Arild R. Andersen
Arild R. Andersen
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
– Sinikka Langeland har late seg inspirera av folkemusikktradisjonen frå Finnskogen i mest ein mannsalder
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.
The Magical Forest
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.
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
Sinikka Langeland: The Magical Forest
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 Not, The 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.
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.
Sinikka Langeland hadde en flott konsert på Riksscenen torsdag kveld. Urfremføringen av «Sølvbergvariasjonar» ble en «tour de force» og en flott generalprøve før fredagens konsert under Glogerfestspillene på Kongsberg, som har bestilt verket. Sammen med sine fremragende musikere presenterte hun et verk som kombinerer nye toner og tradisjonstung musikk. Det ble en magisk opplevelse. Etter Kongsberg skal gruppen ut på turné.
KONGSVINGER: Et lydhørt publikum i den fullsatte Herdahlssalen lot seg lørdag villig forføre av Finnskog-huldra Sinikka Langeland og hennes musikalske trollsvenner.
Og inn i dypeste berget, der sølvet bor, bar det; inn til stemninger av forlokkende mystikk, av gruvearbeideres blodslit, men også deres hverdagsglede.
Musikalsk kreativitet og virtuositet gikk hånd i hånd, og tok tilhørerne med inn i drømmelandskapet «Sølvbergvariasjonar» som denne lørdagsettermiddagen.
Verket i 13 deler er forfattet og skrevet av Sinikka langeland, og ble nylig uroppført i Kongsberg som en spesialbestilling sølvgruvebyen.
Med dynamiske variasjoner fra de vareste og mest lyriske nyanser, til kraftige og taktfaste slag som fra bergmenns hammerslag, skapte kvartetten nærmest magisk stemning i salen.
– VELLYD: fra (fra venstre) Trygve Seim, Arve Henriksen, Anders Jormin,Sinikka Langeland og Markku Ounaskari.
Forfatter: EIGIL KITTANG RAMSTAD
Etter trampeklapp og stående applaus behøver ikke Sinikka Langeland være nervøs lenger.
– Dette ble en utrolig sterk opplevelse for meg. Jeg har de siste dagene tenkt mye, følt mye, og egentlig vært ganske nervøs, sier langeland der hun står i sakristiet i Kongsberg kirke.
Gamle venninner, kolleger og publikummere generelt vil komme med lykkønskninger. Alle skrøt voldsomt av bestillingsverket til Glogerfestspillene «Sølvbergvariasjoner» ebbet ut. Det 53 minutter lange smykket ble avsluttet med øredøvende applaus fra de rundt 100 som kom til kirken for å lytte. «Sølvbergvariasjoner» var som omtalen sa, et musikalsk litt surrealistisk drømmelandskap for kantele, sang, trompet, saksofon, bass og trommer.
– Jeg var spent på hvordan publikum ville ta imot musikken, for det er min måte å gripe an historien til sølvbyen og den historien gruvedriften har. Målet har vært å skape bilder og også la publikum tolke musikken på sin måte, forteller langeland.
«Sølvbergvariasjoner» var bestilt av Glogerfestspillene, men kunne sjangermessig like gjerne spilles under både jazzfestivalen og landskappleiken. «Men ær’e klassisk? »
– Jeg har med meg kremen av jazzmusikere her, ja. Og stykket har krysninger av flere musikksjangere, så jeg mener det passer godt under festspillene, smiler en strålende fornøyd Sinikka langeland.
● PÅ KONSERT:
◗ Sted: Kongsberg kirke. ◗ Publikum: 100 ◗ Medvirkende: Sinikka Langeland, komponist, vokal og kantele, Arve Henriksen, trompet, Trygve Seim, saksofon, Anders Jormin, bass, Markku Ounaskari, trommer.
– TATT OPP AV STATSKANALEN: Gikk du glipp av «Sølvbergvariasjoner» får du muligheten på NRK radio om ikke lenge. Statskanalen gjorde opptak i Kongsberg kirke.
– MULTIKUNSTNER: Sinikka Langeland var komponist, vokalist og spilte kantele. ALLE
– BLÅSERE: Trompetist Arve Henriksen, som vi kjenner som prisvinner fra jazz, og Trygve Seim på saksofon.
– MED SINIKKA: Anders Jormin spilte bass, mens Markku Ounaskari spilte trommer.
