Crossing the Line Between Jazz and Folk

Elin Furubotn - Heilt Nye Vei
Elin Furubotn

Heilt Nye Vei (Ozella Music; U.S. Release: 2012)

HHeilt Nye Vei marks the international debut of respected Norwegian singer-songwriter Elin Furubotn. Her music is enriched with the sounds of ethereal jazz, rock and other musical elements. Renowned Norwegian sax player Karl Seglem provides his signature solos throughout the album.

It’s unusual in Norway to make music that crosses lines between jazz and singer-songwriter stuff, between rock and folk,” reveals Furubotn. “But I don’t like to split my interests and passions up. And in scenes like in Stavanger, you get to know everyone very well. It’s a more intimate scene, and it’s easy for musicians from different backgrounds to work together.”

Heilt Nye Vei contains Elin Furubotn’s observations set to Norwegian and English words and music, using chamber jazz, minimalism and even silence. Her song “Stillheten” was composed while Furubotn stayed at a cottage far in the Norwegian mountains: “I was alone and I really wanted to write music there. It was dark November and very silent,” she recalls. “I had to make this silence song. And I couldn’t have any instruments; they would have destroyed the song. So I wrote three vocal lines.”

The musicians featured in the album include Elin Furubotn on lead vocals, acoustic guitar and cello; Karl Seglem on saxophone and vocals; Helge Andreas Norbakken on percussion; Gjermund Silset on bass; Morten Mølster on electric guitar; David Wallumrød on piano; Truls Birkeland on accordion and synthesizer; Mads Urdahl-Aasen on euphonium-horns; and Gunhild Seim on trumpet and flugelhorn.

Furubotn grew up in a musically rich rural community. She learned guitar chords from her mother and played her own invented melodies for traditional hymns for supportive neighbors.

As a young woman, Furubotn moved to the town of Stavanger, where she convinced a furniture store owner into letting her and her fellow musicians use his shop after hours. Over the years, she won the respect of Norwegian fans for her ingenious lyrics, voice, and catchy songs.

I like directness, the directness of Norwegian and of certain musical expressions. The music shouldn’t be overloaded,” she says. “I like a strong rhythmic pulse sometimes, but it’s very important to have the opposite feel, too. To take time to be silent in a song. That’s very me.”

Heilt Nye Vei is an elegant and beautifully crafted album, wrapped in Norwegian folk, jazz and rock atmospheres. The CD booklet includes English translations of all Norwegian lyrics.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV 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 albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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