SUSANNA shares new single "Freight Train". Album 'Go Dig My Grave' due Feb 9th via SusannaSonata
Traditional folk song, originally by Elizabeth Cotten, covered by Norwegian artist Susanna
After recently announcing her new album 'Go Dig My Grave', which is a unique project between Susanna, Swiss baroque harp player Giovanna Pessi, accordion player Ida Hidle and fiddle player & folk singer Tuva Syvertsen reworking ten eclectic songs from seemingly disparate worlds, Norwegian artist Susanna is sharing the second track from the record "Freight Train" online now. The album is due Feb 9th via SusannaSonata.
An unnerving combination of existential despair and musical beauty, ‘Go Dig My Grave’ presents a selection of songs straddling issues of lost love, abandonment – and a merciless thirst for liquor. Speaking about her new record, Susanna explains, "I am attracted to the sad songs, and how people have used music throughout the years; it feels like they use songs and singing as a way of processing and dealing with of the difficult times in their lives. There’s a lot of similarities in the dramatic ways of telling a story in the old English ballads such as 'The Willow Song' and 'The Three Ravens' and the American folk songs like 'Go Dig My Grave' - even if the newer folk songs has more of a straightforwardness to the tragedy."
The combination of songs and genres is in many ways an exploration of music itself. From the resigned and slow rhythm of the longing "Rye Whiskey" to the metaphoric English ballad "The Three Ravens", Susanna makes connections between the acute pain of American history and the poetic qualities of the more abstract European art. Ending with a version of Lou Reed’s "Perfect Day", slightly more lighthearted than the rest of the album, Susanna leaves the listener with a hopeful sense of the transformational qualities of musical expression itself.
The album marks Susanna’s return to her collaboration with Swiss baroque harp player Giovanna Pessi. Pessi first appeared alongside Susanna on the album ‘Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos’, released on Rune Grammofon in 2007, and played a major role on the critically acclaimed ECM album ‘If Grief Could Wait’, a deep-dive into the sorrow-stricken music of Henry Purcell, Leonard Cohen and Susanna herself. This time the two have invited the talented young accordion player Ida Løvli Hidle and the great Norwegian fiddle player and folk singer Tuva LivsdaWer Syvertsen to form a quartet. The result is a dynamic band that easily masters subtle shifts from the simple folk feeling of songs like Elizabeth CoWen’s "Freight Train" to the icy beauty of Purcell’s "Cold Song" and the complex, centuries old lament of "The Willow Song".
A brand-new composition by Susanna also features on the album. "Invitation to the Voyage" is written to a poem from Charles Baudelaire’s, 'The Flowers of Evil', banned in 19th century France for its treatment of decadence and eroticism. With this piece, Susanna continues a musical tradition of interpreting Baudelaire’s words, following the likes of Alban Berg and Henri Dutilleux. The song plays on the historic soundscape that characterises much of the album, echoing the lyric symmetry and modal harmonies of the European ballad tradition, and is sparsely orchestrated by Pessi’s soft harp and ominous coloration from the fiddle and the accordion. "Quite recently I started to read Baudelaire’s ‘Flowers of Evil’. I fell in love with the beautiful poems and got the urge to sing some of them," says Susanna. "This one is the first of the songs I have written to this poetry, and a wonderful mysterious world has opened up to me."
'Go Dig My Grave' tracklist:
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Listen to "Freight Train" below: