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Mari Kvien Brunvoll

Mari Kvien
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Kjell Kalleklev Management AS
Georgernes Verft 12, N-5011 Bergen Norway
Org.nr. 995637774,

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Completely alone on stage, surrounded by kalimba, kazoo, zither and various electronics to sample and manipulate her voice, she's always a facinating experience in concert. Mari Kvien Brunvoll has a unique ability to fire up an audience, and has the ability to capture the listener into her universe and never let you go. Her music is a personal expression that straddles jazz, electro pop, acoustic blues and folk music from different corners of the world.


Mari Kvien Brunvoll from Molde, Norway, has been described as "an exceptional talent", and has been touring extensively as a solo artist since 2008. But it wasn't before 2012 that she released her first solo album on the label Jazzland Recordings. The album was nominated for the Norwegian Grammy in the open category. "Everywhere You Go", from this album, earned her a new audience when the ubiquitous musician and DJ Ricardo Villalobos discovered the song and created a 28 minute long remix of it.
While touring solo, Mari has also been touring and recording with several other projects, duos and trios, and she’s been working in with dancers, authors and actors.

Mari Kvien Brunvoll:  Vocals, live sampling, electronics, percussion, zither, kalimba, div.




After several years of solo concerts in Norway and Europe, Mari Kvien Brunvoll released her first album under her own name in 2012. Since 2006 her Solo project has been exclusively a live concept, and she has chosen to use live recordings exclusively to document this musical work. The distinctive, evocative, constantly surprising music ranges from a subdued acoustical expression to intense vocals and electronic sound worlds, with everything performed live in concert.
Brunvoll is responsible for vocals, sampling, electronics and various instruments like zither, percussion and kalimba. The recordings made by NRK Radio, Radio NPS in Holland and Clusone Jazz Festival in Italy.


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Listen to two tracks from the new album: Sweet Mysterious and Joanna - go to top right of page

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Stein Urheim and Mari Kvien Brunvoll are a duo that was destined to happen, no matter what. Their symmetry, their perfect blend that produces such marvellous colours, textures and moods, seems inevitable when you listen to it. The old and new have always been combined in a unique way by the duo, but with For Individuals Facing The Terror Of Cosmic Loneliness, they have taken their craft even further. The distinctive alchemy of lo-fi transmuted to something more evocative than the purest of hi-fi, the shimmering melodies and hazy sunshine progressions, and the bizarre conglomeration of the childlike with the eerie that were present on their previous releases Daydream Community and Daydream Twin are here given additional winding paths to wander through. There are hints of Morricone Spaghetti Western; veritably horizontal lounge lizardry that would shame Dean Martin; bossanovas from the outer cosmos; dub reggae that suffers from chronic autophobia; proto-ambient hipster-devouring Far-Eastern blues; curiously delicate soundscapes; parties for the ghosts of the closing time patrons of The Penguin Café; electric folk from a deep blue stratosphere; sparse baroque soundtracks for a benighted Venetian excursion; and dismembered blue Victorian music hall ditties and ballads, crawling to the 1950s to reunify while no-one is watching. Simply put, there is nothing quite like it.

The lyrics, too, inhabit the realms of the unconventional, with inspiration taken from equally diverse sources, from Federico García Lorca to Bertrand Russell (the latter of which helped supply that absolute blinder of an album title).
The duo, on this album, are accompanied by Jørgen Træen, who supplied some synth, mellotron and programming expertise. As would be expected, though, Stein and Mari bring a veritable battalion of sound-making equipment to the fray, ranging from their perfectly complimentary vocals to guitars, bouzouki, kazoos, kalimba, flutes and seemingly just about anything that could be brought into the studio, all of which is processed in performance by an array of looping and sampling devices and effects.

The result of this free and playful approach to music and words is an album that exudes joy and wonder, both for the world around it and itself. That Russell-inspired title might seem like a big claim, but it is absolutely true: this is music for individuals facing the terror of cosmic loneliness, because, quite frankly, it might be the best antidote (to be taken twice a day or when required).

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Stein Urheim & Mari Kvien Brunvoll's second Jazzland Recordings release, "Daydream Twin" carries on from "Daydream Community" with ease, a little bit of swagger, and more than enough artistic flashes of inspiration to make even the most dreary winter day seem pretty darn good.

Album opener, "Motor" is a superb introduction, an ambient wash, dropping hints of what is to come, but leaving the listener with enough curiosity to wonder what is to come. "Sound of his motor" gives an immediate answer: exotic plucked strings from Stein Urheim with a languid overtone while carrying enough energy to fuel a dancehall for a week of endless nights. Mari Kvien Brunvoll overlays a growing chorus of looped vocals, expanding and contracting with ease. "Wait a While" brings in elements of whimsical acoustic Americana, twanging acoutic strings, and a melody that is memorable, sing-alongable, childlike and timeless. "Treeplanting" changes the tone with a return to the ambient soundscapes of "Motor", but from an entirely different perspective; where "Motor" felt like a view from a window, "Treeplanting" feels like a view from the treetops. And just when you think you know exactly where you are, Stein changes the tone entirely, making a kind of chaingang chant atop somehow incongruous with Mari's chordal layercake of processed kazoo that underpin it. "It's good for your body, it's good for your soul" they sing, yet there's just a hint that it may be the opposite ... "The Jam" follows on with more slightly off-kilter chordal happenings before breaking down into a kind of conversation without words between Mari's voice and Stein's guitar.


Eventually, the track resolves into a kind of industrial blues shuffle, something never heard within the vicinity of the Mississippi Delta, but perhaps familiar on some interstellar mining colony. "Why Does It End?" brings us to a dimly lit space where late nights never seem to be late enough or long enough, familiar feelings to anyone who has had a comedown after some of the best times in their life, whether in love or in work or in play. "Bariton" brings in more of Stein's ultra-fluid string styling, a unique thing among the world of guitarists: his playing is as much an effect as any electronic device fetishized by guitarists of a more conventional ilk. The track makes a steady journey through a world that seems both familiar and other, a daydream by night. "Mr. RD" brings blues through filters exotic, uncanny, yet retains that blues stomp feeling familiar to any afficionado. "Crow Jane" brings ragtime into the gumbo, but throws curves unlike any expectation of that genre ... This is ragtime melting on a South American blues bonfire. "If The River" begins with a droning blues herald of epic intent, all within three and a half minutes. "Stortrollet" is the mature cousin to the brasher youngster that was "Lilletrollet" on "Daydream Community". Altogether more sedate, more aware of itself, keeping a cool detachment that makes the listener pay closer attention. Musically, "Free" offers a kind of cowboy song for the martian prairies, while lyrically the connection is purely with a blues-based philosophy "Do we forget what it means to be free?" Clearly Stein and Mari haven't forgotten; quite the contrary - it seems that with every moment they become more acutely aware of what it means as though for the first time. They are in a state of endless revelation.

Throughout the album (much like their "Daydream Community" release did), you get the feeling that Stein Urheim and Mari Kvien Brunvoll are inventing their own folk tradition for a world saturated with  electronic gizmos and relationships expressed through epigrams and captioned images on social networks. In world where most of us spend a lot of time saying very little, in a mere 40 minutes, Stein and Mari say more than the average day's wittering and twittering from across the world.

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Stein & Mari inhabit a musical plane of their own, rooted in the blues of the 20s and 30s with branches into smooth jazz, electronic impro-noise, atonal rock and metamorphosed Norwegian traditional music; everything in an effortless mélange that one would think they had been doing this for much longer than since the middle of 2000 when the duo met. After various projects and collaborations in clubs and festivals throughout Norway, they have lately spent their time working on their own songs, with a debut under the present name at Bergen NattJazz in 2009.

The sounds the duo display are truly diverse, but are seamlessly woven together to form new musical spaces that are simulataneously familiar and strange. Tracks like Lilletrollet and Explorer's Club Annual Dinner have elements of tribal music, plodding steadily through imaginary jungles of sonic wash and swirl, shot through with glitches and moments of electronic disruption. Hints of pop music come and go, and in tracks like Sleeping in the Bush and Paradoxes, these creep through landscapes of Ambient Americana, trading stumbling guitar lines with the ghosts of Delta bluesmen and modern successors like Ry Cooder. We're so Many and Don't Mind carry through on the atmospheric pop promises, while the former carries echoes of early Jane's Addiction in childlike sing-song melodies that fall into a tape machine breakdown (without the tape machine!) Voss displays a classic Ambient country expanse, with hints of tundra as well as red sand and hoodoo formations, echoing Cooder once again, and with perhaps a tip of the hat to Norwegian guitar great, Knut Reiersruud.

Stein Urheim received the Vossajazzprisen in 2010 for the presence of his work on the Norwegian jazz and contemporary music scene, an award
Mari Kvien Brunvoll received the following year for her solo project with voice and electronics that has been performed extensively throughout Europe for the past few years.

"Musically, it ranges from noise to country and the transition from one to the other sounds like the most natural in the world. The duo manages to create a good and relaxed atmosphere and combine it with a perfect control of buttons and strings. There is a party in the house when Stein & Mari is visiting!" (Lars Mossefinn, Jazznytt, 2010)

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Sweet Mysterious:






No tourdates.

Past bookings


Tromsø, Norway



Gdansk, Poland


Bucharest, Romania

Green Hours 22 jazz Cafe


Balestrand, Norway



Umeaa, Sweden

Umbria Jazz Festival


Mannheim, Germany

Cafe Prag


Salzburg, Austria



Dublin, Ireland

Town Hall

Copyright by Kjell Kalleklev Management 2012 | site: fairwater.nl. All rights reserved.

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