Nordic Music Central Viking Hero

Songs for the end of the day from Alterne and Siri Neel (both Denmark)

Alterne (Denmark) – Finland (sample track from the album Alterne)

Two songs from Alterne’s debut album have already featured in NMC, both of them thoughtful pieces on subjects as diverse as appreciating what people who cross your path bring to your life and the value of ‘living for the moment.’

In both cases too, the quality of the music from the Alterne trio of Ida Marie Jessen, Oscar Beerten and Maimu Jõgeda has been evident throughout.

They use traditional instruments such as violin, hardanger fiddle, kantele, accordion, guitar and stomp box to unite influences from those instruments with modern Danish songwriting and to blur the boundaries between folk, pop, and ambient.

I chose the opening track, ‘Finland’ for a variety of obscure reasons including that none of the trio is from that country (Denmark, Belgium and Estonia to be accurate) so they’re not writing and playing from longstanding personal experience.

But the main one is that whatever the subject matter here it puts to the test their ability to “create an atmospheric musical landscape.” What does Finland amount to? Apart from being a new NATO member, and a 1340 km border with Russia, it is a country of vast pine and spruce forests and 190,000 lakes. (We’ll set aside reindeer, saunas and self-deprecating humour).

Does that sense of space, nature and isolation pervade this highly atmospheric piece? Is the Pope Catholic?

It is six and a half minutes of utter relaxation, the sort of thing that should be part of any visit to a psychiatrist and culminating in a rushing waterfall effect that I can’t imagine how they created.

And yet there is an edge to it as well. The sombre violin parts in particular, backed up by accordion and a heavenly vocal part could belong to a Nordic Noir TV drama. In fact the theme music could be fashioned out of it.

So, both restful and challenging at the same time; a rare combination.

Alterne celebrates the album release with touring in Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Finland, Denmark and Hungary during spring and summer 2024.  

Find them on:



Siri Neel (Denmark) – Into the Night (single/future album track)

Siri Neel is another returning Danish artist, and not only to NMC, being a singer-songwriter who lost her voice literally to nerve damage which prevented her from singing for six years.

She put that right with a couple of songs we have featured, including the last one, ‘I bet you know’, which was also the first from a forthcoming album.

This follow up, ‘Into the Night’, deals with the importance of hanging on to long-established relationships when they encounter an obstacle, and not throwing everything away on a whim.

That’s intriguing because all the psycho-talk these days is about the need to “love yourself” and when the need to love someone else seems to play second fiddle.

Not so much #MeToo as just #MeMeMe.

She cites herself as evidence of her philosophy, saying that while she is “an independent woman chasing my music dream, at the same time I need the support I get from home for my career.”

On this occasion she’s chosen to work with Morten Winther, who is known for his song writing contributions to hits by major Danish artists such as eee gee and Jada. The mention of eee gee in particular put me on high alert.

Siri is billed as an international pop artist and you only need listen to her for a few seconds to get that. There is a lush sound that cannot be compartmentalised by country and which you’ll assuredly hear coming out of shops, restaurants and bars across Mediterranean resort cities this summer.

She has been compared to Kate Bush in the past (and not only by me) and that was the case for sure with an early single, ‘Disappear’.

But here, I think the best way I can describe her is to ask you to think back to the 1980s and that groundbreaking electronic sound Kim Wilde and her brother produced with ‘Kids in America.’

I see there are many 80s retro/revival festivals in the UK this coming summer (that’s what we call those precious few days when we see the sun) and I sense a full scale revival of that greatest of all pop music decades is on the cards.

Navel gazing introspection is becoming passé to many.

If ‘Into the night’ is typical of the direction Siri Neel is taking on the album she will be very well placed to benefit from it. (An 80s revival I mean, not gazing at her navel!)

Find her on:



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