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Star of Spring (vinyl)

Anna Gréta

Star of Spring (vinyl)

Format: LP 12inch
Label: ACT music
UPC: 0614427974815
Catnr: ACTLP 97481
Release date: 29 March 2024
Buy at PlatoMania
1 LP 12inch
Buy at PlatoMania
 
Label
ACT music
UPC
0614427974815
Catalogue number
ACTLP 97481
Release date
29 March 2024
Album
Artist(s)
Composer(s)
EN

About the album

Anna Gréta goes gentle...into her second album on ACT, “Star of Spring”. The Reykjavik-born pianist, singer and a songwriter, who has lived in Stockholm since 2014, has her own refreshing way of approaching the art of quiet, artful, deeply personal songs, often drawing inspiration from the beauty and power of Iceland’s natural landscape. Her 2021 ACT debut "Nightjar in the Northern Sky" was named after a bird, and this follow-up album lands gracefully on a flower, the “glory of the snow”, also known as the "star of spring", which symbolises the ending of winter and the arrival of spring. But look closer, and there are always other levels of meaning. Her "Nightjar”, the rare bird she once saw in front of the northern sky, was a metaphor for the search for the things which are special and essential. In fact, almost all of Anna Gréta's lyrics have more than one significance, and her storytelling has now taken a leap forward on "Star Of Spring". She says of the little flower on the title track: "I wasn't just inspired by the way it takes over the meadows in spring and turns them from green to blue, but also by the fact that it blooms because it is compelled to so. It cannot do anything else."

Anna Gréta's starting point to creating music was and is the piano. She first studied classical music, then switched to jazz. She only started singing later, when she was writing the songs for Nightjar and wanted to express herself in words. Anna Gréta's debut as a singer, pianist and songwriter earned her international acclaim: Downbeat Magazine called it „an album with the metamophoric diversity of a year’s seasons and a voice like the ever-changing colours of the Northern lights“, France Musique “a remarkably immersive experience” and Jazzwise simply “starkly beautiful”.
On "Star Of Spring" Anna Gréta has further developed her individual style. Her vocal lines can resemble piano motifs, often doubling them and resonating with an impressively quiet vibrato, sometimes quirkily reminiscent of Björk, at other times with the brooding ease of Norah Jones. The album also bears a very distinctive production style. For each of the songs, Anna Gréta has created her own little world of choirs, rhythmic textures and various smartly used keyboard instruments. The album ranges from the hymnal and elegiac - in "She Moves" or in the title track - to the playful and cheerful "Space Time" or the extremely pared-down melancholic ballad "Denouement". And even if the general mood of the music exudes above all warmth and comfort, Anna Gréta also deals with serious topics, such as the forced birth control of women in Greenland during the 60s and 70s in the song "The Body Remembers".

There is a directness of expression and emotionality, even sensuousness about the new album, and that is not least because Anna Gréta’s band has developed and become a properly played-in unit with the experience to take this album’s more complex arrangements in its stride. The sheen and brightness of her piano playing is contrasted with a deeper voice, that of her father Sigurður Flosason's bass clarinet, on three tracks. "This album is more playful and experimental," she says. "A lot of things were easier for me than on the first album. And while I was still completely focussed on my own world then, now I was even more conscious and aware of what was going on around me." The result is music that is clearly rooted in jazz, but at the same time goes far beyond it in a very subtle and deeply touching way.

Artist(s)

Anna Gréta (vocals)

“Nightjar in the Northern Sky”. An iconic image that has been drawn many times in one way or another. Why? Probably because it has such a strong effect on the viewer, describing a place of longing that one is only too happy to oneself into. The album of the same name by pianist and singer Anna Gréta Sigurdardóttir, in short 'Anna Gréta', creates such a place, of vast spaces, diffuse Nordic light and comforting intimacy. Her music is shaped by this familiar and at the same time surreal Nordic sound, which her homeland Iceland literally gave her on the way from her birth. Anna Gréta grew up near the Icelandic capital Reykjavík. Her father, who is also appears as guest...
more
“Nightjar in the Northern Sky”. An iconic image that has been drawn many times in one way or another. Why? Probably because it has such a strong effect on the viewer, describing a place of longing that one is only too happy to oneself into. The album of the same name by pianist and singer Anna Gréta Sigurdardóttir, in short "Anna Gréta", creates such a place, of vast spaces, diffuse Nordic light and comforting intimacy. Her music is shaped by this familiar and at the same time surreal Nordic sound, which her homeland Iceland literally gave her on the way from her birth. Anna Gréta grew up near the Icelandic capital Reykjavík. Her father, who is also appears as guest on the album, is a jazz saxophonist. And so she has been surrounded by music since her earliest childhood. The first formative influence that Anna Gréta remembers is not jazz, but “Let it be” by the Beatles. "This song, its simplicity and power, and the harmony between voice and piano, touch me to this day." At the same time, jazz is a constant companion throughout her youth. Among many others the music of Bill Evans, his feeling for sound, space and atmosphere, opened up a whole musical world to Anna Gréta, when she was around 13 years old. Her talent for the piano came to light early on. And so did her affinity to jazz. At a young age she played her first steady jazz gig in Reykjavik - five evenings a week. And one question that will stay with you for a long time comes up for the first time: When are you finally going to sing? “I really didn't want to comply with this clichée of the jazz singer who accompanied herself on the piano and concentrated fully on playing the piano,” she recalls. And so Anna Gréta eventually moved to Stockholm in 2014, which is still at home today, to study music at the “Royal College Of Music”.
The young, talented pianist quickly caused a stir in Sweden. She began to work with prominent Swedish jazz musicians such as Joakim Milder, Magnus Lindgren, Susanna Risberg or the Norbotten Bigband and receives numerous prizes such as the “Monica Zetterlund Scholarship”, a nomination for “Jazzkatten” from the Swedish Radio and the Icelandic Music Award as “Newcomer of the Year”, the “Jazzclub Fasching Society Award”. She made prominent live appearances such as a live performance at the Nobel Prize in 2020 and a concert with her trio at Stockholm Concert Hall. In 2019 “Brighter”, her first album as a co-leader together with the Swedish guitarist Max Schultz, is being released. When hearing Anna Gréta at the piano, you become witness of an astonishingly mature artist, with absolutely profound technique, a complex understanding of style and harmony and an impressively wide range of musical expression, who has made an extraordinarily good name for herself in just a few years Scandinavian scene. So: Congratulations, keep it up, everything done right! But something, she can feel, is still there - the affinity for songwriting and vocal expression that has always accompanied and occupied her. She recalls: “I always had the greatest respect for many extremely talented female singer-instrumentalists like the wonderful Norah Jones, who is one of my biggest influences. But at the same time I didn’t want to be forced into this stereotype, that a woman in a jazz band always automatically needed to be the singer. So it was important for me to dive deeper into the piano to find my own expression and grow as a musician in a whole, until finally open up to my own voice at a point that i chose freely and not to match up with any kind of expectation.” And so eventually, over the period of two years, partly influenced by the corona-related isolation, the twelve compositions of "Nightjar in the Northern Sky" emerged, on which Anna Gréta now for the first time not only as a pianist, but also can be heard as a singer.
The album title “Nightjar in the Northern Sky” sets the tone for the world of the album: A metaphor for the Scandinavian expanse, tranquility and the close connection between people and nature, a theme that runs through the songs in many pictures. “Nature is just an enormous force in life. It is so much bigger than most of the other things that otherwise seem so significant to us. And it is, in its infinite facets, perhaps the greatest inspiration for my music. A place where the noise falls silent and you can feel and hear yourself again.” says Anna Gréta and adds: „Recently i have been developing a passion for bird-watching – something that i reflect on in the title track. When you observe nature carefully you can experience or see something unique. Sort of like searching for love. The nightjar is a bird that is rarly seen flying across the sky in Sweden and has been observed in Iceland less than five times. I feel that everyone is looking for something unique in their lives. And that nature can offer that to the ones open to see it.“ And so with each of the tracks on the album she creates little, self-contained worlds that fit into a bigger picture. Light-footed, relaxed, reduced, concentrated. An art that required a great deal of work and attention to detail. Together with pop-experienced producer Albert Finnbogason, Anna Gréta chose the perfect, hand-picked line-up and sound for each of her, at a close listen, extraordinarily refined, harmoniously and rhythmically compositions. And, although always in a coherent framework, she took elements from a very diverse range of musical styles, alternating between jazz elements and influences from pop music to excerpts from classical and folk. All these elements create a remarkably multi-layered album, which at the same time tells a coherent, bigger story. And that and allows anyone who is willing to immerse themselves in his world and let get lost in that world for a while.
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Skúli Sverrisson (double bass)

