søndag den 28. oktober 2012

Fifteen minutes in the company of Lena Anderssen

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to interview one of the most endearing singer / songwriters around on a cold October morning. Lena Andressen is a Canadian - Faroese musician with four studio albums out, including her latest, "Letters From The Faroes."  The recently dropped album has been selected as the album of the year in The Faroe islands, and Lena is currently on tour promoting it.  "Letters from The Faroes" is as inventive and as intimate an album as you'll ever find and can be purchased at Lena's website:


Here's most of my brief morning interview with lena:

Your latest album letters From The Faroes, which was released in Denmark yesterday am I right ? It seems like a really interesting album, could you tell us a bit about it ? What's the inspiration behind it ?

Yes it came out yesterday and it's inspired by the feeling of being uprooted, the constant longing for elsewhere that I sometimes tend to feel. I've grown up in Cananda and on The Faroe islands so i've always tended to long for one thing or another and this sense of longing, of uprootedness is reflected in Letters From The Faroes.

The cover design is pretty unique too., as a letter with stamps and love hearts on it Was this your own idea ?

Well it was mine and Niclas, the guy I write most of my stuff with. The idea was to bring back a bit of feeling as far as the art of letters being something that is dying or certainly something that is less common. The CD case feels and looks like a letter, which brings back the idea of feeling being involved in music. Letters from the Faroes, the album title refers to the songs on the CD, which for me are like different letters that capture the state of mind that i'm in at the time I write them.

You're playing quite a few gigs around Denmark to promote the album over the next few weeks. What is like to play here ?

It's always nice to play in Denmark. I think my music is appreciated here. Of course it's different from one venue to another. Some places are really loud, really noisy whilst others can be quiet and cosy and everyone listens to you. Generally it's always a pleasure to play here.

Most Danes don't know much about the Faroe Islands, For me they're this picturesque magical place- that's the image that springs to my mind when I think of them. What are the islands actually like ?

(smiling) It's sad that many Danes don't know much about them- they are a part of Denmark too. Well The Faroes are 18 small islands in the middle of the Atlantic. The weather can be pretty bad - there's a lot of wind and sometimes it feels like there are four seasons in one day, so if you're into weather extremes this is the place to be. There are actually a lot of people from the Faroe islands who play music, and I think this has to do with the fact that they're quite an isolated place, so we're always looking to express ourselves somehow.

Do you also sing in Faroese ?

I haven't recorded any songs in Faroese, no and this is mainly because English is my native language which makes it a lot easier for me in the songwriting process. I speak and write Faroese but for my music it's much easier to do things in English.

What inspires you in the process of writing your music ?

When I write songs I try to convey a state of mind that i'm in at the time so it's very spontaneous. Sometimes I feel happy, or sad, or if I feel like dying or whatever emotion it is that's going through me. Sunsets and sunrises and other natural phenomena are all background inspirations but not part of the main process as such. My songs are sometimes a way for me to overcome certain emotions, they have a bit of a therapeutic effect whilst at the same time telling some story or other.

What music do you listen to when you're not playing your own songs ?

Well anything really. I'm really inspired by songs that trigger an emotion in me, songs that make me do something or want to do something. Of course these songs can be anything really, The Beatles, you name it.

Photo: NJ Photo / http://www.lenamusic.com/

tirsdag den 23. oktober 2012

Tako Lako on the headlines again

Here's yet another article about the Danish band Du Jour, Tako Lako, who're currently promoting their debut album with different concerts around Denmark. Here's a review of their concert at Loppen, Christiania by Copenhagen Post journalist Emily Mclean and a stock photo by myself. 

(Original article at: http://cphpost.dk/inout/concerts/gypsy-beats-casts-strong-spell)

Gypsy beats casts a strong spell

Emily McLean

****** (6 stars out of 6); Oct 19 at Loppen
While they may look laid back here, Tako Lako put on a wild performance at Loppen (Photo: Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk)
While it’s hard to put words to the experience that was Tako Lako (which means ‘that easy’ in Serbian) here goes: wild, haunting, innovative and captivating.
Classifying themselves in the genre of ‘psychedelic gypsy’, their unique sound and their thematic party performances make it easy to see why this band is a rising star on the European scene.
Performing at Loppen on Friday night, the venue provided the dark raw backdrop this band craves while the crowd (consisting of die-hard fans and a few intrigued first timers) gave it one heck of a party atmosphere.
Opening with 'Tako je Lako'Loppen heaved with the energy of this band that effortlessly cast a spell over the audience. It felt as if we were at friend’s birthday party, with seven of our best friends performing rather than just some talented strangers.
Unlike so many bands that have great sound but lack energy onstage, these guys were the whole package. Lead singer Ognjen Curcic gave 130 percent, narrating the night with his infamous Eastern European accent that had us feeling like we had stumbled into Count Dracula’s castle.
The crowd really began to move, jump and let go when 'Overdose' was belted out and it was uphill from there with 'Regards from Serbia', 'Silicone Buzz' and 'The Rest of Us'.
Each band member had their moment to shine. Violinist Søren Stensby Hansen was a stand-out, taking the meaning of ‘rock star violinist’ to a new level, while bassist Philip Zubin Køppen proved that with exceptional skill and a few crazy roof climbs the bass isn’t just a background instrument.
By the time 'GrimyBoy' and 'The Fate' were performed, the crowd was drunk with Balkan beats and let go − literally. Die hard fans ripped their shirts off while the most reserved of dancers flung their limbs around, and the band’s energy went to a whole new level.
The set list ended with 'Eastern Delights'by which time both musicians and fans were spent.
Tako Lako wasn’t ready to end the party there though, emerging for another three numbers including the epic 'Rupa je Rupa 3.0'. The party reluctantly came to a close after 'Kickstart' and in heroic fashion, Curcic was carried off the stage by a few of his half-naked fans.

