My parents, and other family friends often repeat the popular saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun”. Since starting Weekly Music Commentary, every week seems to breeze by and before I can catch a breath, it is time for another commentary. Of course, I enjoy what I do more than words can describe, yet to research and compile information to publish a post each week requires hard work. When I approach a week like this one, much of the work seems a bit easier because I am featuring an artist familiar to me. It is always good when I am also a fan. Such is the case this week as I chose to feature Scandinavian Soul singer/songwriter Marie Dahlstrom.
I was introduced to Marie’s music about four years ago and really liked everything I was hearing. A few months following that introduction Dahlstrom released her début EP entitled Feelings, an intimate, self-composed six-track release that captured her feelings through simple lyrics and strong melodies. Her music that followed the EP sticks to that same successful formula. If you have never heard any Marie Dahlstrom music, hopefully this introduction will give you a glimpse at one of the very accomplished musicians of today. Dahlstrom released two EP’s since Feelings in 2011. The Renditions, another six-track EP was released in 2013, and later that same year Dahlstrom released the eleven track EP titled Gloom. In February 2014 Marie won three Awards at the first ever Scandinaviansoul.com Award night in Sweden, as voted by the fans:
Scandinaviansoul.com Artist of the Year 2013 – chosen by Andy Collins (co-founder Scandinaviansoul.com)
When speaking of Scandinavian Soul music, the artists originate from Norway, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Dahlstrom’s home country of Denmark. Many of you reading out there may not be aware of the various musical artists from the aforementioned countries, but trust me there are quite a few. The reason is that young musicians in that part of the world are influenced by much of the same music that has swayed all other popular artists of our time. Dahlstrom lists many musicians from jazz, R&B and even gospel genres as those who have influenced her. Notably Herbie Hancock, Sarah Vaughan, Esperanza Spalding, Alicia Keys, Avery Sunshine and India.Arie are on her list among some other big names within the music industry. I mention these artists because I can readily hear how they have left their collective mark on the songs and music Marie Dahlstrom composes.
In a previous post I wrote that I am drawn to a particular type of female vocalist in modern times, and Marie Dahlstrom fits perfectly within the limits of those I appreciate most. She is a singer/songwriter/producer and instrumentalist who happens to be a technically accomplished musician. Normally, an artist with similar talents will enjoy a long musical career, and I am looking for a lot more music from Marie Dahlstrom in the future.
Well, currently Dahlstrom has released new music. A single “Let Me Be” from a forthcoming project called Hans Island. The project brings together Marie Dahlstrom and Canadian producer Mawhs. Notice the following description of the project from Dahlstrom’s manager, “Hans Island explores the melding of their two world and vast influences, bringing together two nations and styles into a metaphorical sonic space. Hans Island has a sound all to its own, using a variety of samples and percussions while keeping the synth tones relatively simple, rich and warm”.
Mawhs has had his original productions Petrichor and Retrospect’ featured on various of taste-maker blogs such as Earmilk, Hilly Dilly and Do Androids Dance, as well as his remix of Mr Carmack’s The Next Afternoon charting in the top 20 on Hype Machine. Mawhs truly adds wonderful support to the project and complements Marie Dahlstrom well musically.
Upon reading about this musical project, I wondered about the significance of the name “Hans Island”. Does such a place actually exist? Yes it does, and it is an interesting story. According to Wikipedia, “Hans Island is a small, uninhabited barren knoll measuring 1.3 km2 (0.5 sq mi), 1,290 metres (0.80 mi) long and 1,199 metres (0.745 mi) wide, located in the centre of the Kennedy Channel of Nares Strait—the strait that separates Ellesmere Island from northern Greenland and connects Baffin Bay with the Lincoln Sea. Hans Island is the smallest of three islands located in Kennedy Channel; the others are Franklin Island and Crozier Island. The strait is 35 kilometres (22 mi) wide here, placing the island within the territorial waters of Canada and Denmark (Greenland). A theoretical line in the middle of the strait goes through the island. The island has likely been part of Inuit hunting grounds since the 1300s. The island is claimed by both Canada, and Denmark on behalf of the Greenland self-government”. The two countries are not close to warring over the small island as both Canada and Denmark are currently working on an amicable solution.
Therefore we understand why the choice of the name Hans Island for this musical project. Will Canada and Denmark follow the lead of Marie Dahlstrom and Mawhs? Only time will tell. However, we certainly will have an excellent library of music from the two artists representing the nations. For now, enjoy the music of Marie Dahlstrom. Download her three EP’s as well as Hans Island when it becomes available. Sit back, listen and enjoy. Hear the wonderful music that results when musical worlds collide.