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Review: Kari Bremnes, Fantastisk Allerede

Kari Bremnes
Fantastisk Allerede
[Kirkelig Kulturverksted FXCD 362 2-cd (2010)]

Kari Bremnes might be best known in this country for her guest appearance on Tom Russell’s The Man From God Knows Where and her involvement with the Lullabies From the Axis Of Evil project. In her native Norway, she’s had a long and varied career, first as a folk musician and later as a songwriter and as a jazz/folk inspired contemporary singer. This two disc set collects music from all her solo recordings, starting with the 1987 release Mit Ville Hjerte to her latest, Ly (Home), released in 2009, plus a few unreleased tracks as well as a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows” sung in Norwegian. The tracks run in chronological order, and show how she developed her trademark sound: shimmering guitars, fretless bass and atmospheric keyboards, all solidly anchored by her strong, adult contemporary-style vocals.

The first disc includes many cover songs, where she’s often helped out by brothers Lars and Ola (who both have their old solo careers). But starting with disc two, Bremnes is responsible for all the music and lyrics. With thirty-three tracks and everything sung in Norwegian, it might be a bit much for a starting point to explore her music. But those willing to take the chance will find a richly rewarding musical experience by a strongly focused musician. [www.kkv.no; http://www.karibremnes.no]

You can watch a video of Bremnes performing at the Norwegian Opera House here.

—Jim Lee (Simi Valley, CA)

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