[The cloak of hope] a musical story about three holy rooms and our earth – a new album with Solfrid Molland.

We have many different religions, but only one earth. Standing up together for our earth regardless our faith or worldview is the underlying idea behind a new album released by Solfrid Molland and her talented musicians. In the holy scriptures of the large world religions we find messages of peace and love and powerful texts about protecting the world that has been created for us. The album has three new compositions by Molland dedicated to a synagogue, a mosque and a church. Molland and her ensemble also perform songs about peace taken from texts found in these three religious traditions that Erik Hillestad has then transformed into lyrics.

The participating musicians are, in addition to Solfrid Molland (song/piano/accordion/ composer), Hayden Powell (trumpet), Mats Eilertsen (double bass), Aziz Kossai (oud/ vocals), Daniel Lazar (violin).

When talking about faith and worldviews we often focus on dissimilarities. This may be important so we can see challenges and avoid sweeping disagreements under the rug. But, in a time when our country is becoming increasingly multicultural and multi-religious, it is also important to point out our common heritage and values – to what unites us in spite of our different worldviews. Now, when we need to find solutions to problems together, such as the climate-change crisis and the Corona epidemic, it has never been more important to acknowledge that while we have many religions we only have one earth that we share. Standing side-by-side for our earth and for the best interests of us all is a very important peace project.

The album Håpets kappe has nine songs and three instrumental compositions written by Molland, inspired by, respectively, Oslo Cathedral, the Oslo Synagogue and the Mosque Islamic Culture Centre at Grønland in Oslo. She also sings a Norwegian, Jewish and Arabic folk song. The other songs are Erik Hillestad’s lyrical renditions of texts from the holy scriptures of the three religions that convey the humanistic message to live together in peace and take care of our planet. Ingvar Hovland  has also contributed with a song about nature.In her music, Solfrid Molland reflects musical trends in contemporary Europe with a tonal language in the intersection between Norwegian, Arabic and Jewish folk music and Western classical music – bound together by the musicians’ improvisations.

About Solfrid Molland:

Molland, a singer, pianist and composer, has previously released three albums on the KKV label with Gypsy songs and her own compositions inspired by different European cathedrals. The album Håpets Kappe continues in the same vein as her previous release Forvandling [Transformation] (2016), which praises nature. Her projects are built on her deep love and extensive studies of European musical culture, ranging from classical music to busking.

In 2017 she was granted “Statens arbeidsstipend” [Arts Council Norway work grant for artists] to expand on her project of writing music inspired by European churches and compose music dedicated to a synagogue and a mosque, and also to dig deeper into Arabic and Jewish folk music – an important part of our European cultural heritage. Molland trained as a classical pianist at the Norwegian Academy of Music and has a Bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Oslo. In 2015 she was awarded Oslo City’s Artist Award for her musical collaboration with Romanian buskers in the city.

From press reviews about Solfrid Molland’s previous album, “Forvandling/Transformation” (2016):

“So beautiful I could cry,” 6 on a scale of 1 to 6, music blogger Erik Valebrokk.

“There are not many albums like this that transport the listener into a state where all one’s senses are sharpened, where we come closer to reality, and where time just stands still.” Vårt Land [Norwegian daily newspaper].

“A masterwork of a transformation. With an all-star team of musicians Solfrid Molland presents music and lyrics in a way that will take most people’s breath away.” 6 on a scale of 6, Tysvær Bygdeblad [Norwegian local newspaper].

Quotation from a review of her last concert:
“Magical concert! The ensemble captivated the audience so much that one person rose spontaneously during the break and said: This music does not find its way through our ears. It goes straight to the heart.
John Johansen, Sarpsborg Arbeiderblad [Norwegian local newspaper]

More about the musicians
Hayden Powell (trumpet)
trained at the Jazz school in Trondheim and the Norwegian Academy of Music. He has worked extensively as a freelancer in jazz and improvised music. His Hayden Powell Trio has released four albums of his music with great critical acclaim. He plays with performers such as Natacha Atlas, Eyolf Dale’s Wolf Valley and Iro Haarla (ECM).

Mats Eilertsen (double bass) was educated by the jazz school at the former Trondheim Conservatory of Music. He has released eight albums in his own name (ECM) in addition to his innumerable recordings and concerts in Norway and abroad with such artists as Trygve Seim, Solveig Slettahjell, Tord Gustavsen, Parish, Sonny Simmons and the Kornstad trio.

Aziz Kossai (vocals/oud) is a classically trained oud player from the Conservatory of Music in Tangier in Morocco, and is an important source of Arabian folk music and classical Arabian music in Norway as a solo artist and playing with Solfrid Molland.

Daniel Lazar (violin) has a Bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Music in Belgrade and a Master’s degree in classical violin from the Norwegian Academy of Music. He learnt East European folk music from his grandfather and has released the award-winning album Roots in collaboration with the accordion player Almir Mescovic. He tours Norway and Europe performing classical music and folk music.

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