This collection of experimental pieces for five voices and electronics is definitely not in the wheel house of your average grumpy old audiophile, but if you can power through your preconceptions about songs and melodies you might find that Song Circus will evoke feelings and emotions that are as rewarding as they are unsettling. So no, you will not be humming these pieces to yourself after listening in your car on the way to work. This is brain music, to put it succinctly, something to help you define your own expectations when it comes to your musical sensibilities. Song Circus will either challenge you and expand your horizons, or it will make you head for the exits. But I can’t think of a more informative recording in my entire music collection. If you patiently listen to Song Circus in its entirety, you’ll emerge from the experience knowing more about your sound system and how it interacts with your listening room. You’ll also know more about your brain, and how it interacts with new information. – Marc Phillips, The Vinyl Anachronist, Feb 2016
Opus HD Magazine: Le groupe vocal Song Circus composé de six artistes, Stine Janvin Motland, Maria Norseth Garli, Liv Runesdatter, Anita Kaasbell, Eva Bjerga Haugen et Ronnaug Bakke, est spécialisé dans la musique contemporaine et l’improvisation. Il propose ici deux œuvres, « Landscape With Figures » de Ruben Sverre Gjertsen, sur des textes de Damian Vitanza et James Joyce, puis « Persefone » de Ole-Henrik Moe JR. Ruben Sverre Gjersten a étudié la composition à l’Académie Grieg de Bergen auprès de Morten Eide Pedersen et James Clapperton avant de suivre les Masters classes de notamment Brian Ferneyhough, Klaus Huber, Salvatore Sciarrino, Philippe Hurel. Ole-Henrik Moe JR fit ses études de violon et de composition en Norvège, en France et en Allemagne. Sa rencontre avec Iannis Xenakis, à la Sorbonne à Paris fut, pour lui, déterminante. Comme au temps de la chanteuse et muse de Luciano Berio, Cathy Berberian dans les années soixante, c’est une technique vocale nouvelle que l’on aborde ici, faisant la part belle à la virtuosité. Dans une mise en espace particulière, la musique se déploie avec rigueur et force, laissant l’auditeur à la fois spectateur et acteur d’un univers aux repères déplacés qu’il faut reconsidérer à l’aune d’un partage émotionnel totalement nouveau lui aussi. Avis aux amateurs.
Stavanger Aftenblad (newspaper of western Norway): “Warm as the sun of spring, sharp as the night of April! Yesterday night Liv Runesdatter and her ensemble delivered a synthesis of old and new sounds. The program was brilliantly put together. The ensemble created a meditativ, pieceful hour in the sunset.”
NRK (The Norwegian National Broadcast): «What we hear is a heartfelt, personal music, with a rare creative fantasy: Liv Runesdatter, remember her name. A certain voice, encircled by a powerful ensemble of musicians. The sound on the cd is experienced as clear and near, and I immediately recognize small details: crackling, air without sound/delay through the saxophones, a hint of splintered bowstrokes.. It is blessed, it is cheerful and drifting, and it is heavy and refreshing at the same time. It is imaginative art! The material is well worked through and well arranged, and at the same time with interresting improvisations. Also the cd challenges the Norwegian tradtional style, both through Runesdatters voice technique, and through the catchy and untraditional musical solutions.»
Folkforum.nl has chosen “Syng hjerte” to be one of the finest cd´s of the year 2009. The review (folkforum october): Among new Scandinavian releases I´ve chosen Liv Runesdatter with the fascinating and quiet cd “Syng hjerte”. The album sounds distinctive, exciting and subdued. What a voice! She is a true promotor of Norwegian tradition, but it is also “improvisational music in it´s heart”. Her solo debut gives the accordion and the Hardanger fiddle an important role, but also two saxophones, played by biggies from the Norwegian jazz and improvisational music: Rolf-Erik Nystrøm and Trygve Seim. But instead of technical “showoff” the cd offers dreamily caresses. Have a listen to the traditional lyrical interpretation of “Jeg har en venn”.
“A quiet humanism: Young asylum seekers waiting in quiet isolation and human dignity (…). A music track appears in the room: a sound composition created by Liv Runesdatter. It s suggestive and helps to reinforce the soft, poetic atmosphere. The result is strong: visually, aesthetically, politically, emotionally.” Review by Trond Borgen Stavanger Aftenblad October 2010. Press the link “projects” to read more about “Passasje” and “Asylum”.
FolkWold issue #40 http://www.folkworld.eu/40/e/cds.html: The second album in this review is Syng hjerte by singer Liv Runesdatter. It’s her first solo album, but she is far from unknown in her home country. She has been part in many projects and her work has been awarded several times. She studied, and sings, chamber and early music and collaborated with national and international known artists in many genres. Runesdatter shows to belong at the top of Norwegian music. Although her music breaths the Norwegian air, it also has something modern and unique. Her voice is warm and has a natural peacefulness. She search for simplicity in her music, like in Jeg er nå så glad which is a duet between her voice and the subtle saxophone played by Rolf erik Nystrøm. It reminds me of the ice cold traditional jazz of Jan Garbarek, without being a copy of his style. When Runesdatter sings one of the many psalms on this album, I feel the ancientness of these songs and when she is backed by the Hardingfele, she brings the dales of South-Norway to live. Two albums from Norway, two solo debuts and two albums that are worth having in your CD collection. (Eelco Schilder: Reviewer, Author. (Based in Malden, Netherlands. Contributor to Dutch folk magazine New Folk Sounds)
Ocean, wind and a nesting bird was the frame when the traditional music conquered the jazzfestival. (..) When she performed a lullaby from Suldal or an old religious prayer from Vestfold, she sometimes let her voice sunk down to an almost unhearable wisper in front of the quiet, intensly listening audience. Outside the wind is hunting the grass beetween the hills. The waves roll white towards the land, and through the dark clouds shines beems of light. Inside Liv Runesdatter tells stories about the people that she has met or heard about while working on tracing the old melodies. It was a blessed and soothing experience. Sometimes the song stood on it`s own, sometimes it was hunted by waving, playing or yearning sounds going back and forth. Those that missed it have a new chance tomorrom. Don`t miss it!” Geir Flatøe, Stavanger.
Østlandsposten (newspaper of eastern Norway): “Playful, near and warm. A distinctive, elegant experience. Beautiful, fearless vocal and varied, fresh accompagnement made “Song to heaven” a wonderful concert.”
Norsk Viseforum (Norwegian Songwriters Magazine): “The songs are followed by untraditional arrangements, sometimes dreamy and sometimes rythmical defiant. Together with the cd “Syng hjerte” is a small booklet and a beautiful little text. You must admit they have done good job with the arrangements. Runesdatter sings beautifully, as such are the texts and the melodies. Followed by the floating and dreaming arrangements, you recognize it as something special. The ensemble between the accordion and the harding fiddle touch me. In the song “So, ro snubberusken min” Liv Runesdatter sings together with Vidar Skrede on baglama, it’s world music. So long “Solrenning Sæle” is my definitive favourite. Excellently done!”
Spelemannsbladet (The Norwegian national magazine for traditional music): Old, spiritual songs with a sound bringing a heavenly yearning through generations of lived lives, is the gift Liv Runesdatter brings us on this cd. She is an artist who creates something new out of old material. Together with her musicians she creates a young, beautiful and elegant expression. Liv Runesdatter has made a pleasant recording that opens new rooms to experience and discover the songs.”
Syng Hjerte, by Liv Runesdatter, is the culmination of several years of studying obscure songs from a small pietistic laymen’s movement that formed in the eastern region of Norway during the mid-1800’s. Liv’s voice throughout this recording is breathtakingly gorgeous and hymn-like. The music, however, is more avant-garde, even bordering on atonal at times. The instruments used are Hardanger fiddle, accordion, sax, double bass, melodica and baglama, but rarely more than one or two instruments at a time or per song. Most of the arrangements are sparse, which serve to punctuate the instrumentation even more.
Syng Hjerte opens with the delicate “Nu Hviler Mark og Enge,” which layers Liv’s voice over subtle pizzicato of the fiddle. From there, it ventures into more worldly and adventurous territory. “Hos Gud Er Idel Glede” calls to mind the music of the Rom, with it’s dark fiddling and tones, while “Skal Vi Ustridig Hist,” featuring the melodica, is extremely experimental. The album closes with the meditatively sublime a cappella piece “Nu Solen Går Ned.” The standout tracks are the title track “Syng Hjerte, Syng en Aftensyng,” featuring the exquisite fiddling of Tuva Bolstad, and “So, Ro Snubberusken Min,” where Liv is backed solely by the baglama. Syng Hjerte is both reverently soothing and exotically jarring, but well worth a listen. To hear several tracks from this recording and learn more about this project, visit Liv’s MySpace page. Lori Gordon, UK
Noch weiter nördlich hat sich die norwegische Sängerin Liv Runesdatter für ihre erste Solo-CD ausfürlich mit den Volksliedern Ostnorwegens beschäftig. Bei zahllosen Tassen Kaffee sammelte sie in langen Gesprächen mit Sängerinnen und Sängern in Altenheimen pietistische Psalmen und Hymnen des 19. Jahrhunderts fand zusätzliche Lieder in Archiven und fügte daraus das Programm “Syng hjerte – Sing, my heart” zusammen. Mit ihrer kargen Instrumentierung, bei der die klare und warme Stimme oft nur von einem Akkordeon, einer Hardangerfiedel oder einem saxofon begleitet wird, strahlt die Aufnahme eine konzentrierte Stimmung und fast meditative Tuhe aus. Jazzthetik-Magazine, Deutchland. Guido Diesing.
Østlendingen og Halden (newspaper for Eastern Norway and Halden): “Beautiful traditional psalmes: She sings wonderfully, and surrounds herself with Spartan music. Some of the songs are meditative, others are more unruly and playful. These people know what they are doing.”
Interview The foregner: http://theforeigner.no/pages/entertainment/a-different-swing/
Interview German broadcast: Intervju tysk radio
Die norwegische Sängerin Liv Runesdatter veröffentlicht mit “Syng Hjerte“ (“Sing Heart“) etwas für unsere Ohren ganz Besonderes: Ein Album in ihrer Heimatsprache. So klingen die 12 Titel herrlich mystisch, verdreht, abenteuerlich, verhalten. Aber damit leider auch schwer zugänglich. Da hilft das Booklet immens, in dem wir die englischen Übersetzungen zu den Stücken finden, die man stilistisch nur mit puristischer, norwegischer Folklore bezeichnen kann. Runesdatters Stimme ist klar wie ein norwegischer Gebirgsfluss, hat in der Intonation oft etwas Mittelalterliches. So ein Projekt verdient Aufmerksamkeit. Soultrain, Germany
“Magnificent contemporary dance: DancePro presented a glittering and exotic performance in front of a big audience at Tou Scene yesterday night. From soft and sensual to powerful, hard beating and staccato: the variety of the performance contained a colour palette of different and new, contemporary movements. Most of the music was composed for the choreographies and suited the dance very vell. Wonderful electronica and cool samples flow out from the speakers, while accordion, trumpet and drums were performed next to the stage. Liv Runesdatter impressed with a wonderful clear voice in the tradition of folkore. The variation og the movements, the use of video intallations and the facinating soundscape made an intimate and alive atmosphere, and a distinctive performance. The audience seemed to love what they saw. Excited hands met each other in an entusiastic applause, with grow while the performance and ended as a standing tribute. What a fantastic audience, said musical leader Liv Runesdatter, after the second evening with full house.” Stavanger Aftenblad 2005 (newspaper of western Norway)