Albert Finnbogason (synthesizer)

Composer(s)

Anna Gréta

“Nightjar in the Northern Sky”. An iconic image that has been drawn many times in one way or another. Why? Probably because it has such a strong effect on the viewer, describing a place of longing that one is only too happy to oneself into. The album of the same name by pianist and singer Anna Gréta Sigurdardóttir, in short 'Anna Gréta', creates such a place, of vast spaces, diffuse Nordic light and comforting intimacy. Her music is shaped by this familiar and at the same time surreal Nordic sound, which her homeland Iceland literally gave her on the way from her birth. Anna Gréta grew up near the Icelandic capital Reykjavík. Her father, who is also appears as guest...
more
“Nightjar in the Northern Sky”. An iconic image that has been drawn many times in one way or another. Why? Probably because it has such a strong effect on the viewer, describing a place of longing that one is only too happy to oneself into. The album of the same name by pianist and singer Anna Gréta Sigurdardóttir, in short "Anna Gréta", creates such a place, of vast spaces, diffuse Nordic light and comforting intimacy. Her music is shaped by this familiar and at the same time surreal Nordic sound, which her homeland Iceland literally gave her on the way from her birth. Anna Gréta grew up near the Icelandic capital Reykjavík. Her father, who is also appears as guest on the album, is a jazz saxophonist. And so she has been surrounded by music since her earliest childhood. The first formative influence that Anna Gréta remembers is not jazz, but “Let it be” by the Beatles. "This song, its simplicity and power, and the harmony between voice and piano, touch me to this day." At the same time, jazz is a constant companion throughout her youth. Among many others the music of Bill Evans, his feeling for sound, space and atmosphere, opened up a whole musical world to Anna Gréta, when she was around 13 years old. Her talent for the piano came to light early on. And so did her affinity to jazz. At a young age she played her first steady jazz gig in Reykjavik - five evenings a week. And one question that will stay with you for a long time comes up for the first time: When are you finally going to sing? “I really didn't want to comply with this clichée of the jazz singer who accompanied herself on the piano and concentrated fully on playing the piano,” she recalls. And so Anna Gréta eventually moved to Stockholm in 2014, which is still at home today, to study music at the “Royal College Of Music”.
The young, talented pianist quickly caused a stir in Sweden. She began to work with prominent Swedish jazz musicians such as Joakim Milder, Magnus Lindgren, Susanna Risberg or the Norbotten Bigband and receives numerous prizes such as the “Monica Zetterlund Scholarship”, a nomination for “Jazzkatten” from the Swedish Radio and the Icelandic Music Award as “Newcomer of the Year”, the “Jazzclub Fasching Society Award”. She made prominent live appearances such as a live performance at the Nobel Prize in 2020 and a concert with her trio at Stockholm Concert Hall. In 2019 “Brighter”, her first album as a co-leader together with the Swedish guitarist Max Schultz, is being released. When hearing Anna Gréta at the piano, you become witness of an astonishingly mature artist, with absolutely profound technique, a complex understanding of style and harmony and an impressively wide range of musical expression, who has made an extraordinarily good name for herself in just a few years Scandinavian scene. So: Congratulations, keep it up, everything done right! But something, she can feel, is still there - the affinity for songwriting and vocal expression that has always accompanied and occupied her. She recalls: “I always had the greatest respect for many extremely talented female singer-instrumentalists like the wonderful Norah Jones, who is one of my biggest influences. But at the same time I didn’t want to be forced into this stereotype, that a woman in a jazz band always automatically needed to be the singer. So it was important for me to dive deeper into the piano to find my own expression and grow as a musician in a whole, until finally open up to my own voice at a point that i chose freely and not to match up with any kind of expectation.” And so eventually, over the period of two years, partly influenced by the corona-related isolation, the twelve compositions of "Nightjar in the Northern Sky" emerged, on which Anna Gréta now for the first time not only as a pianist, but also can be heard as a singer.
The album title “Nightjar in the Northern Sky” sets the tone for the world of the album: A metaphor for the Scandinavian expanse, tranquility and the close connection between people and nature, a theme that runs through the songs in many pictures. “Nature is just an enormous force in life. It is so much bigger than most of the other things that otherwise seem so significant to us. And it is, in its infinite facets, perhaps the greatest inspiration for my music. A place where the noise falls silent and you can feel and hear yourself again.” says Anna Gréta and adds: „Recently i have been developing a passion for bird-watching – something that i reflect on in the title track. When you observe nature carefully you can experience or see something unique. Sort of like searching for love. The nightjar is a bird that is rarly seen flying across the sky in Sweden and has been observed in Iceland less than five times. I feel that everyone is looking for something unique in their lives. And that nature can offer that to the ones open to see it.“ And so with each of the tracks on the album she creates little, self-contained worlds that fit into a bigger picture. Light-footed, relaxed, reduced, concentrated. An art that required a great deal of work and attention to detail. Together with pop-experienced producer Albert Finnbogason, Anna Gréta chose the perfect, hand-picked line-up and sound for each of her, at a close listen, extraordinarily refined, harmoniously and rhythmically compositions. And, although always in a coherent framework, she took elements from a very diverse range of musical styles, alternating between jazz elements and influences from pop music to excerpts from classical and folk. All these elements create a remarkably multi-layered album, which at the same time tells a coherent, bigger story. And that and allows anyone who is willing to immerse themselves in his world and let get lost in that world for a while.
less

