Artist Profiles: Unni Løvlid

Unni Løvlid – Photo by Geir Dokken

Unni Løvlid is one of Norway’s leading folk music vocalists, and was the first musician to be nominated ‘Performer of the Year’ at the Folkelarm festival 2006. The following year she was awarded a Spellemann prize (Norway’s top music award) in the contemporary music category together with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and Grex Vocalis.

Unni Løvlid was born in 1976 in Hornindal in the county of Sogn og Fjordane in western Norway. She has been an active folk musician for some time, and has learned her music from many different sources in Hornindal, including Marta Seljeset Froland.

According to the classification system of the national folk music competition Unni belongs in the top category of folk musicians, something that provided her with a foundation for her masters degree at the Norwegian Academy of Music. Her wide-ranging musical activities include concerts and tours in Norway and abroad, and teaching engagements at the Norwegian Academy of Music, the Ole Bull Academy, and the State Theatre Academy.

Unni has received several awards for her contributions to folk singing. She released her first solo recording So ro liten tull in 1999 on her own label, Løvlid; the recording was subsequently released in book form by Lyche Musikkforlag. Unni participated on Listen the Art of Arne Nordheim, Aurora 2002, and has contributed to a series of other recordings for Honndalstausene, Frie former 2000, NRK, Radio France, and Karl Seglem, among others.

Unni Løvlid

In addition to her career as a solo performer Unni is a member of the trios Rusk (with Frode Haltli and Vegar Vårdal), and FJØGL (with Liv Merete Kroken and Sigrid Moldestad). Unni is not afraid to do something in which she believes, and is continually involved in new productions and events.

She is known for her collaboration on contemporary music projects as well as in folk music; in 2003 she performed in the premiere of Maja Ratkje’s opera No Title Performance and Sparkling Water during the Ultima Festival. At an event hosted by Ballade at Mono in 2004 Unni performed in a noise duo together with horn player and Fe-mail member Hild Sofie Tafjord.

One of her exam concerts at the Music Academy was a performance of Arnold Schonberg’s 1912 masterpiece Pierrot Lunaire together with the Academy’s contemporary music ensemble. Unni has collaborated on several occasions with innovative percussionist Terje Isungset, and she performed the part of Ophelia in Hamlet

In 2008 Unni Løvlid returned with Rite (Grappa GRCD4223), a new album, three years after her previous solo release Vita (2005) recorded in the Emanuel Vigeland mausoleum. It took her four years to complete Rite, for which Løvlid wrote all the words and music herself.

The music on Rite lies somewhere between electronica, contemporary and world music. Participating on the recording are: Unni Løvlid, Hild Sofie Tafjord, Frode Haltli, Lene Grenager, Hakon Kornstad, Ragnhild Furebotten, Ingar Hunskaar, Helge Sten, Helge Nordbakken and the Norwegian National Opera Children’s Choir.

Discography

* Rusk (Heilo HCD7179, 2002)
* Rusk 2 (Grappa, 2006)
* So ro liten tull (Lovlyd, 1999)
* Vita (Grappa Musikkforlag, 2005)
* Rite (Grappa GRCD4223, 2008)
* Seven Winds, with Becaye Aw & Rolf-Erik Nystrøm (Heilo, 2009)
* Lux (Heilo, 2013)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.

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