“Sølvbergvariasjonar” er et musikalsk litt surrealistisk drømmelandskap for kantele, sang, trompet, saksofon, bass og trommer. Ensemblet ble satt sammen til innspillingen «Starflowers» i 2004, den første av fire plater med Sinikka Langelands musikk for det velrennomerte plateselskapet ECM. De har turnért i USA, Japan og Europa, men gjester også ofte Finnskogen hvor Sinikka har sin base. “Sølvbergvariasjonar” bestilt av Glogerfestspillene er inspirert av Sølvgruvene i Kongsberg og åpner med en visjon om at gruveberget smeltes om til en skinnende sølvpyramide. Det veksles videre mellom sang, instrumentale partier og improvisasjon over et portrett av en gruvearbeider. Det er nesten umulig å leve seg inn i hvor hardt bergmannlivet var. Svært gripende er også bruken av hester som ble pisket i evig rundgang for å heise opp tønner med stein.»Hestegjøpel» er tittel på dette stykket og «Døydraum» er en musikalsk fabulering over en gruvearbeiders nær døden-opplevelse der han overlever et fall fra en stige og ned i bunnen av en sjakt. “Sølv Maria” er en bønn for gruvebarna som døde. Verket avsluttes med “ I Sølvberget” hvor menneske og berg smelter sammen og blir ett.
Riksscenen Oslo 28.jan. kl.20.30
Kongsberg kirke 29.jan. kl.22.00
Herdahlsalen Kongsvinger 30.jan. kl.16.00
Moss Arena 31.jan. kl.19.00
Konserten i Kongsberg blir tatt opp av NRK p2. Sendetid kommer senere.
Verket vil også bli presentert i Spillerom NRK p2 i uke 6
New York Public Radio New Sounds Podcasts
Crossing the Norwegian-Finnish Border (Special Podcast)
New Sounds Podcastsder, and music for Finnish folk-harp, the kantele – with music by half-Finnish/ half-Norwegian singer & master of the kantele, Sinikka Langeland.
Monday, September 07, 2015
Published: | 2,422 views
With his schedule simply too busy to continue with a group whose chemistry could be felt from the first notes of Starflowers, Henriksen was not present when Langeland presented her ensemble at the fortieth annual Vossa Jazz festival in 2013, but it was clear that the strength of Langeland’s music was able to transcend even the loss of such an important group member. With The half-finished heaven, Langeland proves that point even further by minting a new quartet that brings Seim and Ounaskari back, but replaces double bass with Lars Anders Tomter’s viola in a program that, for the first time, focuses much more heavily on instrumental music, with only three of its dozen compositions—all but one, a traditional polsdans from Finnskogen, composed by Langeland—featuring Langeland’s evocative voice, interpreting words by the very recently deceased (March 26, 2015) Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer.
While it’s fair to say that Langeland’s distinctive voice is missed, that in no way makes The half-finished heaven any less impressive than what has come before. In fact, freed of the constraints of singing, Langeland’s playing is even more impressive, blending beautifully with Tomter’s viola and Seim’s tenor saxophone— as ever, more attuned to tone and the perfection of every note than any kind of overt virtuosic intent, even though what he does requires absolute mastery of his instrument. Ounnaskari’s combination of kit work and hand percussion acts, at times, as rhythmic driver on «The magical bird» but elsewhere as pure color on the aptly titled «Hymn to the fly,» where his bells and delicate hand percussion provide a flighty texture around which Tomter’s viola, Langeland’s strummed kantele and Seim’s low-register saxophone—the song’s primary melodic focus—come together as a unified voice.
It’s that single voice that emerges from the performances of these four musicians that makes The half-finished heaven‘s combination of form and freedom—more expansive than anything Langeland has previously attempted—so timeless, so appealing…so arcane. Through both Langeland’s writing and all four musicians’ keen intuition and attention to creating improvised passages that, in some cases, feel truly structured, there’s plenty of elegant beauty to be found. But there are moments of greater dissonance and jagged angularity («The blue tit’s spring song») that also make The half-finished heaven broader in scope than anything Langeland has done before.
A good part of The half-finished heaven‘s overall success comes from her recruiting Tomter, the «Giant of the Nordic Viola.» Beyond previous work with Langeland on Maria’s Song (ECM, 2009)—an unusual follow-up to Starflowers that found Langeland, Tomter and organist Kåre Nordstoga locating a very personal nexus of Norwegian traditionalism and the music of Johann Sebastian Bach—Tomter has been an important contributor to ECM recordings by guitarist Terje Rypdal and Ketil Bjornstad. But his own career has been even more prestigious: a multiple award-winning violist for whom numerous commissioned works have been written, who has been a regular participant at events including the BBC Proms and collaborated with famous classical ensembles like the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Here, however, he is given far more freedom than usual, and if there was once a line that divided classical and improvising musicians, artists like Tomter are making clear that this line has either become increasingly fuzzy…or may no longer exist at all.
With her ensemble of now-old friends, The half-finished heaven is the logical successor to her previous ECM ensemble recordings, with its even freer, more instrumental approach acting as the perfect reflection of its soaring subject matter: a suite of songs largely based around birds, flight and the ascending sky. An album of touching melancholy, haunting beauty and often-times completely unexpected flights of improvisational fancy from a quartet of simpatico players, Sinikka Langeland’s definitive kantele remains both The half-finished heaven‘s heart and spirit, along with an evocative yet ever-understated voice that may come, this time, in smaller doses…but even that decision only serves to make it all the more precious when it does.
Track Listing: Hare rune; The light streams in; The white burden; The half-finished heaven; The woodcock’s flight; Caw of the crane; The tree and the sky; The magical bird; Hymn to the fly; Animal miniatures; The blue tit’s spring song; Animal moment.
Personnel: Sinikka Langeland: kantele, vocals; Lars Anders Tomter: viola; Trygve Seim: tenor saxophone; Markku Ounaskari: percussion.
Record Label: ECM Records
Dear friends of the kantele in Japan
I will soon be visiting Japan for the fourth time, this time to present nine concerts during the cherry blossom season this spring. There will be four solo concerts and five concerts with the quartet, who will play music from the new album The Half-Finished Heaven. I have recently finished another recording featuring the story of the bear cub Kamui in the Aino culture, and my experiences in Japan are thus now also reflected in future releases. The sun is now returning to Finnskogen, and I have been doing a little skiing. Yesterday I saw a moose gnawing on a willow tree. The moose was very beautiful and its movements were graceful as it wandered further into the forest after a while. In recent years much of my life has revolved around being in Finnskogen and creating music. This past summer my work Mysticeti – Mass for the Blue Whale, for 11 musicians and singers, had its premiere. This is my biggest project to date. I have enjoyed a productive collaboration with photographer Dag Alveng, who is very interested in music, and through him I have also been able to realise some visual dreams. He created a photo installation for Mysticeti, and has also taken pictures of Finnskogen for the project The Half-Finished Heaven. These photos can also be seen on a YouTube video, accompanied by “The Blue Tit’s Song” on 15-string kantele with Lars Anders Tomter on viola, Trygve Seim on saxophone and Markku Ouanskari on drums.
I hope that each and every one of you is successful with your kantele playing. It is a unique instrument with many possibilities, and I hope you will also create your own music on it. We will see each other soon. I am very much looking forward to coming and playing for you.
Heel soms beleef je als luisteraar de sensatie dat de afstand tussen jou en de muziek volledig verdwijnt. de nieuwe cd van Sinikka Langeland is daarvan een indrukwekkend voorbeeld. […] een nieuw hoogtepunt in haar oeuvre […] Hoe weergaloos er ook wordt gespeeld, nergens vervalt de groep in effectbejag.
(Very rarely one experiences as a listener that the distance between you and the music disappears completely. The latest CD of Sinikka Langeland is an impressive example of this. […] A new pinnacle in her oeuvre […] Matchlessly played and never falling into sensationalism.)
Mischa Andriessen, Trouw
It’s a session replete with beautiful sounds: Seim’s soft outbreaths pulsing through the tenor against Ounaskari’s deep, sepulchral booms; Langeland’s delicately lucid vocal tones against the precise but rough quality of Tomter’s viola; mysterious, metallic abstractions displaced by a pulsating viola rapture on ‘Caw of the Crane.’ […] For music inspired by the life of forests, and so rooted in traditional folk forms, Langeland’s themes are often invitingly modern-sounding, too.
