October sees one of the Norwegian traditional folk scene’s most distinctive voices, Unni Løvlid, doing a solo UK tour which in addition to a number of concerts at key venues includes a highly unusual setting for two of the tour’s performances; Brighton’s Victorian sewers.
Says Løvlid: -I like that things are constantly changing. As a musician I guess I am very restless, I am always searching for new vantage points and new directions to move in. However, it is not a frantic kind of quest that I am on, I feel that there is always this basic thing that I bring with me, a constant element amidst the dynamism.
This element is her firm rooting in Norwegian folk music and the sense of belonging to a tradition. Løvlid started out as a celebrated traditional singer, and it is from this base that she has developed her personal idiom and explored the universe of music; a journey that has taken her in different directions, towards contemporary and classical music as well as electronica and experimental expressions.
-My musical identity is intimately bound up with my background in folk music, which allows me to be myself in all the different settings. Folk music is my anchorage and I could not be who I am, or do what I do, with a different point of departure; that I am sure of.
Løvlid is very conscious of the great privilege it is to feel such belonging, and also of the responsibility one accepts entering into a tradition that reaches backwards in time and that also needs to look to the future:
-Traditional music is also about values and attitudes, says Løvlid. It is about receiving something that one has the responsibility for passing on. This notion of being trusted gives me a sense of security that allows me to experiment and explore.
In October, Løvlid heads out on a UK tour which, in addition to performances at regular live venues includes a very special live performance in Brighton’s Victorian sewage system.
The Brighton Festival of World Sacred Music has teamed up with Southern Water for two unique tours of Brighton’s Victorian sewers, an unexpectedly beautiful acoustically resonant setting for Løvlid’s performance.
In this unusual and atmospheric location, Løvlid’s performance will be based on her solo productions VITA and RITE. Her songs are inspired by the traditional songs from the west coast of Norway, and the award-winning artist’s voice is described by Songlines’ Fiona Talkington as ‘pure and direct, completely at ease with all the changing moods.’
Løvlid will also perform at the Warneford Hospital Chapel in Oxford, the St. Ethelburga’s Centre in London and at the Fishbourne Roman Palace in West Sussex this month. The lights will be turned down and the audience will be encouraged to close their eyes in order to ‘lose themselves in Unni’s mesmerising vocals’.
Writes RootsWorld in a recent review: ‘Unni Løvlid’s ethereal voice is spellbinding and she is regarded as one of the finest folk singers Norway has produced. Singing Norwegian folk-inspired songs this ‘a capella’ performance will sound exquisite with the chapel acoustic. “[Unni Løvlid’s] remarkable voice, as pure as a stream's refracted light and as lulling and seductive as a ripe moon”
Unni Løvlid’s MySpace site
Unni Løvlid’s Last.fm site
Unni Løvlid, Folk music singer