By Sofie H. Thomassen
With one of the most powerful records of 2017, the Norwegian singer-songwriter Susanne Sundfør is touring Europe these days. On Friday March 2, the tunes from Music for People in Trouble filled every corner at Mûpa Bèla Bartòk National Concert Hall – and again, Sundfør showed that she is, without a doubt, one of the best contemporary folk and art pop singer-songwriters.
Sundfør opens the concert with ten
der acoustic guitar, and the bare instrumentation exposes the loneliness in her voice – the audience are up for a real treat tonight. After a few minutes, her two band members enter the stage, followed by applause. “Kôszônôm”, Sundfør replies with a warm smile, and tell us that this is her first time playing in Budapest and she hopes the audience will enjoy the rest of her concert.
The weight must be extremely heavy following a perfect record. This is the position Sundfør finds herself in after the breathtaking masterpiece, Ten Love Songs, released in 2015. After a melodramatic record full of orchestral ballads and synth pop, Sundfør stripped things down – her follow-up, Music for People in Trouble, is her most intimate release yet.
“I´m as empty as the earth, an insignificant birth, stardust in a universe, that’s all that I am worth”, Sundfør sings, and you can almost picture a quiet, winter evening with a moonlit sky. Sundfør and the two other band members swap between piano, guitar, flute and eventide space. But the true instrument is the gorgeous, haunting, angelic and melancholic voice of Susanne Sundfør.
In an interview with The Independent, Sundfør explained her newest album as a political statement. With songs as “Reincarnation” discussing the end of the world, “No One Believes in Love Anymore”, a pessimistic loss of faith in romance, and “Bedtime Story”, concerning environmental destruction, Sundfør makes her audience reflect. Lyrics as; “And when the night are cold and strange, and all the birds are gone, and all the oil´s been spilt, and left us on this earth alone”, are expressed with cold blue and green light surrounding the concert hall, and a single stream of spotlight, with traces of smoke, shines down on Sundfør.
Sundfør has delivered a brilliant album, following the perfection she produced in 2015. The sparse instrumentation and melancholic voice captivates the audience and bring them on a captivating journey. Music for People in Trouble left the audience at Mûpa with tears in their eyes; Sundfør, again, showed that her music is exceptionally good.
Feature Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons