SIV JAKOBSEN Mellows at Salon
In late August, the Norwegian singer-songwriter Siv Jakobsen released her debut album, Nordic Mellow. It received stunning praise, with Aftenposten, the largest printed newspaper in her home country giving her five out of six stars, and everyone from NPR to the BBC praising her sound in waves of genuine, heartfelt adoration.
At Salon IKSV, a premier folk and electronica club in Istanbul, the small crowd who came out to hear her sang sweetly under her softening, nuanced voice. She graced the beautiful city for just a day to propose the songs of her recent album release, and to also perform some older originals and a couple covers. She stood onstage behind her soothing guitar beside the well-dressed indie-pop musician Einar Stray who accompanied on a coolly tasteful NordStage2ex electric piano. It made for a quiet, contemplative evening of aural introspection. Through the classic airs of storytelling and music, Jakobsen is a proud heiress of the universal folk tradition that blends in the contemporary sphere with a promising delight from the ambient, wintry calm of newfound Scandinavian tradition.
Her songs are suffused with the intimate, private and romantic worlds that penetrate to the core of human experience, as all walks of life now step in greater numbers and with an ennobled confidence to hear her live. She animates the rooms of her own music with the warmth of a seasonal nostalgia perfectly timed with the launch of her first album, and simultaneously of her place in the high spotlight where lifelong artists live freely possession of that fabled, infinite creative power that has the potential make the most faithful of dreamers and break more sensitive souls.
Her presence is neighborly, as she speaks with the shy and unspoken gratitude of a reclusive friend who is suddenly and simply happy to be out. It's charming. She tried her tongue at the Turkish word for thank you, pronounced as "te-shek-yoor-lar" and laughed, saying that it was the most nerve-wracking moment of the concert. Almost every song came with an endearing story, such as with "Buried in Treasure" which she wrote as an act of empathy for a hoarder who she felt was heartlessly misrepresented in news media as a subject of mockery. She wrote the song for him, and later recorded it live for Emergent Sounds Unplugged with her 2014 European tour companion Jesse Hanson on violin. They also collaborated on the songs, "Dark" and "I Can't Fix You" which had already become favorites among her Turkish listeners.
Running a modest 30 minutes, her debut album, Nordic Mellow is very much the neo-folk masterpiece of its international repute. Her voice rises and falls, ululating with gentle force that pierces through the veil of emotional inhibition. She encourages her concertgoers to enjoy the floor as they will, as most sit and sway overwhelmed with the powerful sentiments and melancholic hush of unrequited love condensed into slow rhythms, simple melodies, new songs.
As she explained, her album was very much inspired by the year she spent in New York, where she created such moving, artistic and topical pieces as "Caroline" based on the fictional story of a transgender male. It was once back home in Norway where she wrote Nordic Mellow, and together with the gifted ear of producer Matt Ingram, who has worked with Laura Marling, her voice flies clear over arrangements that unearth the depths of a shared human need with all of the seductive enchantments of each their own secret muse.
Photo Courtesy of Salon IKSV