Jenny Lysander — Northern Folk ≡•≡ Celé album pociťuji jako tajemství: zašeptala intimní a důležitou píseň. A pak dalších 11. Myslím, že když písně mají teplo a jednoduchost, kterým nic neurčuje jejich zakotvení v určitém čase, dává to smysl. Tvoří jednoduchou, živou scénu, ale je to ta scéna, která by mohla být stanovena kdekoliv: všude tam, kde jsou studené prameny a ranní světlo prostě tak poznenáhlu pohyblivé...Born: 1993
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Album release: April 27th, 2015
Record Label: Beating Drum Records
01. A Painter’s Brush 3:23
02. Giving Thanks 3:26
03. Dancing On The Edge 3:26
04. Blackbird 3:58
05. Northern Folk 3:18
06. Arms Wide To The Sky 3:25
07. Lavender Philosophy 2:33
08. Under The Willow Tree 3:26
09. This Boat 4:25
10. Jag Målade Fan På Väggen 3:42
11. Mind Me 4:17
12. Were We Both Lions 3:38
℗ 2015 Beating Drum
••• Accurately reflecting place through music is no mean feat, but 21–year–old Scandinavian folk artist Jenny Lysander has perfected it. Her debut album Northern Folk, released on April 27th, manages to paint exquisite pictures of Nordic scenery in twelve concise tracks. Seeming lyrically and vocally far beyond her twenty one years, the Swedish folk artist has created a work of art.
••• Opening track ‘A Painter’s Brush’ wastes no time in setting up the stunning landscape which continues to be a crucial running theme throughout the album. The track is sparse, perfectly conjuring up images of harsh snow and long winters. When beginning to border on too frosty, a warming woodwind section lightens the tone and restores balance.
••• The album contains some beautifully simple tracks; ‘Giving Thanks’ and ‘Blackbird’ being among the few which would make ideal lullabies to lilt someone to sleep. Standout tracks ‘Dancing on the Edge’ and ‘Northern Folk’ hark back to more traditional folk songs, and wouldn’t sound out of place accompanying a period drama.
••• Jenny’s impressive vocal range is obvious in ‘Under The Willow Tree’; the accompanying male vocals balance the melody, with both voices exuding fragility yet still retaining a sense of self–assurance. In the atmospheric ‘Mind Me’, Jenny’s stunning vibrato is showcased, clearly proving she is not talented solely in song–writing.
••• Northern Folk lays bare the sparse and often unforgiving landscape of Swedish countryside, yet balances this with the welcome warmth of woodwind and acoustic guitar. The song titles alone are enough to mesmerise, painting pictures of boats, willow trees, blackbirds and lavender. Comparisons to Laura Marling are easily drawn here: Jenny’s voice is remarkably similar in that it is withdrawn and delicate, yet simultaneously poised and well–articulated. There is a sense throughout that Jenny is sticking with what she feels most confident doing, as the tracks begin to somewhat blend in to one as the album progresses. Having said this, Northern Folk is a remarkably confident debut album, and hopefully a sign of things to come from Jenny Lysander. ••• http://weareunseenpress.com/ © Credit Anders Edström
By: Martyn Coppack | May 1, 2015 |
••• Jenny Lysander is one of those musician that appears out of nowhere but has a back story where they pick up a guitar and start writing songs at an early age only to arrive fully formed by the eventual release of their début album. We’ve been here many times before and will again in the future.
••• So it is an absolute pleasure to report that Lysander is one of the rare ones who actually is exceptionally talented and has the possibility of matching up to the heirs of greatness such as Joni and Marling. There’s a way to go yet but on the showing of this album, Northern Folk, there is every reason to believe she will. Leaving aside those two previous luminaries though, there is much more of a Kate Bush feel about Lysander’s work. She imbues her songs with an otherworldly feel which transcends the moment and delivers an almost psychedelic feel to proceedings. It’s acid folk for a new generation mixed in with a certain Swedish charm which does wonders for the ears.
••• Highlights are aplenty with the upbeat ‘A Painters Brush’ setting the scene, the desolate pang of ‘Dancing On The Edge’ or the rather kooky and fantastic title track which manages to imbibe medieval nursery rhyme feelings into a jaunty beat. It’s as if the residents of The Wicker Man have produced a creepy love–child who will both swoon and terrify.
••• Lysander has a beautiful timbre to her voice, which never needs to reach for those high notes and totally disarms you as it evokes images accentuated by the at times childish lyrics. The wonderful accompaniment is sparse and serves to paint a backdrop to Lysander’s stories as every great folk song should do. And this is folk music, if of the more kooky variety, and one that is not as earnest as Laura Marling’s anguished cries for acceptance. It doesn’t have the soul searching pain of Joni Mitchell either but then not a lot of musicians do, it’s a bar to set your sights on but never to reach.
••• As a début album, Northern Folk is a minor triumph and very rarely bores. Repeated listens reveal more colour and nuance which goes to show the multiple layers at which Lysander is operating. It’s not perfect and there is room for growth but that is the case with every burgeoning folk artist and in Lysander we may just have a keeper. It will be interesting to see where she goes next and fans of artists such as Marling or even John Grant will find lots to love here. ••• http://echoesanddust.com/
Helen Marie Grant | Score: ****
By Lisa–Marie Ferla, Thursday, 23 April 2015
Promising young Swedish songwriter reinvents pastoral folk.
••• Jenny Lysander was born in 1993 and has been writing songs and playing the guitar since the age of thirteen. She currently lives in Stockholm, where between traveling and playing, is studying Chinese philosophy at Stockholm university. Jenny Lysander’s music has an eerie other worldliness to it, her songs like the bare Nordic shores that she hails from, depict the cold blue horizons of unknown internal landscapes, where a winter sun rises briefly before setting once more. Melancholy and delicate, they breathe nonetheless the hope and courage that comes from staring a hard truth in the eyes.
••• Jenny's debut full length album will come out on Beating Drum in April 2015, and is produced, arranged and recorded by Piers Faccini.
••• When I was a littly I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. In absolute bliss. ••• My grandmother was — as I remember her — always glowing, always happy, always ready to play a game or tell a story or think of something to do. She used to tell stories about her past and my grandfather’s. One of them was of how my grandfather had really wanted to become a pianist, but had decided it was a silly idea and become an engineer instead. I remember I wrote letters to him, pretending I was different clients of his, coming from this or that part of the world, asking him to invent this or that kind of machine. He used to laugh at these. A very silent restraint kind of laughter. Otherwise I remember him as very silent. He had that sharp look of intellectuality and composure. Always busy. Never any free time. But always calm in a strange kind of way. He did play the piano every now and then, and every time he did, my grandmother stopped whatever she was doing and made me do so too and just told me to sit down and listen. I was always too restless to listen, it didn’t make any sense to me — “too many notes”, I told my grandmother quoting the movie Amadeus that my mother almost watched on repeat at the time. So my grandmother would send me out on the balcony telling me to try to copy every bird, every insect, every little noise I could hear. She said that would help me learn to enjoy my grandfather’s piano playing. It didn’t really… But I learned to respect it warmly. And I became a good bird whistler too. But otherwise what that lesson mostly taught me was probably that I was a major daydreamer.
••• When I was there and my grandmother was not with me, I remember her working in her garden. For some reason I have a memory that both my grandmother and my own mother really wanted to grow lavender in their gardens and struggled with it for a long time, but they never succeeded. So lavender has a sort of mysterious meaning to me, and I always think of my grandmother and her lavender philosophy when I hear it, see it or smell it._____________________________________________________________