Album. 14 songs. Gateway Music.
Music by Maria Elizabeth
Lyrics by Maria Elizabeth & Ib Michael
Guitar, ukulele, vocals: Maria Elizabeth. Piano and vocals: Steen Rasmussen. Bass: Mikkel Riber. Recitation: Ib Michael. Drums: Kim Thomsen. Vocals: Jesper Siberg.
Production: Maria Elizabeth. Additional production and mix: Jesper Siberg & René Cambony.
Cover painting by Per Kirkeby. Greenland Watercolor 2011. Used with kind permission from (c) the estate of Per Kirkeby. Additional photos: Gorm Valentin.
"Prins", ("The Prince") by renowned Danish author, Ib Michael, is a extraordinary lovestory in the style of magic realism. It is the story of the sailor, Jonas Bertelsen, who is separated from the woman he loves, Aviaja, when he dies on his ship in the sea near Greenland. Fifty years later he returns to his hometown as an angel and is finally reunited with Aviaja at her funeral. The story is seen through the eyes of the 12-year-old boy, Malte, whose presence is a red thread through the novel.
Maria Elizabeth´s music to "The Prince" is a symbiosis of lyrical and upbeat tunes ranging from hymns to popsongs in adition to intrumental pieces and the song "Rosenkrans" ("Rosary") which combines classical with popular and folk music. The song "En engel" ("An angel") is a Christmas single from 2021 and was added to Spotify´s editional playlist. The single "Aske og roser" ("Ashes and Roses") received airplay at the Danish National Radio in a production by producer Henrik Balling. Contrary to this production, the album is consisting of almost minimalistic arrangements, mainly acoustically performed with piano, ukulele, guitar, bass, and vocals. Ib Michael recites excerpts from his novel in between songs creating a concept album in which the sound of the ocean and recitation leads the music forward as a storytelling.
Review by Ivan Rod of the music magazine, GAFFA
Maria Elizabeth: The Prince
May 6 2022
It has been seen and heard many times before – that a singer, a songwriter and/or a musician falls in love with a literary work and attempts creating a lyrical/musical work from the literature – attempts to extract or create a new work of art from it. The performance and execution of this, in my opinion, is not always successful – sometimes the enterprise succeeds, at other times it clearly doesn´t. It is therefore always with a certain amount of trembling that I listen to new albums that are inspired by a literary work – do they succeed in their endeavor, or not?
When they fail, I believe, it is often, due to the fact that, the singer, songwriter and/or the musician shows too much respect for the author and his work and does not have the ability or the courage to alter the work and create a new work of art from it. I see that very danger before me, when reading the press material for this new album, “Prins” (“The Prince”), and read that Maria Elizabeth has thrown her efforts at Ib Michael´s novel, of the same title – and when I sense that she obviously is captivated by him; and that there even has been a productive and “a special musical and lyrical collaboration” between the two.
Regarding “The Prince” it is my opinion – as quoted from the Press material for the album in a statement by Ib Michael – that Maria Elizabeth has “found the music and the songs inside the novel and liberated them from the pages”. It is my opinion, that Maria Elizabeth has had the strength and the stamina to trust her own reading; that she has accomplished the writing, singing and recording of the fourteen new songs with a special refined trait; and with her crystal-clear voice and her self-disciplined awareness of style, truly created a lyrical & musical work of a high caliber.
True, she is backed by a strong team of musicians – Steen Rasmussen, piano i.e., Mikkel Riber, bass, Kim Thomsen, Drums, and percussion, Jesper Siberg, backing vocals and “The Girl´s – and Boys’ choir of Southern Jutland” conducted by Mette Rasmussen as well as recitation by Ib Michael – but at the core of the project & sound Maria Elizabeth is present, amazingly strong with her voice, her ukulele, guitar and programming etc. In my opinion, she manages to give Ib Michael´s musical and rhythmic language new life. Songs such as “Dybe fjorde” (Deep Fjords), “Søvngænger” (“The Sleepwalker”) and “Rosenkrans” (“Rosary”) stand out like just three examples of fourteen thoroughly worked through and impressive pop- and/or singer-songwriter-material. Maria Elizabeth´s focus, her compositional and vocal technique as well as her sense of a simplistic expression invites a feeling of respect. ****
The online music magazine, CAPAC, wrote:
“…..This project by Maria Elizabeth is different and exciting – it deserves a large audience. My recommendations!”
Album. 14 sange. Gateway music.
Musik: Maria Elizabeth
Tekst: Maria Elizabeth & Ib Michael.
Guitar, ukulele, vokaler: Maria Elizabeth. Piano og vokaler: Steen Rasmussen. Bass: Mikkel Riber. Recitation: Ib Michael. Trommer: Kim Thomsen. Vokaler: Jesper Siberg.
Produktion: Maria Elizabeth. Yderligere produktion og mix: Jesper Siberg & René Cambony.
Coverbillede af Per Kirkeby. Grønlandsakvarel 2011. Med venlig tilladelse af (c) The Estate of Per Kirkeby. Yderligere fotos: Gorm Valentin.
“Prins” er et magisk realistisk kærlighedseventyr af forfatter, Ib Michael, hvori hovedpersonen, sømanden Jonas Bertelsen, dør på sit skib i havet nær Grønland og skilles dermed for altid fra sit livs kærlighed, den grønlandskfødte Aviaja. Bertelsen vender tilbage til sin landsby halvtreds år senere som engel, hvor han endelig forenes med Aviaja ved hendes begravelse. Historien er oplevet gennem den tolvårige dreng, Maltes øjne, hvis tilstedeværelse er en rød tråd gennem romanen.
Maria Elizabeths musik til ”Prins” er en symbiose af musikalske genrer fra lyriske salmer til upbeat popsange og igen til instrumentale stykker i klassisk stil med træk af folk og pop. Sangen ”Rosenkrans” er et usædvanligt eksempel på en sang, der blander alle disse stilarter. Sangen ”En engel” udkom som julesingle i 2021, hvor den var på Spotifys editorial playlist. Singlen ”Aske og roser” blev spillet på P5 i en produktion af Henrik Balling, mens selve albummet er indspillet i næsten minimalistiske, hovedsageligt akustiske arrangementer, for klaver, ukulele, guitar, bass og vokal. Lyden af havet og Ib Michaels recitation mellem sangene giver albummet, der kan beskrives som et konceptalbum, en fortællende dimension.
Se anmeldelse fra Ivan Rod, GAFFA, på bloggen.
**** / Eget selskab / 51 min. / Også anmeldt i musikmagasinet gaffa.dk
Anmeldelse fra musikmagasinet CAPAC:
”……..det er et spændende og anderledes projekt Maria Elizabeth har kastet sig over denne gang – og det fortjener at få mange lyttere. Hermed anbefalet.”
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