It’s almost a month into the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon. Since public events like music festivals and concerts have been canceled, we take our music fix on endless playlist repeats on Spotify and return to favorite music videos and live performances streamed on social media. As we endure another two-week quarantine extension indoors, here are some Nordic artists and albums, as well as performances by more familiar singers (think Neil Sedaka and Josh Groban) recorded at their homes to check out and give an interesting spin to your “quarantunes.”
Prior to her role as the voice of the North Wind in Disney Frozen II, Norwegian singer-songwriter Aurora (Full name: Aurora Aksnes) released three studio albums — All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend (2016), Infections of a Different Kind — Step 1 (2018), and A Different Kind of Human — Step 2 (2019). Aside from the singer’s impressive icy soprano vocals (listen to her version of David Bowie’s “Life on Mars”) and her music’s celestial sounds, her song’s themes include pain and grief (“The River”), ecological destruction (“The Seed”), gender equality (“Queendom”), and changes human behavior brought by technological advancements (“Winter Bird”). In March 2020, the singer released her version of “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II.
Her latest album: A Different Kind of Human — Step 2 (2019)
Norwegian pop singer Astrid S (Full name: Astrid Smeplass) launched her music career after joining the Norwegian Pop Idol in 2013. She has released four EPs of techno pop tunes mostly dealing with love and relationships. Create a workout, or even a simple feel good playlist including “2AM” (2014), “Hurts So Good” (2016), “Breathe” (2017), and “Bloodstream” (2017).
Her latest EP: Trust Issues (2019)
Faroese soprano Eivør (Full name: Eivør Pálsdóttir) performs various genres, from European classical music and folk, to rock. Her operatic and enigmatic vocals give a unique color to her songs which are mostly in Faroese, Icelandic, and English. Tip: Listen to “Trøllabundin” (“Spellbound”) first, hopefully you will be mesmerized and curious enough to explore more of her music. The singer conducts one-hour live streamed performances via YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/eivormusic) every Saturday (Sundays at 1 a.m. in the Philippines) from her home in Denmark.
Her latest album: Slør (2017)
The Norwegian folk band was formed by Ingrid Helene Håvik and drummer Trond Bersu while studying jazz at the Trondheim Jazz Conservatory. The duo later recruited Thomas Dahl for bass and guitar, and Øystein Skar for synthesizer. The band’s music has a harmonious combination of electronic vibe and folk roots. Curious to hear what it sounds like? Listen to “The Man on the Ferry” (2014), “Samurai Swords” (2016), “Someone Who’ll Get it” (2016), and “Egomaniac” (2019).
Its latest album: Uranium Heart (2019)
Swedish pop singer Måns Zelmerlöw began his music career after completing the Swedish version of Idol in 2005. Fast forward to 2016 when he won the Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Heroes.” Since 2007, the singer has released eight studio albums with danceable pop tunes and ballads such as “Should’ve Gone Home” (2015), “Hanging on to Nothing” (2016), “Better Now” (2019), and a studio version of Eurovision Song Contest 2018 Cyprus representative Eleni Foureira’s “Fuego.”
His latest album: Time (2019)
Music events and performances online
Despite the competition’s cancelation this year, fans can still enjoy Eurovision songs with episodes of Eurovision Home Concerts via YouTube. New episodes air every Friday (11 p.m. Philippine time). The first episode featured Ireland’s Ryan O’Shaughnessy (Eurovision Song Contest 2018), Denmark’s Rasmussen (Eurovision Song Contest 2018), North Macedonia’s Tamara Todevska (Eurovision Song Contest 2019), and Montenegro’s Slavko Kalezic (Eurovision Song Contest 2017). On April 10, the second episode featured Eurovision Song Contest 2020 artists Daði from Iceland, Montaigne from Australia, Vasil from North Macedonia, Aksel from Finland, and Gjon’s Tears from Switzerland. It also featured past contestants Leonora from Denmark (Eurovision Song Contest 2019), and 2016 Eurovision Song Contest winner Jamala from Ukraine. To watch, visit www.youtube.com/channel/UCRpjHHu8ivVWs73uxHlWwFA. For more information, visit eurovision.tv/eurovision-home-concerts.
ROLLING STONE’S IN MY ROOM PLAYLIST
Rolling Stone magazine has invited artists to record performances from their homes for its In My Room playlist on YouTube at www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLL0ooGQ0asg4YfzVbwUdIJiK_uHfahjfr. The series premiered on March 19 featuring The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson singing songs in his home in California. Other artists include Creedence Clearwater Revival’s John Fogerty and Crosby, Stills and Nash’s Graham Nash.
VERFTET ONLINE MUSIC FESTIVAL
Revisit Bergen’s Verftet Online Music Festival. Featured artists include Aurora, Silja Sol, Datarock, KREAM, and iris. To watch, visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7Wvnwd0n1O3l1dBj0z_Tlg.
Explore this year’s 300 favorite classical compositions at the Classic FM’s Hall of Fame 2020 countdown at www.classicfm.com/radio/hall-of-fame/listen-2020-easter-weekend-countdown/. While under quarantine, listen to performances by musicians in Classic FM’s At Home series via YouTube at www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6_N0cjBTUruhYb-j3fGF4Sjm6dX2GVtB.
Here’s a list of artists who regularly upload performances from home via social media during quarantine.
Singer Neil Sedaka, featuring his green parrot Basel in the background, performs a medley of his popular hits daily from his home in New York. Watch his daily medleys at www.facebook.com/neilsedakamusic/.
Folk singer and songwriter Joan Baez sits by the fireplace weekly as she records full performances of her songs. Watch her sing her versions of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young,” Violet Verra’s “Thanks to Life,” and more at www.facebook.com/OfficialJoanBaez/?eid=ARA1KEw2R-WwZrcIHo6p-FZ56ScZoLUDk866Ie0N13eeObPuKlACB5Ar0HASTG1vcqviG-TjA3PixOh0.
Folk singer and songwriter Paul Simon sings Simon and Garfulkel and Everly Brothers hits, and more at www.facebook.com/paulsimon/?__tn__=%2Cd%2CP-R&eid=ARAx-MTAWOY9Cpjo4Du_8fvKT-KxAF3TE6nBwncKkAjc9Byua7Jx1i3uj9KBuba9ub106ck5wUZt9DTI.
Singer and pianist Norah Jones sits in front of the piano and performs 15-minute concerts at www.facebook.com/norahjones/.
Singer Josh Groban takes songs requests and records his performances in a series called #ShowerSongs. The singer has previously covered “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz (1939) and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel (1945). To watch, visit www.facebook.com/JoshGroban/. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman