BEATE S. LECH: “MIN SONG OG HJARTESKATT” (My song and my cherished ones)

“Grandfather’s fingers
danced playfully with the keys.
He tirelessly pumped the pedals.
Breathed life into the instrument.
The reed organ sang its bitter-sweet song in the living room.
I was sitting with my doll on the soft wall-to-wall carpet
and feeling so at home.

– This is how this love started.”

The lead singer of the jazz band Beady Belle, Beate S. Lech, has inherited a passion for hymns and religious folk songs. But she feels this is a male-dominated field; at least when it comes to the lyricists.

If you check for the percentage of women who have written the lyrics of our most well-known and well-loved religious folk songs, you can count them on less than one finger. Beate wanted to do something about this. She approached three female lyricists and asked them to help her write new lyrics in Nynorsk (one of the two official Norwegian languages), to put them to old melodies she loves, and the result is the album “Min song og hjarteskatt” (My song and my cherished ones), now being released by KKV.

“I had learnt to do it myself now.
With eager child’s hands
I carefully placed the needle on the spinning vinyl disc.
An empty crackling pause.
And then: ‘Jazz in Swedish’.

– This is how this journey continued.”

While growing up, Beate S. Lech had a particularly close relationship with the legendary Swedish album “Jazz på Svenska” (Jazz in Swedish), which the pianist Jan Johansson and bassist Georg Riedel recorded in 1964. She wanted to bring some of the same aesthetics into her hymn project, and managed to get the great Georg Riedel himself to join her in a special band to accompany and supplement Beate’s interpretations of the well-loved melodies with new lyrics. The band also includes Erlend Slettevoll (piano), David Wallumrød (harmonium, Hammond B3, Prophet and Clavinet) and Knut Aalefjær (drums). For the album Riedel used the same double bass he bought in 1958 and which he six years later used in the recording with Jan Johansson.

The three lyricists Beate has involved in her project are Marit Kaldhol, Hilde

Myklebust and Bente Bratlund. She has also included poems by her late maternal grandmother, Borghild Slettevoll. Beate has also written the lyrics that conclude the album.

“Min song og hjarteskatt” was recorded in Kulturkirken Jakob in Oslo over a few days at the end of September. Erik Hillestad produced and Martin Abrahamsen recorded.

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