With a musical lustre like jade Solveig Slettahjell is a Norwegian jazz singer who has managed to establish a trademark, soft-gleaming expression in the musical landscapes she navigates. The slow flowing, silver dusted shimmer of her music and appearance reminds of the surface of a butterfly’s wing.
Over four records Slettahjell and her Slow Motion Quintet have nurtured this velvety, birch bark shimmering interpretation of jazz to much acclaim and commercial success, winning the Norwegian Grammy awards in 2004 for the album of jazz standards called ‘Silver’.
In 2005 Solveig was the personal recipient of two prestigious prizes, the Kongsberg Jazz Festival’s music prize and the Radka Toneff memorial award. For the prize money she purchased a grand piano which she installed in her home. This was the inception of the project that has now been completed as the album Domestic Songs.
I rediscovered lost talents on the piano, says Solveig. The instrument that I bought is such a beautiful and inspiring entity to have in the house, so I started practicing again and moving towards a personal format.
On ‘Domestic Songs’ she mostly accompanies herself on the piano, and the album has become a personal, homely piece of music inspired by things and events in the immediate surroundings of domestic life. Her band, The Slow Motion Quintet still appears on three tunes, and trumpet player Sjur Miljeteig, who is also one of the album’s producers, contributes on several of the tunes with Solveig alone. Two cover versions feature on the record, The Beatles’ ‘Because’ and Tom Waits’ ‘Time’.
Recorded in her home in February of this year, ‘Domestic Songs’ is a new development for this acclaimed vocalist. She has taken a step onwards and become a pianist and has focused her artistic expression to a new solo format. It is a record that reflects a sense of music in stripped and truthful cloaks, the way it manifests in its everyday magic.
‘Domestic Songs’ is out on Curlig Legs Records on October 8th.
In November Slettahjell embarks on a ten-date tour of Germany, Austria and Switzerland