Norwegian singer Inger Marie Gundersen (known throughout much of the world just as “Inger Marie”) is ready with FIVE MINUTES - her first album in 5 years (and a pandemic). This album was produced by Espen Lind, the Norwegian legend who, in addition to careers as a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and television personality in his native Norway, has worked with artists including Taylor Swift and Beyonce.
Inger Marie and Espen Lind collaborated to select the material for the recording and agreed on nine songs, or as Inger Marie describes them: “nine small stories about big things.” As always, the songs were selected to fit her singular sound and vision, which has become hugely popular in her home region of Scandinavia and across the globe - especially in Asia, over the last 15+ years, where she has managed to recruit fan bases with each release.
Her breathtaking voice is part of her appeal - Gun-dersen has her own distinct sound. It’s warm, dark, and sincere, and she can bring new meaning to even the most familiar songs and lyrics through her empathetic approach and imaginative arrange-ments. Her voice also made it an easy and enthusia-stic ‘yes’ for producer and musician Espen Lind when he was approached to work with her.
But Inger Marie is far more than just a voice. Her sustained success can be attributed to her celebra-ted vocal gifts and the ability to pick the right songs and play them with the right people. The production process for the new album was also a collaboration and a dream come true for Inger Marie:
“Lots of warm thanks to my producer, Espen Lind, for his dedicated and excellent work on this project! It’s been a real pleasure to make this album together. I thank him for pushing me in just the right ways to try out something new, while still giving me the freedom I need to do my things. An exciting, fun, and wonderful experience that I am so grateful for.”
Inger Marie Gundersen
Leonard’s little sister
We have experienced the pulling effect of gentle spoken songin lower registers since Leonhard Cohen at the latest. Norwegian singer Inger Marie Gundersen appears to be his female equivalent or his little sister. Having started her career fairly late in her life (she launched a solo career in 2004), there is something so magical about the way she reinterprets new and old songs on her now sixth album that one can’t help but give in to her spell. Anyone who used to like „I Am Sailing“ in the original version by the Sutherland Brothers, but grew to hate it after Rod Steward’s popular remake, may be reconciled by listening to her take on it. Or „Why Worry“, a Dire-Straits-Classic: „In its beauty and simplicity, as straight as a great poem. Or like a song you sing to comfort a child or someone, when life gets hard and the world seems dark. Musically, it’s like a handwritten Letter from a dear friend.“
In the same pattern, this woman, generally known by her first name Inger Marie, whispers „Wild Horses“ by the Rolling Stones, „My Valentine“ by Paul McCartney, „Narrow Daylight“ by Diana Krall and Elvis Costellos or Gretchen Peters name-giving „Five Minutes“ sparingly accompanied by Guitar, Violin, Trumpet and Torjus Vierli’s piano. Gundersen knows how to „groom these old horses“ with her unique dusty voice filled with humility and pulls them into the hallucinogenic haze of her vision. Listening to her album is positively intoxicating.
Text by Reinhard Köchl, JazzThing (Germany)