear from the Norwegian vocal trio’s beginnings around the turn of the millennium. The renowned a cappella group may have carved its initial fame as a vocal-only trio in the classical sphere, interpreting a far-reaching repertoire ranging from early music to 20th/21st century works by the likes of Gavin Bryars, but by the Norwegian vocal trio’s fourth album, the appropriately titled Folk Songs (ECM, 2007), it became clear that Trio Mediæval was moving, at least some of the time, into an arena not unlike that of Langeland’s, but where the folk tradition this time meets classical music from across the centuries—both artists interested in traditional Norwegian folk music, but from very different (but equally convincing) perspectives.

If that weren’t enough to clarify Trio Mediæval’s increased reach and gradual synchronicity with Langeland in intent if not approach, then its 2013 Vossa Jazz Festival performance as Trio Mediæval Ensemble most certainly did, with vocalists Anna Maria Friman and Linn Andrea Fuglseth introducing Hardanger Fiddle and portable organ, respectively, to the mix, along with the Melody Chimes that all three singers, including Berit Opheim Versto, had begun using as early as its winter, 2011 Toronto, Canada performance. Fleshed out to a quintet with the addition of Folk Songs‘ percussionist, Birger Mistereggen, and, in an equally inspired move, Nils Okland—one of Norway’s most important, profoundly expressive masters of the Hardanger fiddle, viola d’amore and other violin/viola-like instruments that also include a series of resonating strings below those played with bow or fingers—Trio Mediæval Ensemble’s complexion was both a subset of the core trio’s reach and, at the same time, a new, overarching approach that significantly expanded its textural palette.

With Langeland and Trio Mediæval Ensemble’s 2013 Vossa Jazz shows also positioned back-to- back in the program—and despite major differences in approach, specifically Starflowers’ heavy emphasis on improvisation versus TME’s more scripted (but still expressly interpretive) performance—the simpatico between the two concerts was hard to ignore. And so, while a further two years went by before Langeland invited both her Starflowers group and Trio Mediæval to Oslo’s Rainbow Studio to record The Magical Forest, in retrospect it seems like it was only a matter of time before these two groups came together to create an even richer blend of folk traditionalism, more expansive vocal arrangements and, as always, improvisation.

The truth is, however, a little different than how it might seem. Langeland’s desire to blend her Starflowers quintet with Trio Mediæval dates further back: to 2012, in fact, when Sammas- Himmelsøyle—the music of The Magical Forest—was performed, first at the Finnskogutstillingen festival in March 2012 (near where Langeland was born and continues to live) and again, a week later, at the co-commissioning Oslo International Church Music Festival. So, that it took another three years for Langeland to bring the project to the recording studio and another year for it to be released, more than four years after its first performances, only makes the release of this superbly constructed recording all the more welcome.

The beauty of this expanded Starflowers group is the intrinsic chemistry amongst its players: beyond being life partners, Henriksen and Friman have worked together many times, both alone and with Friman’s Trio Mediæval mates, like at the trumpeter’s beyond-beautiful “Artist in Residence” closing show at the 2009 Molde Jazz Festival, where he was joined, in addition to TM, by keyboardist Ståle Storkken and Jan Bang, for a performance at the town’s church that was, not unlike Langeland (but perhaps even more so), both antiquated and thoroughly contemporary. But it’s been Henriksen’s longtime tenure in Trygve Seim’s large ensemble— responsible for both 2000′s Different Rivers and 2005′sSangam (both on ECM), as well as festival-defining performances like their 2011 Oslo Jazz Festival set and one-and-only North American appearance in 2007, at Portland, Oregon’s PDX Jazz Festival—where the trumpeter and saxophonist have clearly honed a collaborative language that elevates Langeland’s music to new heights.

