SKRUK for all times

Norway’s foremost choir looks back on 33 years on its new CD

It was SKRUK in the 1980s, together with Ytre Suløens Jazzensemble, that really opened Norwegian churches to church music from New Orleans. SKRUK was the catalyst for the first success of world music on Norwegian soil when in 1990 they released the record “Slipp mine fløyter fri” (Set my flutes free) with music from the Andes in South America. SKRUK brought oriental music into Norwegian choir music when in 1997 they released “Landet vi kommer fra” (The country we come from) in cooperation with singers and musicians from Azerbajdsjan.

This list of firsts goes on. From their debut album in 1977 and the cooperation with Vårsøg in 1978 through a plethora of experimentation with various genres from the East, West, North and South, through a Nicaraguan farmer fair in 2008 and to spectacular original arrangements of spirituals in 2009, SKRUK has occupied a special position among Norwegian choirs. No other choir has managed to contribute as much to renewing the Norwegian choir repertoire through innumerable projects since the debut album 33 years ago.

This winter the choir celebrated its achievements over a third of a century by releasing a greatest hits CD entitled “SKRUK til alle tider” (SKRUK for all times). Legendary conductor Per Oddvar Hildre has been the leading light in staging SKRUK’s many triumphs in Norway and abroad. He has managed the feat of keeping the special sound of the choir amazingly stable over all these years in spite of the continuous replacement of the around 50 singers. Today’s SKRUK has of course other singers than the enthusiasts who joined to establish SKRUK in 1973 in western Norway. The choir now has a waiting list for those would love to join, but for practical considerations, the choir board restricts the number of members so only one ordinary coach is needed to transport the choir.

The new best of CD offers not only a broad presentation of the choir’s many feats, but also a cavalcade of the many great soloists that have risen up through the choir, such as Helga Botn, Marit Carlsen, Anne Helen Moen, Kjetil Rasmussen, Torunn Sævik and Kirsten Ragnhild Grimstad. You will also hear guest soloists, such as Rim Banna, Katia Cardenal and Ilgar Muradov.

The 16 tracks on the record are taken from CDs which together have sold more than 400 000 copies.

“Akk mon min vei” from “Av moll er du komen til dur skal du bli” with Vårsøg (1978)
“Navnet Jesus” from “Smykker fra Bedehuset”, church musicians arrange chapel songs (1979)
“This train” from “Hallelujazz” with Ytre Suløens Jazzensemble (1984)
“Slipp mine fløyter fri” from “Slipp mine fløyter fri” with musicians from the Andes mountains (1990)
“Eg veit i himmerik ei borg” from “Landskap av stemmer”(1992)
“I byens kapell” from “Misa Andina”, newly composed Andian church music (1993)
“Guds kyrkje syng” from “En for alle”, music for Easter (1995)
“La den brenne” from “Landet vi kommer fra” with musicians from Azerbajdsjan (1997)
“Fly” from “Landet vi kommer fra”, singers and musicians from Azerbajdsjan (1997)
“Kyrie” from “Skruk på nytt”, a captivating work by Iver Kleive (2002)
“Kvifor meg?” from “Stjerna frå aust” by Geirr Lystrup, Russian folk music (2002)
“Mitt hjerte alltid vanker” from “Krybberom” with Rim Banna and Tord Gustavsen (2003)
“Gi dem lys” from “Sommerlandet”, a musical comedy by Eyvind Skeie and Tord Gustavsen (2004)
“Leid milde ljos” from “Dype stille, sterke, milde” arranged by Tord Gustavsen (2006)
“Avskjedssang” from “Messe for Kari og Ola”, Nicaraguan farmer fair in Norwegian (2008)

“Didn’t my Lord deliver Daniel?” from “Starry crowns in heaven”– spirituals a cappella (2009)

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