onsdag den 17. oktober 2012

Young Believers' performance matched the weather

Original article available at: 

Or in today's version of The Copenhagen Post 

Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk
*** (3 stars out of 6); October 13 at Store Vega
The Choir of Young Believers didn't bring their A-game Saturday night (PR photo)
Choir of Young Believers returned to Store Vega for their second concert of the year at the venue on Saturday.  Led by frontman Jannis Noya Makrigiannis, the believers managed to brighten up the damp, dark evening with a solid show that featured some of the band’s revered hits along with a few songs off their latest album Rhine Gold. Ultimately though, the evening failed to truly take off despite the best efforts of the internationally-acclaimed Danish indie pop band.
Makrigiannis and company took the stage as the last act of the evening, following performances by 4 Guys from the Future and One Year from Home. A combination of technical glitches and sound problems resulted in poor opening sets, which weren't made any shorter by a stiff audience in a venue that was far from its usual capacity. It was clear from the start that this was going to be an uphill struggle for Choir of Young Believers, who went on almost a good half an hour later than they should have. This notwithstanding, the indie pop band were sharp, if not witty, during the entirety of their performance as they did their best to rescue what had been a disappointing couple of hours.
The musical career of Choir of Young Believers received a shot in the arm back in February when they dropped their highly revered second album Rhine Gold, an album that saw the band cultivate the heavily acoustic sound fused with dark, contemplative lyrics that they have become associated with.  Saturday's show featured several tracks off the album, but the live versions failed to match the band’s studio work.  
The confident Makrigianni's sharply inclined vocals plucked away at a rigid backdrop of emphatic synthesiser stabs and wistful guitar combinations that created a dreamy, progressive atmosphere in the concert hall right from the word go. As the show progressed, however, an overwhelming sense of repetitiveness descended on the venue, as many of the songs began to sound a lot like each other. This, coupled with paltry crowd, dampened the otherwise dextrous musicianship by the Believers, and cemented the final brick in what was ultimately a lukewarm concert.

tirsdag den 16. oktober 2012

Meet Dan Thatsme

Promo shots of my mate Dan Presencer, of Dan Thatsme: 

Check his music out at : 

tirsdag den 2. oktober 2012

Of Mice and Men ? Not Quite.

Of Monsters and Men live at Stor Vega

When I turned up at the Of Monsters and Men concert at Stor Vega last night, I must admit that my expectations were rather high. The Chamber Pop sextet have been hogging Blog space on the internet lately, spurred by amongst other things, their recently dropped album My Head is an Animal. If their performance yesterday is anything to go by, this is a band with huge potential and an amazing live act at that. We're talking about a band that sounds strangely similar to Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros fused with Mumford & Sons and a tinge of Arcade Fire just to complicate things.

Fellow Icelander Lay Low was on hand to provide a wonderful warm-up on the evening, playing a dextrous blend of powerful songs intermeshed with snippets of witty humour, proving why she's had the honour of touring with the likes of Emiliana Torrini. Of Monsters and Men stepped onto the stage illuminated by a fiery red glow and proceeded to sweep Stor Vega off its feet. Lead singer Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir seemed thrilled with the soaring quantities of Icelanders at Vega and proceeded to engage them in her native tongue before unleashing tracks such as the up-tempo, jovial 'Mountain song'. An unexpected cover of 'Skeletons' by trendy garage rock New Yorkers The Yeah Yeah Yeah's thereafter added a fresh wave of variation to the concert whilst sing-along gems such as 'From Finner' got the crowd jumping.

Unsurprisingly, the highlight of the show came when the anthemic 'Little Talks' was dropped towards the end. The song a epitomises the chamber-pop sound that the band have managed to cultivate over their short but sparkling career and featured a short but perfectly timed trumpet solo that accentuated its jolly effect.

Led by the vocals of the subliminal Ragnar Pórhallsson and Hilarsdottir, Of Monsters and Men were sharp from the word go, playing with ear to ear grins and with a real bond to the crowd, in spite of the usual unresponsiveness one has become accustomed to on the part of the Danish audience. Nowhere was this bond more candid than at the very end of the show, as the Icelanders parted from the stage, with the dreamy, contemplative chimes and ticks of the final track 'Yellow Light' ringing in the audience's ears who by this point were in merry spirits.