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Tomorrow, at the Scandinavian House in New York: an interview.

I'd like to say (at first) that the Scandinavian House newsletter got their information wrong! Ms. Larsson, a lovely and rare breed of singer-songwriter, is a New Yorker now as opposed to...someone that lives in Helsinki.

She will be performing a concert tomorrow night at New York's Scandinavian House at 7 p.m. as part of their "Nordic Summer Jam." Tickets are $8 for members and $10 for all other plebeians. 

Ms. Larsson's road to success has been an interesting one, surely. As a Scandinavian, she is described as having a strong interest in "form and aesthetics." Musically, what does that translate to? While her influences are global, her own sound is solely unique.

She's originally from the university town of Uppsala in Sweden (I think this is about an hour or so from Stockholm) and studied classical musical in the Czech Republic for a bit. During this time, by performing at night clubs, she discovered a love of jazz. In 2003 though, she made the move to Finland.

Larsson's first album, Irie Butterflies, was recorded and released during this time period and managed to do well for itself. At the same time she was working on forming the album, she also took on the esteemed role as a jazz educator. About this, Larsson said:  "Teaching makes you humble. It's very rewarding to help people pursue their dreams."

Upon simply listening to her music, it's hard to pinpoint a specific influence. She comes across as this medley of jazz and various beats, intense and emotional and warm. Her bio claims she draws mostly from the "American" jazz tradition, but there's other sounds falling into there as well. 

Let It Go is her latest album, released in 2010. Since making it in Helsinki and releasing it off the Imogena Record label. You can download some songs/samples on her website, to get a real taste of what I'm talking about. 

I asked Ms. Larsson a few questions about her musical process and also any notable cultural experience she may have had, seeing as she has led a fairly international lifestyle!

You are (were*) a Swede living in Finland. What's that experience like? Does it come out in your music?

 Emma:  I moved from Sweden to Finland when I graduated from college in Sweden. It was only gonna be for a year or so, but I ended up staying there for 7 years(!) Finland is quite different from many other places... I think it might come out in certain tunes; feeling lonely or 'blue'... I actually wrote the lyrics to "Busy Being Blue" in northern Finland.  Well... I'm actually living here in NYC now... I finally moved to New York in December 2010, and it's a great experience and challenge.

How would you describe your music to someone unfamiliar with it? I've seen terms such as "jazz" and "post bop" in summaries dealing with your music- would you say that's on target?

Emma:  Definitely jazz. I'd like to think of it as modern jazz, due to the harmonies and forms. 
It seems like vocal jazz today mostly means singing jazz standards or more singer-song writer related material (although I might be wrong here...)

How was putting your last album together? Are you working on anything new at the moment?
My last album was composed in various places; from Finland to Africa to New the moment I'm writing music for my next album.

So if you're in the New York region tomorrow, be sure NOT to miss this concert! It should be great. I will be there!

(many thanks to Emma for doing this. )


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