Press

Play album Play album
01.
Her House
04:25
(Anna Gréta) Þorleifur Gaukur Davíðsson, Birgir Steinn Theodórsson, Einar Scheving, Anna Gréta, Magnús Trygvason Eliassen, Skúli Sverrisson, Sigurður Flosason, Albert Finnbogason
02.
She Moves
02:23
(Anna Gréta) Sigurður Flosason, Albert Finnbogason, Magnús Trygvason Eliassen, Anna Gréta, Birgir Steinn Theodórsson, Einar Scheving, Skúli Sverrisson, Þorleifur Gaukur Davíðsson
03.
Star Of Spring
03:05
(Anna Gréta) Albert Finnbogason, Sigurður Flosason, Magnús Trygvason Eliassen, Birgir Steinn Theodórsson, Anna Gréta, Einar Scheving, Þorleifur Gaukur Davíðsson, Skúli Sverrisson
04.
Catching Shadows
03:47
(Anna Gréta) Anna Gréta, Albert Finnbogason, Magnús Trygvason Eliassen, Sigurður Flosason, Skúli Sverrisson, Þorleifur Gaukur Davíðsson, Birgir Steinn Theodórsson, Einar Scheving
05.
Metamorphoses of the Moon
03:44
(Anna Gréta) Anna Gréta, Albert Finnbogason, Sigurður Flosason, Magnús Trygvason Eliassen, Birgir Steinn Theodórsson, Einar Scheving, Skúli Sverrisson, Þorleifur Gaukur Davíðsson
06.
Spacetime
04:07
(Anna Gréta) Anna Gréta, Albert Finnbogason, Sigurður Flosason, Birgir Steinn Theodórsson, Magnús Trygvason Eliassen, Skúli Sverrisson, Einar Scheving, Þorleifur Gaukur Davíðsson
07.
The Body Remembers
05:13
(Anna Gréta) Anna Gréta, Einar Scheving, Birgir Steinn Theodórsson, Magnús Trygvason Eliassen, Sigurður Flosason, Albert Finnbogason, Skúli Sverrisson, Þorleifur Gaukur Davíðsson
08.
Mother Of Dreams
03:39
(Anna Gréta) Sigurður Flosason, Albert Finnbogason, Anna Gréta, Magnús Trygvason Eliassen, Birgir Steinn Theodórsson, Einar Scheving, Skúli Sverrisson, Þorleifur Gaukur Davíðsson
09.
Imaginary Unit
03:27
(Anna Gréta) Albert Finnbogason, Anna Gréta, Sigurður Flosason, Magnús Trygvason Eliassen, Þorleifur Gaukur Davíðsson, Skúli Sverrisson, Einar Scheving, Birgir Steinn Theodórsson
10.
Nowhere
03:53
(Anna Gréta) Anna Gréta, Albert Finnbogason, Sigurður Flosason, Magnús Trygvason Eliassen, Birgir Steinn Theodórsson, Einar Scheving, Skúli Sverrisson, Þorleifur Gaukur Davíðsson
11.
Denouement
03:21
(Anna Gréta) Birgir Steinn Theodórsson, Magnús Trygvason Eliassen, Sigurður Flosason, Albert Finnbogason, Einar Scheving, Anna Gréta, Skúli Sverrisson, Þorleifur Gaukur Davíðsson
show all tracks

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