I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve said how a certain piece of music could easily be the soundtrack for a film or TV drama and on pain of boring you yet again this definitely could be.
First, some background to these two ladies.
Hanna Ekström is a freelance violinist, songwriter and producer from Dalarna, in Central Sweden. I have been there, to Lake Siljan, the town of Rättvik, and the amazing outdoor amphitheatre with fantastic acoustics in a redundant lime quarry nearby that is ‘Dalhalla’ where musical performances take place in the summer. All stem from a meteoric impact 360 million years ago. I recommend a visit. (Memo to self, ask Swedish Tourist Board for a few quid for this endorsement 🙂 )
She’s played violin with most of Sweden’s pop artists (live and in the studio), writes and produces her own music and has recorded and arranged strings on more than 600 songs, and has played on multiple film scores.
Latterly she’s teamed up with Vera Vinter, an artist, songwriter and producer from Norrbotten, further to the north. She has released four self-written, full-length albums, and written and toured with many of Sweden’s foremost artists. In her music, she mixes lyrics in Swedish and the dialect Kalixmål, which is spoken only by a couple of hundred people in Sweden, and since the dialect has virtually vanished, they decided to pay tribute to it, presenting it within a modern setting.
Here’s an example:
“Åt djinnes/vo jär hä/in weiskning di till mi/åoråon veej inom me/jä blei lätt, ja meste frei”
I reckon you just understood why it’s as extinct as the dodo.
The end result is low-pitched electronica but always with the presence of a Swedish folk tone.
‘SÅLT Å VATTNE’ translates literally as ‘Salt on the water’ and because it’s in Kalixmål Vera could be singing the Norrbotten telephone directory for all I know, or the names on the local Polis’ wanted list.
But the words don’t matter anything like as much as the musical ambience. It is a parsimonious sound scape with dark tones that suggest Valhalla rather than Dalhalla. It’s unearthly at times, the hanging synth note (or is a harmonium?) really does the trick, and reminds me of some of the stuff Agnes Obel does, especially in parts of that song of hers’ ‘Familiar’ which they used as the title music to the Canadian TV cop thriller ‘Cardinal’, which itself was as dark as they come.
I’ll lay odds that someone in a syncing department in some movie studio in Hollywood hears this before too long and instantly identifies what they’ve been searching for.
‘SÅLT Å VATTNE’ is out now. It was recorded in Wild Cat Studio, a new creative and artistic production site for female musicians in central Stockholm founded by Hanna and Vera.
Their album will be released in the autumn.
Find them on: