Wind And Sun

Sinikka Langeland

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“Being in a room with Sinikka Langeland is like being charmed into a northern forest under a night sky,” wrote Fiona Talkington in Songlines.  “Her presence and her voice are magical, but when she plays her kantele you can almost feel nature itself quivering with joy.”
 
The expressive arc of Sinikka’s music extends from the archaic to the experimental. Rooted in folk forms but wide-open in its perspectives it demands – and on Wind and Sun gets – particularly resourceful interpreters. Langeland’s new group is an optimum assembly of Norwegian musicians, each of them an ECM bandleader in his own right, all of them contributing ideas to the ongoing musical conversation – and, as Sinikka says, “taking things further in their incredible improvised solos.” For her song texts this time, Sinikka turns to the writings of poet and novelist Jon Fosse, one of Norway’s most important contemporary authors. Fosse has described the process of writing as “an act of listening” and wrestles with questions of faith in his work in a way that resonates with Sinikka’s fascination with “natural mysticism”. Wind and Sun, Sinikka Langeland’s seventh ECM album, was recorded at Oslo’s Rainbow Studio in September 2022 and mixed at Munich’s Bavaria Tonstudio in March 2023.
"Wenn man sich mit Sinikka Langeland in einem Raum befindet, ist es, als würde man in einen nördlichen Wald unter einem Nachthimmel verzaubert werden", schrieb Fiona Talkington im britischen Magazin Songlines. "Ihre Präsenz und ihre Stimme sind magisch, aber wenn sie ihre Kantele spielt, kann man fast spüren, wie die Natur selbst vor Freude bebt."
 
Der Ausdrucksbogen von Sinikkas Musik reicht vom Archaischen bis zum Experimentellen. In volkstümlichen Formen verwurzelt, aber weit offen in ihren Perspektiven, verlangt sie – und bekommt auf Wind and Sun – besonders kreative Interpreten. Langelands neue Gruppe ist eine optimale Zusammenstellung von norwegischen Musikern, von denen jeder für sich ein ECM-Bandleader ist, und die alle ihre Ideen in die musikalischen Dialoge einbringen – und, wie Sinikka meint, "die Musik in ihren fulminanten improvisierten Soli nochmals weiterentwickeln." Für ihre Songtexte wendet sich Sinikka diesmal den Schriften des Dichters und Romanciers Jon Fosse zu, einem der wichtigsten zeitgenössischen Autoren Norwegens. Fosse hat den Prozess des Schreibens als "einen Akt des Zuhörens" beschrieben und ringt in seinem Werk mit Fragen des Glaubens in einer Weise, die Sinikkas Faszination für "Naturmystik" widerspiegelt. Wind and Sun, Sinikka Langelands siebtes ECM-Album, wurde im September 2022 im Rainbow Studio in Oslo aufgenommen und im März 2023 im Bavaria Tonstudio in München gemischt.
Featured Artists Recorded

June 2022, Rainbow Studio, Oslo

  • 1Row My Ocean
    (Jon Fosse, Sinikka Langeland)
    07:04
  • 2Wind And Sun (instrumental)
    (Jon Fosse, Sinikka Langeland)
    02:53
  • 3It Walks And Walks
    (Jon Fosse, Sinikka Langeland)
    06:48
  • 4When The Heart Is A Moon
    (Jon Fosse, Sinikka Langeland)
    05:14
  • 5Hands That Held
    (Jon Fosse, Sinikka Langeland)
    04:04
  • 6A Child Who Exists
    (Jon Fosse, Geirr Tveitt, Sinikka Langeland)
    04:48
  • 7A Window Tells
    (Jon Fosse, Sinikka Langeland)
    06:38
  • 8The Love
    (Jon Fosse, Sinikka Langeland)
    04:48
  • 9Wind Song
    (Jon Fosse, Sinikka Langeland)
    03:15
  • 10A Child Who Exists (var.)
    (Jon Fosse, Geirr Tveitt, Sinikka Langeland)
    04:33
  • 11Wind And Sun
    (Jon Fosse, Sinikka Langeland)
    06:48
  • 12You Hear My Heart Come
    (Jon Fosse, Sinikka Langeland)
    08:46
For a concert to mark her 60th birthday last year, the Norwegian singer and kantele player Sinikka Langeland convened a band made up of starry ECM label mates, notably Trygve Seim on saxophone and Mathias Eick on trumpet. This configuration has led to her 12th solo album, ‘Wind and Sun’, its lyrics drawn from the poems of Langeland’s contemporary Jon Fosse. Originally known as a playwright, he has concentrated more on novels since converting to Catholicism, but his terse, elliptical poetry has been a constant, wrestling with the eternal even before that conversion. Fosse is from the rural west of Norway and Langeland from Finnskogen, the ‘forest of the Finns’ on the eastern border with Sweden, but they share common concerns: folk culture, the force of grace and the power of absences. […]The sweet unfolding folk melody of ‘When the Heart is a Moon’ segues from that lunar image into angels bearing messages from the dead. ‘The Love’, which brings together Fosse’s ‘Den Kjærleik’ and ‘Kvarandre’, expressions of tenderness a decade apart, has an inviting swing. ‘Wind Song’ begins with a Jew’s-harp ostinato from Langeland as the rhythmic bed for playful games from Eilertsen and Thomas Strønen on drums.  
David Honigmann, Financial Times
 
On this album, Langeland is joined by a quartet of Norwegian jazz notables, all from the ECM stable, each one a bandleader in his own right. Trygve Seim (saxophone) has been a regular collaborator for years and Mathias Eick (trumpet), Mats Eilertsen (bass), and Thomas Strønen (drums) are all sympathetic players whose sensibilities are in perfect alignment with Langeland’s own. The other major contributor here is writer and poet Jon Fosse, whose serene verse makes up ‘Wind and Sun’’s lyrical content. The 12 songs included here are at turns pensive, playful, and affectionate with plenty of space to move around. Against the raindrop plucks of the kantele, the musicians hold languid conversations, whipping up small storms and settling back into glacial grooves
Timothy Monger, All Music
 
Langeland wird unterstützt von einem Quartett der Kammerjazzmeister, dem Trompeter Mathias Eick, dem Saxofonisten Trygve Seim, dem Bassisten Mats Eilertsen und dem Schlagzeuger Thomas Strønen, die die Tendenz zur großräumigen Klangtransparenz mit Folkwurzeln noch unterstreichen. Und so ist ’Wind And Sun’ ein Fest poetischer Melancholie.
Ralf Dombrowski, Audio /Stereoplay
 
Magical. That’s the first word that came to mind as I listened to Sinikka Langeland’s ‘Wind And Sun.’ […] on ‘Wind And Sun’ she turns turns to the contemporary Norwegian playwright and poet Jon Fosse, whose poetry resonates with Langeland’s fascination with natural mysticism. Although Langeland leans into mysticism, it isn’t a wispy sort of mysticism. Her vocal instrument is a powerful one, capable of holding its own with Seim and Eick on their brassy horns. On ‘Wind and Sun Langeland’ has created arrangements that illuminate Fosse’s poems through her stunning, often minimalist vocals and kantele, and her sensitive ensemble fleshes out those arrangements in amazing accord with her and one another. I first noted the way the arrangements match the topic in the third track ‘It Walks And Walks,’ a superb arrangement founded on a walking bass line from Eilertsen, over which Langeland’s vocals and the horns play with a melody that sometimes plods with the bass and sometimes stretches the meter. Color and texture come from Strønen’s sensitive drumming, and Langeland’s lightly plucked kantele that somehow sounds like a chiming steel guitar. Pensive, reverent and life-observant, the song rides a line between art song, folksong, and jazz improvization. It all beautifully matches the text, which addresses the linear and yet somehow cyclical nature of life […] ‘Wind and Sun’ is a deep listening experience.
Gary Whitehouse, Green Man Reviews
 
