[twitter style=”vertical” float=”left”] [fbshare type=”button”] [google_plusone size=”standard” annotation=”none” language=”English (UK)”] This bubbly and spicy French musician takes her stage name from “Solveig’s song”, a musical extract from the Hendrik Ipsen play “Peer Gint”, composed by the noted Norwegian born pianist and composer, Edvard Hagerup Grieg, who lived until the 4th of September 1907.
So right out from the start, it is clear that Solveig sets her standards to a high level of artistry.
She has learned to play the violin and the piano. She has danced and done theater. She continues to write poems, personal reflections, quotations and stories…which eventually lead to songs.
Solveig however finds her safest refuge in singing.
Manifesting her fresh, colourful eletro-jazz and pop sounds, on her debut album entitled, “Bienvenue” (meaning “Welcome”).
The album was produced by Rene de Wael and Solveig herself, while being mastered in Paris by Mathieu Berthet.
“Bienvenue” draws it’s sounds and textures from a wide variety of genres, ranging from classical to pop, from rock to jazz and even soul to reggae, but it has it’s major affinity with the acid jazz style made famous by the world-renowned band, The Brand New Heavies.
The title track on the album, slides in on a finger snapping and acoustic strumming guitar riff. Rising to a joyous hand-clapping-like back-beat. All this is intertwined with deep and delicate vocal harmonies. Solveig holds her bubbly champagne voice right up front, in the mix. You might not understand a single word of her french lyrics, but the music and voice on “Bienvenue” seem to take you off on a wonderful joyride along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, in Paris.
“Que veux-tu trouver”, (which roughly means “What will you find”) is another pearl by this French singer-songwriter. The beautiful combination of electric piano and acoustic guitar rhythm keeps this mid-tempo track, funky and light, while the harmonious vocal interchanges and scatting between Solveig and Gilles Sonnois adds soulfully driven undertones.
“Jo” which is one of my favourite tracks on the album, opens with an electric piano tone that once was a trademark for Billy Joel and Stevie Wonder. The orchestration includes some intriguing sitar riffs, giving the song an exotic touch, over and above Solveig’s clear cotton candy voice. Gilles Sonnois also shines on bass.
It becomes clear, after listening to the first 4 tracks of the album, that the vocal harmony arrangements and melodies are one of Solvieg’s stronger creative points.
In “A la recherche du bonheur perdu” (which in a very rough translation, means “In search of lost happiness”), Solvieg walks the ¾ reggae tightrope beat, keeping everything tight and clean. Her music never intrudes, nor disappears into the background, but rather integrates and blends with the atmosphere and it’s surroundings.
This is primarily because Solveig’s arrangements are are not messy, noisy or overproduced. She keeps everything within easy-listening bounds.
The use of many acoustic instruments and natural sounds lend tremendously to making the sound of “Bienvenue” very “listener friendly”, warm and real.
“Fais tourner le terre” and “Je cours” are other gems on this twelve track debut album, where you’ll find delectable violin and cello arrangements, sizzling jazz guitar solos by Rene de Wael and some solid percussion work by Alain Richard.
For me, over and above everything else, this album is a tribute to carefully designed pop vocal arrangements. Always catchy, crisp and clean. The choruses and bridges of all songs on the album are filled with luscious layers of voices, making sure the listener never looses interest.
This ultimately demonstrates that Solveig is not just a creative songwriter and storyteller, but clearly a very capable vocal specialist.
Put all these traits together and you have a talented artist who rises high above the barrier that her French language songs may presume to generate.
Her deliciously unpretentious and colorful artistic approach to sound and words will make it’s way into your heart almost instantly.
And if you want it to make it’s way into your head as well…then you’ll just have to learn a tiny little bit of French.
A very small sacrifice to make, to wholly savor such a considerable talent, don’t you think?
Visit Solvieg here: Solveig’s Homepage