Ann-Marita - The Purple Ribbon Sessions (www.annmarita.com) Ann-Marita Garsed upptäckte jag av en händelse nyligen, en norsk singer/songwriter bosatt i Los Angeles. Jag har lyssnat mycket på hennes fullängdare »Intuition« från 2007 och ep’n »The Purple Ribbon Sessions« som kom för tre år sedan. Ann-Maritas musik förenar vackert västkustcountryn med landsdelens soligare rock- och poptradition. »California Sun« som inleder ep’n borde också gå rakt in i Californias solskenskanon, medan en sång som »Karoline With A K« är ett stycke djupt gripande countryepik om norsk utvandring till USA. Och en sång som »New Plan« är rätt och slätt lysande countryrock.
Ann-Marita - The Purple Ribbon Sessions (www.annmarita.com)
I recently discovered Ann-Marita Garsed by coincidence, a Norwegian singer/songwriter living in Los Angeles. I've been listening to her full-length album "Intuition" (2007) a lot, and the EP "The Purple Ribbon Sessions", which came out three years ago. Ann-Marita's music blends beautiful West Coast country with the region's long tradition of sunshine-flavored rock and pop. "California Sun", which kicks off the EP, is a blast of California sunshine, while the song "Karoline with a K" is a piece of deeply moving country music storytelling about the Norwegian migration to the U.S. And the song "New Plan" is straight-up brilliant country rock.
- Magnus Eriksson
from The Norwegian American · Published September 6, 2017 ·
Three musicians come together in Alaska to showcase Norway’s traditional music.
Terje Birkedal, Anchorage, Alaska.
She leans forward into the mike when she sings, her face framed by long blond hair. In her Sunnmøre bunad, she resembles a princess from the illustrations in Asbjørnsen and Moe’s Norwegian Folk Tales. On her right is a tall, lean young man with a mane of swept-back brown hair wearing a vest and intently playing a traditional Hardanger fiddle; on her left is another young man, but this one is stocky with long hair that makes him look like a perfect extra for a Viking movie. Instead of swinging a sword, he’s energetically playing a large, dark-colored accordion.
They are three accomplished Norwegian soloists who came together in Anchorage, Alaska, to give a performance called Norwegian Notes for the Anchorage Lutheran Concert Series on August 6, 2017. Though they’d only been playing together for two and a half weeks, the solo performers complemented each other with their musicality and well-choreographed collaboration. As their tour organizer, Mari Eikeland, explained, “Each brings something to the performance, so they shine together and make a musical marriage.”
The lead singer of the newly formed group, Ann-Marita Garsed, comes from the Geirangerfjord area of Norway, but she is now based in California where she has released three independent albums. She has performed professionally in Europe and Australia at a number of world-renowned music festivals. She is known for the range of her voice and her charismatic stage presence.
Skogen Sällström is the Hardanger fiddle player. He is from Trondheim, Norway, where he earned a master’s degree in Norwegian music from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), specializing in both the Hardanger fiddle and the classical violin.
Knut Erik Jensen is the Viking look-alike. He plays both the piano and the accordion, and he too received his master’s degree from NTNU. In 2014 he and Sällström toured Seattle, Vancouver, and Fairbanks, Alaska, in their notable Arctic Memoirs Project.
What made these three performers stand out was their willingness to share their knowledge with the audience. For instance, Sällström first played the traditional tune “Rotman-Knut” on the Hardanger fiddle, then explained that the tune had also been arranged for piano by the famous Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. Jensen then sat at the piano and showed the audience how different the same tune sounded in classical piano mode.
Similarly, Sällström talked about the great Norwegian violinist Ole Bull who promoted the sounds of Norway across Europe and North America in the 19th century. He then played a beautiful and haunting Ole Bull tune, “Et Sæterbesøk” (The Seter [Mountain Farm] Visit), just as Ole Bull would have, not on the Hardanger fiddle but on the classical violin. Garsed spoke about the Norwegian immigrants who came to the U.S. during the time of both Ole Bull and Grieg and then sang a song of her own composition called “Karoline.” This song, sung in English, in an “Americana style,” tells the moving story of her great grandfather’s sister, who immigrated alone as a young woman.
After the concert, I was able to speak at length to Eikeland and the musicians. They emphasized that Norway’s traditional music is not simple to play or sing; it is immensely complex and intricate. Sällström explained that what makes Norway’s music unique is its heavy emphasis on the minor as opposed to the major scale, which is typically more dominant in Western European music.
The musicians of Norwegian Notes continue to bring recognition to Norway’s musical traditions through their masterful performances and teaching. They also have other projects in the making. One day they hope to put together a musical that would tell the story of Norwegians in the Klondike. But for now, they have gone their separate ways as soloists, only to perhaps reform next June.
To learn more about these Norwegian musicians, visit their websites: www.annmarita.com, www.knuterikjensen.com, and www.skogensallstrom.com (the latter still under construction). Also, search for their names to find them on YouTube.
This article originally appeared in the Sept. 8, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. ”
- Terje Birkedal
“The LIST Magazine
Feature Artist: Ann-Marita.
"I try to always tell my stories exactly the way they feel to me, as opposed to trying to guess what the majority of people might want to hear. It seems to work. Turns out, a lot of us feel the same way about certain things, but you just have to look for that raw, sincere way to say it."
The LIST: How'd you get into Music?
Ann-Marita: I was born and bred in a tiny farming community in Norway. I have since then lived in Sweden, Iowa, Australia and now Los Angeles, California, so yeah, I've been getting around. I always gravitated to music, but there wasn't much of a supply of it in rural Norway, so I took to listening to my Dad's old country records, then trying to re-create what I was hearing with my voice - and an antique church organ that you had to stomp on to get a sound. The sound wasn't all that great, though, so instead I started jamming on a big boulder that with a bit of imagination could look like it had the shape of an upright piano. To a little kid of five, the rock piano sounded fantastic. But luckily, I finally got a guitar at fourteen...!
The LIST: Who are some of your influences?
Ann-Marita: My musical influences are very diverse. I find something I like in pretty much every genre, and it just depends what kind of mood I'm in. Timeless artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, and Etta James are always major sources of inspiration to me. As songwriters, I adore Roger Miller, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. Strong women with distinct voices, including Bonnie Raitt, Patty Griffin, Shelby Lynne, Shawn Colvin, Allison Moorer, Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton...well, they rock my world. Stepping outside music for a second, I must say that Oprah Winfrey has been a great inspiration to me through the years. I mean, what has the lady NOT done?
The LIST: What have you been up to recently?
Ann-Marita: I've been getting ready for lots of touring in the coming months. I'm performing at all these festivals and fairs over the spring, summer and fall, including Norway Day Festival in San Francisco, California Music Industry Summit in Oakland, and Norsk Hostfest in North Dakota - the largest Scandinavian Festival in the U.S., where I'm on the bill with headliners Martina McBride, The Judds and Trace Adkins. My music has also been getting a lot of internet radio play lately. (...) In addition, I've been getting these really cool endorsement deals with companies like Daisy Rock Guitars, Tradition Guitars and Shubb Capos.
The LIST: What do you bring to the industry?
Ann-Marita: Well, there's the obvious thing; I'm a country/americana artist from Norway. Not many of us around. I've also brought with me so many different influences from the corners of the world I've called home at some point, and some of the comments I get about my music is that it defies any formula. I try to always tell my stories exactly the way they feel to me, as opposed to trying to guess what the majority of people might want to hear. It seems to work. Turns out, a lot of us feel the same way about certain things, but you just have to look for that raw, sincere way to say it.