After the solo album ‘Wolf Rune’ for voice and kantele, Sinikka Langeland has again returned to a quintet setting to present her now unique and uniquely beautiful music. With her recordings over the last decade or so, Langeland has drawn inspiration from culture of Finnskogen, an area on Norway’s border with Sweden known as the ‘Forest of the Finns’ and with her latest album searches for new avenues of expression in the contemporary poetry of Jon Fosse. Langeland’s marriage of her compositions and the words of Fosse is brought to life by a quite exceptional band. Saxophonist Trygve Seim is no stranger to exploring more traditional music and poetry, and his full sounding soprano saxophone plays an important part as a storyteller alongside Langeland’s voice. Seim is also partnered by trumpeter Mathia Eick who is a perfect foil for the saxophonist. With his lean and lyrical phrasing, and clean and clear tone the two voices of trumpet and tenor blend superbly supporting Sinikka’s vocal on ‘It Walks And Walks’. Eick is also particularly fine on ‘When The Heart Is A Moon’, a lovely ballad that opens with Sinikka’s kantele and vocals before being joined by Eilertsen’s strong and warm bass line. […] The charm in Sinikka’s music has been the way the traditional and the modern sit side by side. In somehow capturing the essence of both, the kantele player and vocalist’s music has a timelessness that is emotionally engaging and often leaves the listener with a feeling of inner calm. This is a trait that she has continued with her new compositions and the development of her arrangements for jazz quintet and done so without sacrificing the links she has forged with the traditional music of the region. The music on ‘Wind And Sun’ therefore sounds as fresh and intoxicating as ever, while looking ahead for new ways to bring the ancient and traditional together with the new.
Nick Lea, Jazz Views
 
For this new recording, Langeland chooses to once more broaden her horizons of sound, with an all-Norwegian all-star constellation of players, all of them ECM recording artists and ensemble leaders in their own right and with complex interwoven histories going back many years. […] And so to summarise, these expert players know one another well, sharing an advanced improvisational understanding, individually and collectively elevating the atmospheres of the songs presented on this album. […] Whilst the setting of poems by Hans Børli, Edith Södergran, Olav Håkonson Hauge and Finnish Forest rune songs have formed the core of Langeland’s repertoire to date, ‘Wind and Sun’ sees her turn her attention to the contemporary poetry of Jon Fosse, who has described the process of writing as ‘an act of listening,’ and wrestles with questions of faith in his work in a way that resonates with Langeland’s fascination with natural mysticism. […] This connection between all involved in the making of this album is clear to hear. There appears to be a very distinct understanding that enables the musicians to express themselves whilst remaining within the soft, unspoken boundaries of the nature of the poetry and music itself. ‘Wind and Sun’ in its entirety feels this way, with moments of glistening beauty mixing intrinsically with a foreboding melancholy. Langeland’s voice carries passion and truth, crossing oceans as it takes flight. Softly spoken, or strong and terse, it is always crystalline in delivery. The supporting cast give the listener a sense of time and place, adding to the atmospheric nature of the songs with sensitivity and imagination. The delicate hues of colour and subtle textural interplay between the musicians is a delight, helping create a beautiful landscape of sound. And this is the landscape of Sinikka Langeland’s music, one where the listener can visualise for themselves the places and people that inspire her music.
Mike Gates, UK Vibe
Being in a room with Sinikka Langeland is like being charmed into a northern forest under a night sky. Her presence and her voice are magical enough, but when she plays her kantele you can almost feel nature itself quivering with joy.
Fiona Talkington, Songlines
 
Few artists have embodied the idea of the spirit of place as comprehensively as Sinikka Langeland whose music, performances, research and recordings have given a new profile to the culture of Finnskogen – the “Forest of the Finns” on Norway’s border with Sweden. Half-Finnish herself, Langeland (born in Grue in 1961) plays the Finnish national instrument, the kantele, and draws upon older traditions of folk music including rune songs and incantations in the creation of vibrantly new work. Her songs give voice to the interdependence of humanity, the natural world of plants and animals and the world of spirits. Sinikka’s deeply-rooted music has often branched out to connect and communicate with key exponents of other arts – improvisers from the jazz world, classical musicians, poets, visual artists. Sometimes, reviewer Audun Vinger suggested of recent performances at Vossajazz, Sinikka seems “ultra-hip, like a Finnish Forest Alice Coltrane. At other times, we are in the Middle Ages, in the church, in the jazz club…” The expressive arc of the music extends from the archaic to the creatively forward-looking.
 