Both Seim and Henriksen value the music and the collective over pyrotechnic demonstrations, though that needn’t suggest there isn’t plenty of fire and ice, angularity and sheer beauty throughout The Magical Forest. Though their distinctive tones alone demonstrate both players’ instrumental mastery, rather than focusing on overt virtuosity, both focus their technical acumen on purity of tone and a means of collective improvisation that’s more about two instruments orbiting around each other, only to occasionally find their way into defined unison or harmony lines.

That Jormin shares, with Norwegian bassist Arild Andersen (another ECM stablemate), a particularly rare, singing tone on his double bass doesn’t mean there’s a lot else to compare the two, beyond muscular tone, lyrical bent and absolute instrumental mastery; it does mean, however, that Jormin is an ideal bassist for Langeland’s group: capable of both anchoring the group’s rhythm alongside Ounaskari as well as providing a lithe melodic foil for Henriksen, Seim…and Langeland, whose skill on kantele has only grown with each passing year. And while he’s honed his own approach over three decades, finding a unique nexus where more propulsive, jazz-centric kit work meets broader percussive textures that blend more appropriately with the more traditionally weighted aspects of Langeland’s music, Ounaskari is another ideal player who blends color with an adept ability at maintaining pulse—and in ways not heard quite like this since physical issues forced Jon Christensen to reevaluate how he approaches his kit.

With Starflower now more than a decade old—and Trio Mediæval nearing its 20th anniversary in 2017—the musicians on The Magical Forest have all had the time and opportunity to slowly hone a collective, collaborative vernacular: one defined by the uniqueness of its instrumentation, to be sure; but also one where its egalitarian aesthetic seems to seamlessly afford every musician the opportunity to shine, both as a member of this larger group and as individual players whose distinctive sounds and approaches render each and every one of them instantly recognizable.

Perhaps even more so than Starflowers and The Land That Is NotThe Magical Forestbenefits from lessons learned by Langeland on The half-finished heaven, in particular her own instrumental confidence, which allows her to shine on “Puun Loitsu,” a brooding album-opener that initially features Langeland’s monotone-driven but subtly interpretive delivery of this traditional “Prayer to the Tree Godess,” a brief miniature that, at three minutes in length, still manages to unfold as Ounuskari’s deeply tribal, malleted toms contrast with Langeland’s bowed and plucked kantele, as Trio Mediæval makes its entry with harmonized lines that remain, like Langeland, largely monotone…more chant than song.

As ever, The Magical Forest‘s sequencing (like so many of ECM’s releases) is astute, rendering this 48-minute, nine-song collection of songs and instrumentals a journey unto itself. After the initially dark-hued chant of “Puun Loitsu,” the album continues to unfold with Jormin’s brief bass intro to “Sammas,” a brighter modal piece with hints of the connection between Persian and Northern European folk musics, Trio Mediæval’s harmonized legato lines and some exceptional interaction between Jormin’s muscular phrases and Ounaskari’s delicate cymbals and snare press rolls, before Langeland takes over the vocals, leading into celestial four-part vocal harmony and some empathic lines from Henriksen and Seim, floating over Langeland’s delicately plucked kantele, as a repeated vocal chant leads to trumpet and saxophone lines that ultimately come together for a clear conclusion.

While driven by a persistent rhythm, “Beaver” blossoms with greater patience, an instrumental that takes considerable time to reveal itself fully. It’s only about two-thirds of the way through, in fact, that Ounaskari and Jormin finally lock in with a persistent pulse which affords Seim and Henriksen the opportunity to build in-tandem, each taking turns at moving slightly to the fore, as one holds down a series of long notes while the other waxes more lyrically, the two finally coming together, again, in a simple unison line that draws the piece to a close.

The Magical Forest represents another step forward for Langeland compositionally, with the singer having written all the music and, for the first time on her ECM recordings, all the lyrics with the exception of “Puun Loitsu,” based on a rune song text from Finnskogen. “Karsikko” is a gentler Langeland adaptation of a haunting folk hymn melody from Glåmdalen that features some of Henriksen’s most beautiful playing of the set, as well as one of Langeland’s most impressive moments, singing alone, self-accompanied on kantele.

