“It is so interesting to have this take on the Brontës’ words. The songs bring out something which is there, but overlooked and the settings, the vocals and the magical arrangements are really beautiful and thought-provoking”. Fiona Talkington, BBC.
Ten years after the first song was written, the debut album of the band and project Budding Rose, “Where Were Ye All?”, is finally appearing. This is music marked by stark contrasts. Nineteenth-century poems are united with modern orchestral pop-electronica. Gentle, sensitive passages lead into massive art-rock segments, and there can be a taste of the robot world before the music flows into lovely harmonies played by acoustic instruments. This is content-rich and emotionally catchy art-pop at its best.
The seed for what would become Budding Rose was planted when Terje was commissioned to compose the score for Gard Eisdvold and Hans Petter Blad’s theatrical production of “Roe Head” at Torshov Teateret in 2003. The subject of the play was the lives and writings of the British sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë. The Brontë sisters, who wrote such literary classics as “Wuthering Heights”, “Jane Eyre” and “Villette”, were also prolific poets in the first half of the 19th century. Johannesen found their work so fascinating and inspiring that he has been setting them to music ever since. After having worked on this project alone for four years, Terje invited Line Horntveth, from the group Jaga Jazzist, to participate as a singer, musician and collaborator, and the duo adopted the name Budding Rose after one of the Bronté sisters’ poems.
A chamber band
In 2009 the duo were asked to present a concert in connection with the 30th anniversary of the jazz club Urijazz in Tønsberg. This was the occasion that the duo had been waiting for. A “chamber band” was put together, and at last they could start to put their musical ideas into practice. During that period the band also attracted large and enthusiastic crowds to their concerts at Horten Jazzclub and Café Mono in Oslo.
Producers Martin Horntveth (Jaga Jazzist, National Bank, Jonas Alaska, etc.) and Morten Qvenild (National Bank, Susanna & the Magical Orchestra, In the Country, Solveig Slettahjel, etc.) were engaged to produce the recording. Horntveth and Qvenild also contributed to the record as musicians, providing everything from drums and keyboards to autoharp and programming.
This kaleidoscopic album was recorded over a long period of time and with an extensive list of participants. In addition to Line Horntveth and Terje Johannesen, who play at least 10 different instruments between the two of them as well as providing the vocals, Nikolai Hængsle Eilertsen (Big Bang and Elephant 9) is featured on bass. A dream team including Odd Nordstoga, Bjørn Holm, Thomas Dybdahl, Jonas Alaska and KORET add vocals to the album. These are all musicians that the band have worked with often in the past.
The arrival of “Where Were Ye All?” will be celebrated with a huge release concert at Nasjonal Jazzscene Victoria on 12 April. This concert is part of the Norwegian-British concert series Conexions, curated by BBC music journalist Fiona Talkington. At the concert the band will be joined by three British string players.