Terese Lien Evenstad

Terese Lien Evenstad’s new album Movement is released by BERTHOLD records 21st April 2023. The line-up: Terese Lien Evenstad (violin and composition), Britta Virves (piano), Arvid Jullander (bass),  Peter Danemo (drums), with guest Alexander Ivarsson (clarinet).

Movement was inspired by Evenstad’s summer trip to Italy with her husband, Alexander Ivarsson. Many of the ideas for the album and some of the songs were kindled during a five-kilometre journey through a mountain cave formed by water. “It was eye-opening and stunning,” she recalls. “A metaphor for the past couple of years during the pandemic – how people can get through difficult situations, like water finding its way through stone and creating something new. My last few years have been a movement with both challenges and lovely experiences that have developed me both as a musician and on a personal level. Now that I’m out on the other side, I carry both past and present perspectives. The album contains old and new songs and reflects the last few years in my life.“

Evenstad describes her time away in Italy as a break in the “energy loop” consisting of work, practice, gigs, etc.– life at high speed with little time for creativity. “In Italy, the melodies just came to me. In the cave, sitting on the beach or the balcony overlooking the sea, I hummed the tunes, then recorded them on my phone. With Alexander, I created melodies and chord arrangements. I also worked with Peter, the quartet’s drummer, who is a professor of composition. So it’s been a great cooperation with my band members.”

The song United is reminiscent of the music that plays “when you walk down the aisle to marry the love of your life. But, of course, we all know that neither love nor life is a cakewalk, but the most important thing is to be a team and forever care about each other.”

Nemesis tackles the composer’s sense of mystery and foreboding. “I met my nemesis when I was composing this album. I had a lot of pressure because the songs had to be finished on time for the recording session. Nemesis is the name of your greatest enemy or rival, and the biggest rival may be in your own head. The only way to get away from your nemesis is to choose another direction and state of mind.”

Contact with nature has often inspired Evenstad in her composing. “A forest clearing was magical, like a streak of light in life that appears when you least expect it. I let go of my thoughts and took in the beauty that unfolded, which led me to write the song Glade.”

Flow is a melody about a small stream and the calming effect of the pouring sound.

The composer envisions mountains and landscapes in The Hills Have Eyes, meditative and softly played. “What if the mountain peaks could see? What have they seen throughout history? Nature offers us so many metaphors for life.” As a child, Evenstad spent much time in the mountains of Norway, where she was born and raised. She moved to Sweden with her family when she was eleven and has lived there ever since. She began learning violin at the age of seven and played classical music until high school when she discovered jazz, later studying the subject at the Ingesund School of Music, then graduating in 2016 at the Stockholm Royal College of Music, where she met the other members of her quartet.

“With jazz, I found my form of expression,” she explains. “In classical music, you have to play perfectly. That’s also beautiful but so different. With jazz, I can tell stories through my music in my own way, employing different genres. For example, the violin sound is sometimes close to folk music.” This is evident in the song Baba Jaga based on a Slavic folk tale about an evil witch who steals, cooks, and eats her victims, usually children. She flies around in a mortar and wields a pestle, which, says Evenstad, inspired the groove. “I like to bring different flavours into my music,” she says, “It’s often not something that I am aware of – it’s almost at the subconscious level. And it’s so creative to play in a band with other jazz musicians because we can develop new things in the present.”

Evenstad’s compositions have been described as “modern atmospheric jazz, varied expression, and pulsating energy, with melodies capable of painting images in the head of the listener” (Sydsvenskan, Alexander Agrell).

She has been lauded as “… a musician and composer with great musicality and passion. She moves freely between different genres and utilizes her technical skill to blend into the music she performs. Her imagination and ability to phrase and improvise make her a particularly exciting musician” (Janne Schaffer).

Evenstad is ably supported by the excellent musicianship of her fellow band members, with wonderful piano playing by Virves. There are also fine clarinet solos from Ivarsson. The album takes its audience on an adventurous musical journey and makes for stimulating listening.


Ian Bild. January 2023


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