Owerset - my commission for Celtic Connections' New Voices series 2018 - is out now and is available both here and on Bandcamp. The reviews have been rolling in... See below...
I am really proud of the album. Despite having written tunes and having arranged numerous pieces over the past umpteen years, I had never embarked on a compositional project like this before, so it was new territory for me. All the music was written from scratch within 3 months, fitted in around an already really busy diary which included a tour in Germany with Juhani Silvola.
Through writing this, I discovered the extent to which I am not an A person, not a B person, perhaps not even C! Almost all of the music was written between the hours of 9pm and 2am, my favourite time of the day: the time when peace descends and I manage to find the ability to truly focus inwards. Living where we do, it is also a great time of day to watch the lights of Oslo twinkling in the distance from our wee house on the hill. Stove on, big mug of tea, it’s a really inspiring time of day (er, night) for me.
The theme was Scots and Gaelic words that originate from Old Norse. For example, did you know that the word ‘kilt’ originates from Old Norse? Or that there was a group of peoples known as the Norse-Gaels?
I am so lucky to have been able to work on this project with a truly amazing bunch of musicians. All open-minded, truly fine musicians (as well as people), four out of the six have moved country, thus embodying the theme of movement of people / culture / language:
Bridget Marsden – fiddle (Eng/Swe)
Hayden Powell – trumpet (Eng/Swe)
Leif Ottosson – accordion (Swe)
Juhani Silvola – electric & acoustic guitars (Fi/Nor)
Morten Kvam – double bass (Nor)
Sarah-Jane Summers (Sco/Nor)
To continue the theme of movement of people and open-mindedness when it comes to art, the front cover is a detail from a painting by the Oslo-based Italian abstract artist, Alice Ciccone.
LIRA – Recommended – “Att här få lyssna på deres vackra og fängslande samspel är inget annat en örongodis.” / “Listening to their beautiful and captivating interplay is nothing less than ear candy.”
“Owerset is a feast of great music, with something for any fan of folk traditions.” (The Living Tradition)
“ambitious and jubilant” (Stirrings)
“The album presents an exciting new compositional voice that combines Scottish and Nordic traditions with the playfulness of jazz and the sonic explorations of contemporary music… an excellent example of how the Scottish and Nordic traditions converge … highly recommended” (Box & Fiddle)
Album of the Month - “étonnante et puissante collaboration qui mele le folk écossais, le jazz et la musique contemporaine … Sarah-Jane Summers va vous époustoufler, vous épastrouiller, bref vous surprendre à chaque moment” / “amazing and powerful combination that mixes Scottish folk, jazz and contemporary music … Sarah-Jane Summers will amaze you, make you scream, surprise you every moment” (Le Canard Folk)
“Summers is an extremely inventive fiddler and arranger and Owerset is an album that deploys every instrument of its sextet skilfully … The album would go down a storm at arts centres and on Radio 3.” (Songlines)
“The songs on this album ooze originality and leave the listener with a warm and comfortable glow…” (Shire Folk)
“This mixture of Norse and Scottish, ancient and modern, runs through the album which is exceptionally fine – possibly Sarah-Jane’s best work.” (Folking.com)
“a delight from beginning to end” – Album of the Week (Roger Williams, Mixcloud)
Album of the Week / Clàr na Seachdain - Caithream Ciùil, BBC Radio nan Gàidheal