We feel really honoured that Norwegian songwriter and storyteller Moddi has taken time to write about some of his favourite Norwegian albums for Nordic Music Review. It has been thought through particularly with UK readers / music listeners in mind, although I’m sure everyone across Nordic countries will enjoy reading his words – which we’ve published verbatim, as it was all so beautifully written. Moddi is such a busy guy, and we cant thank him enough for his time. All the following words are by Moddi.
It took me a while, and when I finally got to it, all I could think of was how important it is that you, UK listeners with a love for Nordic music, get to know about the very lively and important, and truly Norwegian music scene. Here are my favourite albums from home. May they bring eternal brunost happiness and total gravlaks nirvana to you!
Valkyrien Allstars - Farvel slekt og venner
Valkyrien Allstars are my definitive favourites from the Norwegian folk music scene - especially on their latest albums where they have developed Norwegian folk (which has usually been a lot more traditionally oriented than the UK scene) towards singer/songwriter, pop and rock at the same time. Their new album is their best so far, with lyrics that range from the very poetic and ethereal to concrete-hard comments on the mundane city life.
Odd Nordstoga - Pilegrim
This is the album that triggered me to make "Kæm va du?". Odd Nordstoga also emerged at the folk stage a good decade ago, and has risen to be perhaps Norway's most popular folk singer today. On this album, he borrows lyrics from two outstanding poets, and ditches his old band in favour of a string quartet and a handful of carefully selected Norwegian musicians from the top of the shelf. Nearly all I did with Kæm va du? was to try and recapture the feeling of listening to this album for the first time.
Adjagas - Mánu Rávdnji
We must not forget that the Kingdom of Norway was founded upon at least a couple of nations, and that for centuries the Samis in the North and Middle Norway have suffered under the cultural tyranny of the Norwegian majority. While most Sami languages are nearly extinct today, the Northern Sami variant is still being spoken widely and the yoik tradition has an at least somewhat higher standing that it had a few decades ago. Adjagas are my favourite among the Sami-singing bands, both keeping the tradition intact and using music to describe the current struggles of their people.
This is a cult classic from 1972, and another album based on poetry, in this case the working-class poet of Rudolf Nilsen who walked the streets of Oslo early last century. He questions everything from the modern street lamps and asphalt to the Chinese Christmas gifts that started to flow into Norway a hundred years ago - and still do. Some poetry never goes old, and I think this compilation album will stand the test of time for a century or two still.
Ellen Sofie Hovland - Skandinavisk sjel
So when you, dear reader, have gotten through all the music above, and spent a few days working your way through google translate, it is time to embark on the best album that was released in Norway last year. Ellen Sofie is a psychologist and rarely does any shows at all, but still won a Norwegian Grammy for this album, which with its naïve lyrics and minimalist musical expression takes you just half an hour to find out if you love it or hate it. She brilliantly captures the quirks and ambiguity of being a Norwegian, and a human, in 2015 and beyond. Pure poetry for the soul, and though the album is short, her ideas and stories stick forever.
We’re going to be taking a listen to each of these 5 albums at Nordic Music Review over the next month or two, and we will try to write a few words about each of them ourselves.
Anyway for more information on Moddi, and his amazing music and stories, visit http://www.moddi.no/
Moddi has just released an EP ‘Music for Frankenstein’, which we’ve already been listening to, and you can read about the creative process behind it all at his Blog:
A huge thank you again to Moddi for his time!