Isn’t it Good, Norwegian Wood…

Various Artists - Sanger om sårbarhet (Songs of Vulnerability)
Various Artists – Sanger om sårbarhet (Songs of Vulnerability)
Various Artists – Sanger om sårbarhet (Songs of Vulnerability) (Kirkelig Kulturverksted, 2008)

Sondre Bratland – This Dream We Have (Kirkelig Kulturverksted, 2008)

Music once again lends itself to healing emotional, physical and spiritual issues. Twelve Norwegian artists contribute their healing songs to the compilation album "Songs of vulnerability" which celebrates the 150th anniversary of the baths at Modum–a residential psychotherapy, education and research center in Norway.

"While Modum Bad specializes in helping people with psychological problems, it is also a cultural institution with a 40 year history of arranging public concerts where these two aspects of their activities are combined."

The Grand Hall and Olav’s Church have served as concert venues and some of the performers that have performed in those venues include many KKV artists such as: Ketil Bjornstad, Randi Stene, Aage Kvalbein, Sondre Bratland, Tone Hulbaekmo, Elias Akselsen and Lars Bremnes… Those same artists reappear on this live recording.Highlights include Lars Bremnes "The Same Bed," Elias Akselsen’s tearful, "What Did You Do With Your Life, Tommy?" and Anders Clemens Oien with Solve Sigerland "Café," 2nd movement of "The History of Tango by Astor Piazzolla." However, the entire collection is filled with sparkling gems.

According to the press notes, "Art, culture and aesthetics can be important therapeutic and nourishing factors for people suffering from mental disorders and for all people. The concerts have thus become part of a holistic philosophy behind the help offered patients at Modum Bad. As these are open concerts, they help to break down the barriers between society and the institution that treats people suffering from mental disorders."

Once again, KKV is at the helm of spreading compassion through music in the world.

Now in his 70s, Sondre Bratland released a new recording, "This Dream We Have." The recording features simple instrumental arrangements that provide a light backdrop for Bratland’s signature vocals. Bratland also surfs through a variety of musical genres which he has grown fond of over the years, ballads, folk songs, a little bit of Latin music ("Dream and reality"), and country western. However this CD also has been spiced with a jazz element. Norwegian poet Olav H. Hauge’s poems provide the text for this recording.

Multi-instrumentalist Knut Reiersrud, fiddle player Annbjørg Lien, drummer Helge Norbakken and multi-instrumentalist Matthias Eick (double-bass, trumpet and vibraphone), bring a palette of vibrant colors and textures to the recording. "I Always Expect to Find" features understated guitar, sultry trumpet, and the chime of vibraphone. In fact, this is the second Norwegian recording in the past weeks in which I am greeted by Eick’s crystal-clear trumpet. (The other CD was Jacob Young’s "Sideways").

The traditional folk inspired "The Bark Flute" features the deft playing of fiddler Lien, who anyone listening to Scandinavian music would be acquainted. Within just the span of the first three tracks, we have already traversed from jazz to a more traditional fare. And Bratland’s vocals travel through this musical landscape with surefootedness. He brings that same attribute to the remainder of this tribute recording, offering a few surprises along the way.

This year marks the centenary celebration of Poet Olav H. Hauge. Bratland’s work has been informed by Hauge’s poetry for many years. This elegant recording with its soulful musicianship and earnest vocals could only be seen as a compliment by any national poet. And I suppose this recording also celebrates Bratland’s 70th decade and the music he has gifted his audiences with over the decades.

Patricia Herlevi host the healing music blog, The Whole Music Experience and the radio show, Global Heartthrob (