Biography

New Album “Antologie”, Released in Norway, Oct. 14th 2011.


“This album could have been my first. This is how I started;
Coming home from school, sitting down at the piano, picking whatever song was my flavour of the day and in my childish way making it my own. Piano and vocals has always been my basic format and as I grew up, I most often played the piano myself. Then when I started studying at the Academy I met the piano-player Håkon Hartberg and started my most defining collaboration up until then. After many years of working in other constellations it is really exciting to go back to my original format and see what these years of life and music brings to it – to redo it in our way today.

I have always seen myself as singer first and songwriter second. Not that song-writing doesn´t interest me or is not important to me, but because singing is what nourishes me. So then, now to finally have the possibility to record an album with my dear friend Morten Qvenild where we sing and play our way through this rather eclectic selection of songs has been a thrill. Somehow it feels like coming home. Morten and I have have worked together for more than ten years now and his openmindedness and dedication to the music is as strong now as it was when we first met. Our interplay and friendship has been a strong fundament for our finding our way through these borrowed gems of songs. We searched among our favourites and our friends has been suggesting their favourites to us – and we have chosen the ones that spoke to us the most and trigged our urge to make music.

And so here it is; our first Eclectic Antologie.”

Solveig Slettahjell, Oct 2011
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Solveig Slettahjell (pronounced: Sul-vay Shlet-I-Yell) was born in Bærum near Oslo in 1971 and grew up in the small town of Orkanger near Trondheim. As her father was a pastor, she grew up in church. She sang in choirs from the age of 7 and began accompanying various youth and gospel choirs on the piano from the age of 13. She also sang and played her own versions of hymns, negro spirituals, Norwegian religious folksongs, as well as her own compositions.

Studies
Solveig studied classical piano and singing at a secondary school for music in Trondheim, before going on to jazz studies at the Norwegian Academy of Music in 1992. Here she met Sidsel Endresen, who was her teacher from 1993 and until Solveig finished her master’s degree in 2000. Her final exam consisted of a thesis on the rhythmic aspects of phrasing and a concert, which was the beginning of the Slow motion concept.

Musical projects
Solveig Slettahjell/Morten Qvenild
In 2011 Solveigs 2nd album on Universal Music were released in Norway. The album contains a selection of great songs carefully chosen by the two.

Slow Motion Orchestra
Solveig Slettahjell`s most important musical project the last ten years has been her own Slow Motion Orchestra which she started as part of her masters degree at The Norwegian Academy of Music. SMO recorded their first album in 2001 and has since then recorded five more albums, the last one “Tarpan Seasons” being released in Norway Sept.7.09 ( released abroad Jan/Febr 2010 )

In the early days SMO worked mainly with doing their own versions of classic jazz standards, but has developed into working with original material. The last album concists mainly of Solveig`s songs written as part of her commisioned piece for the Norwegian jazzfestival Vossajazz 09.

Slow Motion Orchestra now concists of Sjur Miljeteig – trumpet, Morten Qvenild – keys, Andreas Ulvo – keys, Even Hermansen – guitar, Jo Berger Myhre – bass and Per Oddvar Johansen – drums.

The Collaboration with Tord Gustavsen
Solveig Slettahjell and Tord Gustavsen did their first concert together in Barbu kirke, Arendal, Norway in February 2007. The two artist has found common ground in the church music that they both grew up with and the collaboration has so far resulted in one album “Natt i Betlehem” ( KKV 2008 ) together with trumpeter Sjur Miljeteig. The album concists of their versions of traditional Chirstmas hymns.

Other musical projects
At the Academy Solveig met the pianist Håkon Hartberg. Together they formed the Slettahjell/Hartberg Duo. The duo’s repertoire consisted of their versions of country songs, jazz standards, Norwegian folksongs, children songs, music by Prince, Tom Waits and others. The Slettahjell/Hartberg Duo was Solveig’s most important musical project until 1996.In 1995 Solveig joined a band called Squid, which worked with their own original material based on soul, acid-jazz, and funk music. They did many concerts until the group disbanded in 1999. Squid recorded one album, “Super”, in 1998.

In 1997 she joined the Norwegian experimental vocal quartet Kvitretten. The group consisted of the female jazz singers Eldbjørg Raknes, Kristin Asbjørnsen, Tone Aase and Solveig. Their repertoire was mostly music written for Kvitretten by the group members and by various Norwegian contemporary jazz composers. The quartet toured Finland, Germany and Sweden as well as Norway and collaborated with various musicians, vocal groups and poets until they separated in 2002.Solveig recorded two albums with Kvitretten; “Everything turns” (1999) and “Kloden er en snurrebass som snurrer oss” (2002) with Norwegian poet Torgeir Rebbolledo Pedersen.

Vocal ensembles have played a big part in Solveig Slettahjell’s musical work. She worked in the trio vonDrei for three years. vonDrei focused on classical contemporary music and the crossover to improvised music. She also worked with a larger vocal ensemble called Trondheim Voices with, among others, Eldbjørg Raknes and Live Maria Roggen (from Come Shine). In 2002 Solveig was part of Sidsel Endresen`s project Living Rooms, written for the Norwegian jazz festival Nattjazz. In December 2005 she contributed on Sidsel Endresen’s vocal work for four singers written for the “Norwegian Voices” concert in London.

Solveig Slettahjell has also contributed to various recordings, such as Jon Balke`s “Batagraf” (ECM 2005) and Friko, “Burglar Ballads” (C+C Records 2003), ”Journey to Mandoola” (C+C Records 2006) with trumpet player Sjur Miljeteig (Slow motion quintet) and drummer Peder Kjellsby (who wrote six of the songs on Pixiedust). In 2007 she contributed on Norwegian Crown Princess Mette Marit’s Hymn collection ”Sorgen og gleden” (KKV 2007).

Discography
Solveig Slettahjell Slow Motion Orhestra: Trapan Seasons ( Universal 2009 )
Solveig Slettahjell: Domestic Songs ( Curling Legs/ACT 2007 )
Solveig Slettahjell Slow Motion Quintet: Good Rain ( Curling Legs/ACT 2006 )
Solveig Slettahjell Slow Motion Quintet: Pixidust ( Curling Legs/ACT 2005 )
Solveig Slettahjell Slow Motion Quintet: Silver ( Curling Legs 2004 )
Solveig Slettahjell: Slow Motion Orchestra ( Curling Legs 2001 )

Solveig Slettahjell og Tord Gustavsen: Natt i betlehem ( Kirkelig Kulturverksted 2008 )

Kvitretten: Kloden er en snurrebass som snurrer oss ( Curling Legs 2002 )
Kvitretten: Everything turns ( Curling Legs 1999 )

Squid: Super ( Forward records 1998 )

Awards
Solveig Slettahjell’s Slow Motion Quintet received the Norwegian Grammy, Spellemannsprisen, for their album Silver, in February 2005. In July 2005 she received the “Vital-price” at Kongsberg jazz festival and Radka Toneff`s memory award at Molde international jazz festival one week later.

Teaching
Solveig Slettahjell teached jazz singing from 1994 – 2006. She was in charge of the jazz singing lessons at Agder University College from 1997 – 2006 and she also taught jazz singing at the Norwegian Academy of Music from 2000 – 2006.