Frode Fjellheim: Northern Lights Cantus
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- 2Dona Nobis Pacem04:29
- 3Northern Lights03:31
- 4Winter's Night03:26
- 9Mu Vaibmu04:26
- 11Pater Noster03:39
- 12Night Yoik04:20
Info for Frode Fjellheim: Northern Lights
They inspired one of the biggest films in box office history, and now the women of Cantus – the Norwegian choir who sang the opening track to Disney’s animated hit Frozen – are releasing their very first album on Decca Records, entitled Northern Lights. Cantus not only provided the opening music to the film, but also inspired the costume design with their traditional dresses (‘bunads’) and themes of strong female characters and sisterly love.
From a population of 170,000 in rural Trondheim, 32 women helped unearth the ethereal sounds of Norway to the world. During the first research trip to the country, Frozen’s producers stopped at a shop and picked up some CDs for the journey. Driving around the country exploring the beauties of the land, the producers in turn discovered the sound of Cantus, the hidden voices of Norway, and the ‘yoik’ – a traditional form of song from the Sami people of the Nordic countries.
Comparable to the chanting of some Native American cultures, the yoik often mimics the sounds of nature, and this is evoked in many of Cantus’ recordings on the new album. The lead track, ‘Vuelie’ – or ‘Earth Song’ – weaves the celestial voices of the all-female choir with steady chanting reminiscent of repetitive rain or snow, in the all familiar opening to the hit film. Written by composer Frode Fjellheim, the involvement with Disney has given the choir and
composer much attentional across the globe. Since the film’s release in 2013, Norway has seen a 20% increase in tourism, with Disney enthusiasts as well as music and culture lovers flocking to the country to experience the real Frozen.
Frode comments: “With this new album, we hope to expose the world to the rich heritage and music in Norway. I’m so proud of the choir, who’ve worked tirelessly on the recordings. It has been a truly wonderful project to work on.”
Since its establishment in 1986, Cantus has been led by one of Norway's most acclaimed conductors, Tove Ramlo-Ystad. A singer herself and the choir’s Artistic Director, Tove focuses on pure and simple vocals, honing in on the beauty of the natural tone, while still maintaining homogeneity. This sound lends itself well to contemporary and traditional Norwegian folk music, for the harmonious yet personal sound for which Cantus have become renowned.
Speaking about her time with Cantus, Tove said: “We have a saying in Cantus that we give from our hearts to your hearts. With our music, we have the opportunity to give something to other people, to give joy and happiness, and to be a part of that is very special. I am tremendously proud of everything the girls have achieved.”
The choir members are women aged between 20 and 40, and all have day jobs outside the choir, ranging from student to nurse, hairdresser, lawyer and architect. The powerful female bond between choir members and their charismatic conductor is evident in their live performances and recordings, producing a sound that is almost otherworldly, and is one of the secrets behind their success.
The album was recorded in Trondheim, and produced by Jon Cohen, who has 21 top five classical albums (including 14 number ones) and 17 Classical Brit awards to his name. The album will be released on 12th May 2017 ahead of National Day of Norway on 17th May 2017, which sees processions and celebrations throughout the streets, with women all wearing their bunads on this day.
The recent signing to Decca Records sees the choir embark on a new chapter in their musical journey, bestowing audiences with the magical sounds of Cantus and reflecting the musical heritage of Norway.
was founded in 1986 by a group of teenage girls who wanted to sing in a choir where they themselves could be in charge. More than 20 years later, Cantus is still a choir which likes to follow its own ideas. A lucky strike led to the crossing of the paths of the newly founded choir and the young singer and conductor Tove Ramlo. Tove became Cantus’ first, and so far, only conductor.
Versatility has always been one of the main characteristics of Cantus. During our entire existence we have altered between different musical genres and feel as much at home with popular music, folk music and jazz as with contemporary music and the classical choral music. We have participated in a number of international choir competitions and we believe that this has helped us to focus and perform at our best when needed. In addition to this we have also put up a number of stage performances with popular music which train us in communication with our audience. Both of these approaches have been equally important in the forming of our identity.
The members of Cantus are all amateur singers and we spend a lot of time on the choir both artistically and with the running of the organization. Being a member of Cantus is a time-consuming activity but we have great fun. And all this time we have been in charge ourselves.
has been Cantus’ conductor since the choir was founded in 1986. Tove has a permanent position in Cantus but the relationship between Tove and Cantus is much more than a simple contract. The growth and reputation of Cantus is firmly linked to Tove and her creativity.
Tove was educated from Trøndelag Conservatory of Music followed by a Master Degree in music from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. She has continued studying choir direction with Stefan Skiöld and more recently with Anders Eby, Professor of choir direction at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden.
For many years Tove worked full-time as a freelance choir instructor but has recently taken up a part-time position at the Norwegian Choir Association, South Trøndelag Region.
Tove Ramlo-Ystad is one of Norway’s most acknowledged choir conductors. She is a very popular and inspiring guest conductor nation-wide and she is frequently used as an adjudicator in international choir competitions.
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