Mona and Maria. My Sun.
Jansen Plateproduksjon, 2013.
It’s nearly impossible to escape Norwegian artists lately, or at least the comedy duo Ylvis and their hit song “What Does the Fox Say?” Not to leave you with only one song to represent a country’s musical abilities, I thought this would be a good chance to highlight the folk duo Mona and Maria also from Norway. Mona and Maria previously worked together as a part of Bazooka Boppers, and have been working as a duo since their old group disbanded in 2010. Earlier this year, they released their first album as Mona and Maria, My Sun, to critical acclaim.
Forgive me for not going into as much detail as I tend to, but my career as a graduate school is coming to a close with the defense of my dissertation this week. My Sun is a great way to introduce yourself to Northern European modern folk talent, as it features not just Mona and Maria but also a slew of top musicians throughout. The overall feel of the album is somewhere between Fleetwood Mac and Loreena McKennitt, with ethereal singing and eclectic instrumentations. There is plenty of diversity in this one album, with the sheer number of performers that appear in one song or another, and with the skilled composers pulling it all together. I tend to listen to more Norwegian electronica and house music because of a friend of mine, but I realize that sound isn’t for everyone. Mona and Maria, however, find ways to fit into many different genres and really aren’t easy to pigeonhole as just a single influence. Their sound leaves something for nearly everyone to enjoy. Most of the songs do have singing and lyrics, but they often blend effortlessly into one more instrument, giving a feel of pure music.
For lullabies and good nights, or simply enjoying an afternoon at work, My Sun is a treat to the ears and a mental trip around the world that I highly recommend.
Personnel: Mona Andersen (vocals), Maria Knudsen (vocals), Martin Horntveth (percussion), David Wallumrød (keys, strings), Emil Nikolaisen (guitar), Knut Schreiner (guitar), Eivind Staxrud (guitar), Kaja Fjellberg Pettersen (cello), Bendik Brænne (saxophone), and Hans Friis (trombone)
Tracks: My Sun, Northern Wind, Silent Summer, Venus, Babyflowers, Let the light, Runaways, Golden Mind, Healing Song, Shivers in the Blue