I was fortunate to have the opportunity to interview one of the most endearing singer / songwriters around on a cold October morning. Lena Andressen is a Canadian – Faroese musician with four studio albums out, including her latest, “Letters From The Faroes.”
The recently dropped album has been selected as the album of the year in The Faroe islands, and Lena is currently on tour promoting it. “Letters from The Faroes” is as inventive and as intimate an album as you’ll ever find.
Here’s most of my brief morning interview with lena:
Your latest album letters From The Faroes, which was released in Denmark yesterday am I right ? It seems like a really interesting album, could you tell us a bit about it ? What’s the inspiration behind it ?
Yes it came out yesterday and it’s inspired by the feeling of being uprooted, the constant longing for elsewhere that I sometimes tend to feel. I’ve grown up in Cananda and on The Faroe islands so i’ve always tended to long for one thing or another and this sense of longing, of uprootedness is reflected in Letters From The Faroes.
The cover design is pretty unique too., as a letter with stamps and love hearts on it Was this your own idea ?
Well it was mine and Niclas, the guy I write most of my stuff with. The idea was to bring back a bit of feeling as far as the art of letters being something that is dying or certainly something that is less common. The CD case feels and looks like a letter, which brings back the idea of feeling being involved in music. Letters from the Faroes, the album title refers to the songs on the CD, which for me are like different letters that capture the state of mind that i’m in at the time I write them.
You’re playing quite a few gigs around Denmark to promote the album over the next few weeks. What is like to play here ?
It’s always nice to play in Denmark. I think my music is appreciated here. Of course it’s different from one venue to another. Some places are really loud, really noisy whilst others can be quiet and cosy and everyone listens to you. Generally it’s always a pleasure to play here.
Most Danes don’t know much about the Faroe Islands, For me they’re this picturesque magical place- that’s the image that springs to my mind when I think of them. What are the islands actually like ?
(smiling) It’s sad that many Danes don’t know much about them- they are a part of Denmark too. Well The Faroes are 18 small islands in the middle of the Atlantic. The weather can be pretty bad – there’s a lot of wind and sometimes it feels like there are four seasons in one day, so if you’re into weather extremes this is the place to be. There are actually a lot of people from the Faroe islands who play music, and I think this has to do with the fact that they’re quite an isolated place, so we’re always looking to express ourselves somehow.
Do you also sing in Faroese ?
I haven’t recorded any songs in Faroese, no and this is mainly because English is my native language which makes it a lot easier for me in the songwriting process. I speak and write Faroese but for my music it’s much easier to do things in English.
What inspires you in the process of writing your music ?
When I write songs I try to convey a state of mind that i’m in at the time so it’s very spontaneous. Sometimes I feel happy, or sad, or if I feel like dying or whatever emotion it is that’s going through me. Sunsets and sunrises and other natural phenomena are all background inspirations but not part of the main process as such. My songs are sometimes a way for me to overcome certain emotions, they have a bit of a therapeutic effect whilst at the same time telling some story or other.
What music do you listen to when you’re not playing your own songs ?
Well anything really. I’m really inspired by songs that trigger an emotion in me, songs that make me do something or want to do something. Of course these songs can be anything really, The Beatles, you name it.
Photo: NJ Photo / http://www.lenamusic.com/