Jazzitalia - Interview with Kristin Asbjornsen
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Inteview with Kristin Asbjornsen
by Luca Vitali

Fai click qui per leggere la versione in italiano

Unfortunately, due to other engagements and the lack of time available i only managed to meet Kristin Asbjørnsen in her changing room, very late, after the concert. She was clearly very tired but very open and very kind. We started with the microphone switched off for a short introductory chat, quite informal, in which she told me that because of some distribution problems with Universal, her last album will be re-distributed through the Manifesto channel. She also anticipated that she is about to start a European tour to promote her latest Songbook album dedicated to afro-American gospel and spiritual songs.

L.V.: I must admit that I didn't know you before but I was really impressed with your last album, "Spiritual Songbook". What are your musical roots (Backgroung)?
Asbjørnsen: Oh, Thanks - well actually when I grew up I listened a lot to gospel music and after I was actually studying jazz music, contemporary jazz in Norway, so I'm educated in jazz I listen a lot to it. Some of my main influences are West African music…especially Malian music from Mali – ….yes but I think I've been listening to a lot of different music – jazz pop rock, gospel, yes so I feel that it's a mix of many influences

L.V.: Is "Spiritual Songbook" your first album?
Asbjørnsen: no its not actually because It's actually my thirteenth album – I'm an old lady hahaha (laugh)– I've basically been working with my bands Dadafon, KRØYT & Kvitretten so I've been having tree bands that I've been working a lot with for many years but this is the first solo album in a way, or actually the second because last year I was releasing a soundtrack album for Factotum so I've been working with… I've been free-lancing, I finished studying in '96 and after that I've been singing and making many albums and touring a lot

L.V.: How did such an unusual and interesting record come into mind for a Norwegian like you; is it an original project or is it an old idea that you have re-arranged?
Asbjørnsen: Spiritual songbook is based on African American spiritual its based on folk songs and I inherited, got the songs from an African American singer 16 years ago so when she died I inherited all her material and then I tried to work out my own interpretation my own versions of these songs and I've been working with these songs and different arrangements, for example I've been working a lot with Tord Gustavsen in Duo (piano and voice) for many years with these spirituals, today as well we did a few spirituals but two years ago I decided to work out new arrangements for string based and guitar based and vocal based arrangements

L.V.: What have you got in store for the immediate future?
Asbjørnsen: Right now, I'm focusing a lot on the spirituals; I'm travelling a lot in Norway with the spirituals this summer and in September our album is going to be released in Germany so we will do some concerts there as well so this year is very based on the spiritual material at the same time as working with new songs

L.V.: You promote the album?
Asbjørnsen: Promote but also touring a lot - we've been having a lot of concerts here in Norway, just been in Italy doing four gigs then Finland and Estonia then we will do 5 gigs in Italy in December so actually we are going back Hopefully coming back to Sardinia because we just booked in Sardinia in November and maybe a church tour in December

L.V.: You know other cities where you will play in Italy?
Asbjørnsen: This time we went to Rome Napoli, 2 gigs in Sardinia

L.V.: When I think of Molvaer, Aarset, Wesseltoft and Endresen come to mind, when I think of Henriksen, Kleive, Supersilent and Wallumrod come into mind, who are your ‘travel companions'?
Asbjørnsen: I think it's a mix…I've been listening to a lot of music but of course I've been listening to a lot of the Norwegian jazz scene and the more contemporary European jazz scene and also these old American standards and spirituals, afro-American spirituals and old gospel music and I also most of all I listen to west African Malian music even though its not so, you cant hear that so specified in our album its still influences there with these patterns. Many layers at the same time, do you understand, and I listen to many different singers from Mali. Because they touch me with this kind of authority and the way of singing rough and also very nuance very imposing but powerful but I work a lot with improvisation and that has been the main focus, to developed possibilities in the voice as well

Thanks a lot for taking time to answer

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Publishing Date: 06/10/2007

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