John Fordham, The Guardian
You could be forgiven for thinking that a little kantele goes a long way. The zither-like stringed instrument produces a magical, almost bell-like sound when plucked of strummed suggesting the tintinnabulation of the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt as much as rough-hewn folk. Played by the Norwegian musician/compser Sinikka Langeland, in combination with the viola, tenor sax and percussion of her quartet, it conveys a an other-worldliness that is very appealing. Langeland also sings lyrics (in their original Swedish) from three poems by Tomas Tranströmer that give this album both a title and a sense or reverence for nature. Despite the beauty of her voice, it’s the trance-like instrumentals that compel repeated listening.
Phil Johnson, Independent on Sunday
Das ist ebenso fremde wie berückende Klangmalerei, die der Bratscher Lars Anders Tomter komplettiert. Das nimmt sich Zeit und schenkt genau damit welche, ist emotional berührend und bleibt in den so entfalteten Atmosphären gar nicht fremd. Es dominiert das umgarnend Elegische. Das ist wie gemessene Gänge durch eine weite Natur und vertont sinnlich drei der raren Gedichte des schwedischen Literaturnobelpreisträgers Tomas Tranströmer.
Ulrich Steinmetzger, Leipziger Volkszeitung
The Half-Finished Heaven
More instrumental than Langeland’s recent albums (what words there are come from Tomas Tranströmer), this album starts slowly.
Too often, texture is at war with formlessness.
It gets into its swing with “The Woodcock’s Flight”, which starts with a minimalist pastoral viola melody from Lars Anders Tomter before Langeland’s kantele prickles like stars in the night sky and arpeggios soar upwards.
THE HALF-FINISHED HEAVEN
The World in the Forest
Morgenbladet 27.02 2015
Sinikka Langeland is one of the Norwegian artists who most clearly combines the local with the international. In a sense she breaks out of the ordinary Norwegian mould through her use of song traditions from Finnskogen and the string instrument kantele. But her collaborations with jazz musicians have consistently shown that this is music that communicates with the world without local restrictions, and Langeland’s releases on the ECM label place her work within a global context.
On The Half-Finished Heaven, her fourth ECM record since Starflowers (2007), she has gathered some of the threads from previous recordings. The project focuses on ensemble work among Nordic jazz musicians, as on the first recording and on The Land That Is Not (2011). Here Langeland offered a textual dimension with her musical settings of poems by Edith Södergran and Hans Børli, among others.
Maria’s Song (2009), which combined folk songs about the Virgin Mary with compositions by Bach, was an exception from this method, and illustrated the deeper roots of Langeland’s work. Here, however, although the aspects of the work relating to feminism and musical dramaturgy were notable, they lacked the improvisational and collaborative elements that marked the other records.
Birds. This time Langeland combines musicians from these two parallel paths. She lets violist Lars Anders Tomter from Maria’s Song meet Trygve Seim (saxophone) and Markku Ounaskari (percussion) from the jazz band. This opens up new possibilities for her, and reveals additional nuances in the music. In “Hare Rune” the ensemble is reminiscent of Karl Seglem, while associations with pop and rock groups ranging from Bel Canto to Mona & Maria are also evoked.
The music moves from positively funky, as in “The Magical Bird”, to bordering on the sentimental, as in the title cut. But Langeland has control over the expressive element, and she and the other musicians keep their sense of balance.
Nordic poetry is represented by three settings of poems by Tomas Tranströmer. Langeland emphasises the Nobel laureate’s natural mysticism, and sets the poems in compositions inspired by nature and animals. Birds have an especially strong presence on the record, with woodcocks, cranes and blue tits appearing in the song titles. In the last-mentioned, Tomter is given the opportunity to imitate birdsong.
Constantly developing. A world-class performer, Langeland upholds her reputation by maintaining high quality in every detail. She herself is a kantele virtuoso, and her playing ranges from high-pitched melody lines (“The Tree and the Sky”) to deep, grating tones (“Caw of the Crane”). Using the kantele as her focal point, she leads the musicians in an interplay that highlights, not least, Tomter’s skill as a performer, whether he is improvising together with Langeland in “Animal Miniatures” or interpreting the theme together with Seim in “The White Burden”.
Here Langeland displays her expertise as a composer, performer and bandleader, and as the originator of an expressive idiom that can be traced as far back as to the record Har du lyttet til elvene om natten (1995). The ensemble enhances Langeland’s ability to break with traditions and cross-connect them, and the entire package fits nicely into the constantly broader artistic scope that the ECM productions are enabling her to develop.
Jon Mikkel Broch Ålvik