While Trio Mediæval plays a more egalitarian role on the album, there are a couple of pieces that more vividly feature the trio’s extraordinary and identifiable sound. On the round-driven “Jacob’s Dream,” Langeland arranges the vocals to emphasize Trio Mediæval’s particular strength at effortlessly handing lines from one singer to the next while assuming harmony roles when not at the fore; while “Kamui” is one of Langeland’s most compelling songs of the set, her tarter tone positioned all the more impressively for the lush harmony vocals that surround it; but it’s only one part of an episodic piece that ultimately leans into more abstract territory before reiterating its lovely chorus, with Henriksen and Seim each adding distinctly separated fills as the song unwinds to its gentle ending.

With the ideal pairing of Trio Mediæval and her Starflowers group, it’s hard for The Magical Forest to be anything but a career highlight for Langeland, an artist whose evolution is only partly on show to those solely familiar with her ECM output. Earlier albums on Norwegian labels provide even more insight into how this folk traditionalist evolved into a more forward-looking improviser and writer of music that feels part of an arcane world that’s at once of and outside of time. Feeling connected to something centuries old while, at the same time, possessed of unmistakable modernity, The Magical Forest leverages both Langeland and Trio Mediæval’s differing but somehow connected angles of approaching traditional folk music, while building on the growing improvisational strength of her Starflowers group to create what is, hands down, the most impressive album of Langeland’s career.
Track Listing: Puun Loitsu; Sammas; Jacob’s Dream; The Wolfman; Beaver; Koyri; Kamui; Karsikko; Pillar to Heaven.

Personnel: Sinikka Langeland: kantele, vocals; Trygve Seim: soprano and tenor saxophones; Arve Henriksen: trumpet; Anders Jormin: double bass; Markku Ounaskari: drums, percussion; Trio Mediaeval (Anna Maria Friman, Berit Opheim; Linn Andrea Fuglseth): vocals.

Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: ECM Records | Style: Latin/World

 

 

NOPAs Kardemommestipend til Sinikka Langeland og Ingvar Hovland Ballade – 01.03.2016

 

Sinikka Langeland Foto: Dag Alveng

 

Sinikka Langeland Foto: Dag Alveng
Av 

NOPA, Norsk forening for komponister og tekstforfattere, deler hvert år ut Kardemommestipendet – en gave fra Egner-familien som gis som en påskjønnelse for arbeid som er gjort, og en stimulans til fortsatt produksjon.

Kardemommestipendet er i år på 100 000 kroner. Stipendet deles som regel mellom en tekstforfatter og en komponist. I år var det tekstforfatter Ingvar Hovland og komponist Sinikka Langeland som fikk stipendet.

I juryens begrunnelse heter det:

Halvparten av årets Kardemommestipend går til Sinikka Langeland; en musiker og komponist som siden 80-tallet har utmerket seg med sin formidlingsevne og særegne stil. Mange har blitt rørt av hennes sang, ofte kombinert med hennes andre instrument, kantele, med dype røtter i nordisk folkemusikk.Årets stipendmottaker har skrevet flere bestillingsverk, og har også blitt nominert til Spellemannsprisen flere ganger.Etter solodebuten i 1994 har hun gitt ut 13 soloalbum med egenkomponert musikk og deltatt på et tyvetalls utgivelser i samarbeid med andre artister. Siden 2007 har hun nådd ut til et enda større publikum gjennom det tyske plateselskapet ECM. Samarbeidet med andre profilerte musikere som Trygve Seim, Arve Henriksen og Anders Jormin er bare et av mange eksempler på hennes vellykkede sjangeroverskridende stil.

 

Tildelingen skjedde under en festkonsert på Victoria Nasjonal Jazzscene i Oslo tirsdag 1. mars. Juryen besto av Kristin Skaare, Mathias Eick og Martin Ahzami Raknerud.

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