Settings of poems by Hans Børli, Edith Södergran, Olav Håkonson Hauge and Finnish Forest rune songs have formed the core of Sinkka’s repertoire to date. With her newest album Wind and Sun, she turns her attention to the contemporary poetry of Jon Fosse, who has described the process of writing as “an act of listening,” and wrestles with questions of faith in his work in a way that resonates with Langeland’s fascination with natural mysticism. “There is so much room in Fosse’s poems, and seldom limiting terms and references. He manages to point to something touching…”
 
I want to listen to the angels who come from my dead friends
silent as snow distinct as snow
I shall see the snow melt and become water
I shall see it disappear
and come back, like eagles
I shall see the eagles come
I shall see it disappear
and hear the music
in the movement we create
and that creates us, so distinctly, in the darkness
Jon Fosse, Hund og engel 1992
 
Also participating in the Wind and Sun project is photographer Dag Alveng. “I have worked with Dag in many projects,” says Sinikka, “but I think that his art and Fosse’s poems is an especially good combination, as they also are so simple in a strong way. Jon Fosse wrote to me that he really liked Dag’s pictures: ‘There’s a kind of present disappearance in them’”.
 
 
The outstanding band on Wind and Sun – formed for concerts to celebrate Sinikka’s 60th birthday – is an all-Norwegian all-star constellation of players, all of them ECM recording artists and ensemble leaders in their own right and with complex interwoven histories going back many years. Saxophonist Trygve Seim has been an important presence on Sinikka’s recordings including Starflowers, The Land that Is Not, The Half-Finished Heaven and The Magical Forest. The yearning, vocal quality of his playing adapts itself ideally to Sinikka’s soundworld. Seim also has an affinity for sung verse, as his own Rumi Songs project with settings of the great Sufi poet has demonstrated.
 
Trygve and trumpeter Mathias Eick have played together in wildly different contexts ranging from Iro Haarla’s Northbound quintet to Jon Balke’s Batagraf ensemble via the Manu Katché band. Eick and drummer Thomas Strønen have collaborated in the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, while bassist Mats Eilertsen and Eick have both been members of Jacob Young’s groups. Furthermore, Strønen continues to play in Eilertsen’s trio with pianist Harmen Fraanje, and Eilertsen is a long-time member of the free spirited ensemble The Source, which also features Trygve Seim. In brief, these are sensitive players, who share an advanced improvisational understanding, individually and collectively elevating the atmospheres of Sinikka’s songs, and fleshing out the musical implications set in motion by the kantele and Fosse’s verse. Sinikka: “All of the players have really been very loyal to the simplicity in the music, following my writing and the expressions of the poems and then taking things further in their own incredible improvised solos.”
 
Wind and Sun was recorded at Oslo’s Rainbow Studio in September 2022 and mixed at Munich’s Bavaria Tonstudio in March 2023.
YEAR DATE VENUE LOCATION
2024 February 27 Christiania Teater Oslo, Norway
2024 March 03 Christiania Teater Oslo, Norway
2024 March 05 Christiania Teater Oslo, Norway
2024 March 17 Drammen Kulturhus Drammen, Norway
2024 April 15 Jamusica Sapporo, Japan
2024 April 16 Nardis Kashiwa, Japan
2024 April 17 Haretara Sorani Mame Maite Daikanyama Tokyo, Japan
2024 April 18 Airegin Yokohama, Japan
2024 April 19 Jazz Flash Niigata, Japan
2024 April 20 La Sone Saryo Jyoetsu, Japan
2024 April 21 Mokkiriya Kanazawa, Japan
2024 May 30 tba Stavanger, Norway
2024 May 31 tba Haugesund, Norway
2024 June 01 tba Haugesund, Norway
2024 June 21 tba Julusdalen, Norway
2024 July 27 tba Vellene Guddal i Fjaler, Norway
2024 September 13 tba Ulvik, Norway
2024 September 14 tba Ulvik, Norway
2024 September 15 tba Ulvik, Norway
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