Grete Skarpeid just released her second album, "Beyond Other Stories", arranged and produced by Aruan Ortiz. A film team has followed Skarpeid and her collaboration with Aruan for four years, and this autumn the documentary Grete - and the Cuban pianist
will be released.
Hi, Grete, how are you doing in these challenging corona times, and how has the last year been for you?
Last year started brilliantly with a trip to Cuba together with Aruan Ortiz, where we were invited to play at the Havana International Jazz Festival. We had some great days in Havana. This was also where I first read about the coronavirus. Since then, it has mostly gone in the corona. Now a days I am working on getting publicity about my new CD which was released last week, January 15, on the American record company Origin Records.
Yes, as on your debut album in 2016, this release is produced by the Cuban pianist, Aruán Ortiz. How did this collaboration start?
Aruan Ortiz played a concert at Voss Jazz Club on March 22, 2014 with the Don Byron Quartet. We smiled at each other after the concert and started talking. We sat talking about music and the power of music, I am a trained music therapist, and when I was going to leave he asked me if I sang. I replied that I sing a little mostly for myself, but had that day sung a couple of songs on my iPhone. I told this and asked if he would hear. Played a song, and he got excited and invited there and then that I should send him more songs and that he wanted to arrange them and record my music. This resulted in the album "My Songs" released on the German record company Neuklang in 2016. In this sense, it is a modern fairy tale.
Tell us a little about the music on Beyond Other Stories. What do we hear, and who do you have with you here?
The music on "Beyond Other Stories" is arranged and produced by Aruan. I make melodies and lyrics. I write about very different topics, everything from a heart operation, "The queen inside this room", to the refugee situation in Greece in "Cats in Crete". Writes about various topics that can be very close, but also more psychological considerations as in the song «Holding».
I have wonderful musicians with me. I have known Rob Waring for over 30 years. Cameron Brown plays bass and we met at Vossa Jazz in 2017, when he was playing with Sheila Jordan. He came to my concert there and enjoyed it very much. Aruan and Cameron often play together and he wanted to play on my new record when I asked. Drummer Gerald Cleaver also played at Vossa Jazz the same year with trumpeter Tomasz Stanko. He plays in the trio of Aruan and he wanted to join.
As the corona situation gradually eases, will we hear any of this live?
I really hope so, but it depends on whether we get gigs. There are many around the leg, but I have great faith that we will get to play something. Maybe both in Norway and in the USA.
In the autumn, there will also be a documentary about you. Tell me!
The documentary «Grete - and the Cuban pianist» is made by Smau Media and Hardingfilm as. Photographer Tore Vollan, filmmaker Vigdis Nielsen and producer Anita Vedå make the film. For over four years, they have followed me and collaborated with Aruan. It is a very exciting project. The film is supported by the Fund for Sound and Vision, the Norwegian Film Institute and the West Norwegian Film Center.
Do you have other exciting plans for the coming year?
Now we can hope that the corona situation will get better, then time will tell. I sing in a trio in Bergen and hope that we get to play a little together nearby where I live. Otherwise, the documentary "Grete - and the Cuban pianist" will come this year, so there will probably be some concerts and attention around this.
Finally, do you have a concert recommendation?
Carla Bley at the Molde Jazz Festival in 1977. It made an indelible impression. Otherwise, I'm glad that we at Voss have Lars Mossefinn who keeps Voss Jazz Club alive by offering many great concerts. It is important in these times that are challenging for everyone.
And a record recommendation?
"Inside Rhythmic Falls" (Intact 2020) Aruan Ortiz, featuring Andrew Cyrillle and Maurico Herrera.