Susanna heads out on European tour this week with Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy.
Susanna Wallumrød has earned international acclaim for her interpretations of what has been called difficult classics from the catalogues of rock. Her voice, with its golden timbre of deep solitude, and the minimal arrangements seem to always unearth hidden aspects of the songs in question. Susanna exposes the interweaving relationship that exists between irresistible beauty and inconsolable loneliness. Her interpretations seem to always disclose the unexpected loveliness of a crowd pleasing rock anthem, of the innate anxiety in seemingly superficial pop tunes. Her own compositions reveal the same touch of the essential; her songs are like eyes that see in a darkness where most others are blind.
Susanna and the Magical Orchestra, the unit consisting of Susanna and keyboardist Morten Qvenild, has been the young Wallumrød’s primary musical vehicle so far. Their eponymous debut from 2004 soon drew attention abroad and word of Susanna’s special voice and the sublime songs and arrangements spread quickly. Most of the tunes were by the written by the duo, but the cover version of Dolly Parton’s Jolene was perhaps the track that caught most people off-guard. The sophomore Melody Mountain came in 2006. An album of cover versions exclusively, it explored further the debut’s special touch for surprising reinterpretation of unexpected songs.
Then, in 2007, came Susanna’s first solo outing Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos, which featured twelve of her own compositions. Again it was the hushed intensity and sometimes sinister beauty the constituted the basic motif of her music.
Judging from the two previous records one might be led to believe that the magical orchestra was the format for the special covers while Susanna would let her solo project focus on her own compositions. However, Susanna’s second solo album entitled Flower of Evil upsets this logic: The record, which was released in October last year, features ten cover tunes and two new Wallumrød compositions.
Late April sees Susanna performing in the UK, France, Holland, Belgium and Italy with no other than icon Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy.