Susanne Sundfør cannot be accused of being an ambassador for Norway as one of the happiest countries in the world. Her music is dark, blue and melancholy. The atmosphere – a cross between jazz and electronically fuelled sounds -lifted us into unknown places by her voice. It’s simply magical!
In a landscape of folklore, “tusser and trolls”, forests and water sounds combined with jazz and electro ecco – it’s big, it’s bold and she is very confident. Sundfør has originality and what I would call a ‘different’ voice. The live stage performance clearly brought out the most powerful in it! It is astonishingly beautiful.
After a rather mediocre warm up act, it is not difficult to understand that Susanne Sundfør is the strength and powerfulness of world class, again – especially her vocal. Wrapped in a somewhat fragile but strong and confident expression and showcased through her flow like, floating motions, witty comments and musical expression on stage. Supported by musicians clearly mastering it all. Together with Megan Kovacs and Jesse Chandler, the three of them alternate between piano, synth, organ, strings, flute, clarinet, saxophone and more. A bit messy on stage, but as a musical picture it is #PicturePerfect !
Today was a day of bad coughs and almost fever for Susanne Sundfør, but that woman can still sing! I am completely new to her music and instantly a convert. Feeling a bit ashamed and ignorant to the Norwegian musical scene as she has recently been in the media headlines because she lost out on the main Spellemannsprisen 2017 (equivalent to Brit Awards here). Previously Sundfør has rejected the category of “Female Artist of the Year” because she does not believe in categories based on gender. More about that on her Instagram or Twitter.
The title of her last album “Music For People In Trouble” sounds to the point from what I manage to catch up from this concert. Not believing in love, warnings of nature destruction and the longing for a secret lover, “good luck, bad luck”, all in her songs. I captured “snow falls” in one of them and got completely mesmerised, hiding tears from my companion on the night. It was magical, that’s the only world for it. I got the feeling of being spellbound (‘trollbundet’/Trollbound in Norwegian).
“The Sound of War” being one of my favourites of the night:
“And the snow falls down/ Your footsteps on the ground/ Are lost in the silence”
It was probably the mentioning of snow. Later I even thought I could hear her sing something about Norway’s Oil in one song…
“And when the nights are cold and strange and all the birds are gone
And all the oil’s been spilt, and left us on this Earth alone
I’ll think about the time you reassured me you were mine
Oh, what is love but a frail little dreamcatcher?”
Despite this capturing and to some extend narrowing in on a contemporary sociopolitical situation in Norway, I was a little disappointed by her lyrics. To match the music, I thought it was not quite there, but some was, don’t get me wrong! Overall, I would have expected something deeper, sounds a bit pretentious, but I want it more meaningful with fewer clichés. If this had been mainstream pop, I probably wouldn’t have questioned the lyrics so much. This expectation comes from the depth and mood of the atmosphere created on stage, fuelled by the music and Sundfør’s divine voice which just takes it all to a higher place! Thank you Susanne Sundfør, great night in Bristol!
And I’m sure we will get the happy vibes from Sigrid on Saturday@Motion 😀