Unmistakably Nordic in flavor, Sofia Talvik somehow still conforms to American interpretations of her own original music, a North Sea siren blending sparkle and melancholy, creating a special niche of folk music.
I’ve just started booking my US tour, starting in Florida in December, and first of all I have to say how amazed I am by these quadrillion of music venues. It seems like every café, restaurant, library and music lover hosts concerts. I’m also amazed how many of them are folk venues, or at least host folk music as well as other genres.
In Sweden nobody even knows what folk music is, here it’s fiddles and Orsa spelmän (if you all want to know what happened to ABBA after the 80’s). (I guess I’m not being totally fair because people here have heard Fleet Foxes and mostly the folk genre is called singer/songwriter here though I don’t think it’s totally right.)
Once in an interview the reporter asked me how I would define my music, and I answered “americana/folk”. When I read the published interview my answer was American funk. That says something about Sweden and folk music. But in the US, folk music almost seems like a cult. And here I am ordering feather hair extensions tuning my Luna guitar. I will probably fit right in!
So anyways, coming from a country that may be small but is really big when it comes to music export (again with the ABBA) I must say that Sweden is a puny country when it comes to live music. I was wondering the other day how many people would actually be confident enough to host a house concert here in Sweden. To actually let musicians and other people into their homes.. I mean what would the neighbors say???
So it’s really uplifting to see how many venues there are to chose from in the US. Unfortunately I’m not alone with this knowledge and I’m competing with so many bands. I just have to pray that I stand out in the crowd and that all these people will find it in their hearts to invite me to their homes, their cafés, libraries, galleries and what not.
BluesBunny takes on the new album and gives it 4 carrots:
Sofia Talvik & the Tallboys, Street of Dreams, Makaki Music 2007
“Street of Dreams” is the second album from Sweden’s Sofia Talvik. This album is 13 tracks of quirky love songs that run deeper than they seem.
Highlight was the single “It’s Just Love” featuring Bernard Butler. Swooping and dramatic, this song is a convincing demonstration of the talent of those involved. Not that the rest of the album disappoints. “I Won the First Prize Tonight” sounds like a pleasant folk song but the lyrics are altogether darker. “Holding Your Hand” also sounds lightweight and fluffy but is in fact a touching commentary on the search for a soulmate. Ending on the bluesy “So Good to Me”, she tells us of the search for happiness once more. Unlike many of her contemporaries, Ms Talvik does not give us easy answers. There are no simplistic love songs here. Things do not often work out but we should never give up hope.
Charmingly performed and a fine example of the genre, this album makes for a pleasant and enjoyable listen. We think that a lot of people will like this release. Nothing offends here and you get a nice, warm feeling from it but it does bear up to closer investigation. There is a lot more substance there than the first listen indicates. Well worth tracking down therefore and adding to the collection. Available from her website.
Salvo Magazine appoints December their mp3 of the month in their upcoming issue. Read it first here!
MP3 of the Month Sofia Talvik – December
It’s not very often I come across Folk music that’s to my taste. Maybe it’s just a genre that doesn’t really do that much for me, I don’t know. Now, before all Folk artists out there get all defensive and start writing in complaining that I’m dissing them as a collective, please, save your venting, you couldn’t be further from the truth.
You see, although I’m not the biggest lover of Folk music in general, when it’s done properly, like pretty much any genre (especially Classical but that’s a totally different story), it can be stunning.
Look at artists like Gemma Hayes, Kathryn Williams, Nick Drake, Tom McRae or Cara Dillon, with the latter especially being truly sublime. Folk absolutely is a genre that’s both under appreciated whilst also being a backbone to music as a whole and one we must all embrace ‘for the greater good’.
That’s what leads me onto Sofia. We decided to choose December as our MP3 of the month above all other tracks off her most recent long playing effort Street of Dreams as it would be too easy to choose the single It’s Just Love based on the facts that 1 – it’s a single already and 2 – it’s a duet with one of my personal heroes, Bernard Butler, now, that would bias the vote ten fold. No, what sets December apart from the bunch is that it’s just so much more delicate than the others.
With a vocal range tinged by echoes of Dolores Mary O'Riordan Burton from the Cranberries blended with a light heartedness that in some ways isn’t too distant from Joni Mitchell in her heyday all those years ago, December has managed to remain on constant replay for a good while now and will continue to do so until another track off the album takes our fancy. Featuring an accent that does at times sound Irish it’s almost unnoticeable that she is in fact from Sweden. Don’t worry. We’ll keep the Abba references to a minimum.
Sofia has obviously been working as a solo artist for long enough now to realise where she wants to get, it’s abundantly clear that she’s working with people who are on her wavelength and are helping her do that
If there was ever a time for artists like Sofia to be in the forefront it’s got to be now, we’ve got others Acoustic Soloists like James Morrison and Blunt pushing acoustic based song writing into the mainstream and whilst we really shouldn’t pin all of our hopes on artists like these, god help us if we did, it is great to see that every now and then artists like Sofia do get the spotlight shone in their direction. 2007 should be the year that spotlight gets turned to face her and we wish her all the best when it does.
I am also green with envy that she’s worked with a hero, but I’ll get over that so don’t worry too much..