Hallelujah in Belgium…?

We are all humans of this world, we all desire the same things: love, happiness and to be understood for who we are. It shouldn’t be so difficult to understand one another, especially not between two countries very close to each other, like for example me from Sweden/Norway and someone from, let’s say Belgium.

Belgium has, for me, been a series of ”banging my head against the wall” experiences.

It all started very well when I sang in the Early Music Competition in picturesque Bruges and came in number three in the finals! Yay!

But then… I’ve be paralysed by fear and scared of singing even the smallest note wrong in a highly acclaimed vocal ensemble. I’ve been told it just was  ”not good enough” (and felt it too) after a horrible audition. I’ve been recovering from lost voice/illnes/tiredness, but forced myself into doing a very demanding concert resulting in THE WORST review EVER. A review that knocked down quite a lot of my confidence at the time.

It may sound like nothing, but I really like Belgium, I like the flemish language, the food, the beer, the cute houses and the music tradition and it’s almost like you fancy someone a lot and they just keep telling you to please, go away. Like a sad love story.

My experiences in Belgium have been the ones that I shouldn’t care about. You shouldn’t care about a bad review (even if it’s BAD). A review is something we all know we should stand above and not belittle ourselves with. But I did care. My fault.  You also shouldn’t care about a horrible audition. You should just move on to the next one and the next one, I know this. But, auditions bring forth the worst in me, not as a human, but as a singer and it stands for all of the things I don’t appreciate (being judged, being ”best” and so on). This particular one was also an example of how small we performers are and how easy it is for the powerful ones to just disclaim us, as if we really don’t mean anything. No, it might not be like that, but it felt like that. I also might have told them just that afterwards. Not the smartest thing, I agree, but it felt important at the time. Also, why does being smart mean ”keep your mouth shut, even if you feel badly treated” in classical music business?      As for the ensemble? I don’t know. It just wasn’t my thing. I wanted it to be my thing, but it wasn’t.

All of these things should be small arrows pointing me in the direction of where I should go and where I’ll find myself. And, maybe they are…

Anyway. On Sunday I have a chance of making amends with Belgium. On Sunday I will sing loud and clear with my own voice together with my favourite people. Maybe it’ll be a Hallelujah this time?

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I'll say nothing. Watch what happens when four musicians say Yes to music and No to "rules". I give you: Ensemble Odd Size

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A very new spring…

Some years seem to be all about doing new things, thinking in new ways and getting new perspectives. Up until now 2014 is one of those years. From the end of April to the end of May I will have performed nine new pieces. That's nine different musical countries and continents and landscapes to assimilate myself into! Will I loose myself and get lost in the mace of tonalities and rhythms? Or will it be a walk in the park? I'm guessing somewhere in between.

First... "Lux Illuxit- officium st Olav". Here, I am working with Elisabeth Vatn, Poul Høxbro, Britt Pernille Frøholm and Anders Røine, to create a musical web in, out and around the Office of St Olav (from  around 1170), using folk music, improvisation and all the musical knowledge we have of medieval music. OK, the music is not new. But the setting and the sound will be.

 Then... Gotland and seven new pieces for song and piano, written by seven young composers studying at Gotland school of Music Composition.Kenneth Karlsson and I have been working with these students over the past year and now it's finally time for us to show the world these musical treasures! There is hope for the future! We have some great music here and the process has been very exciting!

After Gotland I will travel to Piteå, "New Directions Festival" together with Cikada. World premiere of Henrik Hellstenius "Sounds of places and words". Talking about this project without using too many superlatives will be hard. Both Henrik and Cikada are two of my all time favorites, so I will just leave it there.

In between all this I will record the opera Ophelias:death by water singing (with superb colleagues such as Tora Augestad, Silje Aker Johnson, Ebba Rydh and ensemble Cikada). Now this! Again it's the work of Henrik Hellstenius and it's… No, I will have to write a post of its own about "Ophelias…" Coming soon. (in the meantime you can see video clips from the premiere performance on my Media page)

There will also be some "Old" music: Lully and Bach at Trollhättan tidigmusikdagar (and a gig in the local pub with Odd Size. No rules- just music.)

All of this in May.  So...come what May?