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A voice to match the majesty of Norway

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  • stenar
    The Salt Lake Tribune, the largest newspaper in Utah, ran an article about Sissel in Sunday s paper. http://www.sltrib.com/arts/ci_2681811 A voice to match the
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 27, 2005
      The Salt Lake Tribune, the largest newspaper in Utah, ran an article
      about Sissel in Sunday's paper.


      A voice to match the majesty of Norway
      Sissel Kyrkjebo, a star of the Lillehammer Games and a favorite of LDS
      missionaries, comes to Utah
      By Celia R. Baker
      The Salt Lake Tribune

      If you think Sissel Kyrkjebo is not a household name in Utah, there
      are certain households you have not considered. Like the home of Orem
      resident Erlend Peterson, whose children awakened each Saturday of
      their lives to Norwegian pancakes on the griddle and Sissel on the stereo.
      Peterson, a former president of the LDS Church's mission in Norway,
      has plenty of company in his enthusiasm for the Norwegian singer. Her
      recordings are heard in many Utah homes with someone who once lived in
      Norway. And, the clear, pure voice of Sissel - she goes by her first
      name professionally - has probably even echoed through your own home,
      unbeknownst to you. The haunting, wordless voice heard in James
      Horner's film score for the movie "Titanic" belongs to her.
      By the time Horner heard Sissel's voice on a tape of Norwegian folk
      music, and recognized it as the sound he was seeking for his 1998 film
      score, her singing was popular throughout Europe, especially in
      Scandinavia. Early recordings celebrating her native culture endeared
      her to Norwegians and led to solo performances in the opening and
      closing ceremonies of the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer.
      She has sold more than 9 million solo albums worldwide - a number
      nearly twice as large as the population of Norway.
      Horner wrote Sissel's parts in the "Titanic" film score
      specifically for the qualities of her voice, "using it like an
      instrument," she said. She watched the movie's evocative scenes of ice
      and immensity in the North Atlantic as she recorded the tracks, "so I
      could get the tensions and emotions of the pictures into my music."
      Translating geography into music is one of Sissel's gifts. She grew
      up just outside the ancient coastal city of Bergen, "called Capital of
      the Fjords," Sissel said in lilting English during a trans-Atlantic
      telephone interview. "It's surrounded with mountains and the ocean. I
      would say it's the most beautiful place on Earth, of course.
      "I often say that nature shapes your personality and your mental
      health," she said. "I was brought up in nature, in a very relaxed
      atmosphere - a life filled with harmony and love. The people living in
      Norway are so lucky living in this beautiful country. That gives us a
      lot of positive thinking. I feel very Norwegian because Mother
      Nature is such a big part of me. I'm so proud of my country."
      Fans of Sissel's music say they can imagine the peaks and fjords of
      Norway when she sings. Utahns with connections to Norway already are
      making plans to be present when Sissel performs here for the first
      time this week - at a concert on the Brigham Young University campus
      and with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on its weekly international
      Jason Henderson, vice president of Frontier Scientific Inc. in
      Logan, has known about Sissel since her career was just taking off in
      Norway nearly 20 years ago. He met the singer twice while serving an
      LDS mission there from 1986 to 1988. The first time, Sissel signed
      albums for Henderson and his missionary companion outside a concert
      hall in Bergen. The hopeful missionaries signed a copy of the Book of
      Mormon for her.
      Henderson was surprised when the pretty young singer recognized him
      later in Oslo and greeted him with a traditional Norwegian "klem" - a
      cheek-to-cheek hug. Though pleased, Henderson was "pretty
      uncomfortable," since LDS missionaries are expected to keep the
      opposite sex at
      arm's length.
      "All the missionaries I was with have her albums," Henderson said.
      "She just has a really wonderful voice."
      Missionaries in Norway liked the fact that Sissel was a
      wholesome-looking performer whose songs were "things you could feel
      comfortable about listening to as a missionary," he said.
      And, like the Norwegian people who embraced her music, missionaries
      loved the way Sissel's music captured the beauty and serenity of the
      Norwegian landscape and culture. Robert A Jones, who served a mission
      to Norway in 1989 to 1991, created a Web site dedicated to Sissel and
      her music in 1997, and still updates it with news about Sissel.
      "Her earlier albums, in the Norwegian language, were a reminder for
      me of the experience of living in Norway," Jones said.
      Sissel said she was surprised at first to learn that she had a fan
      base in Utah made up mostly of one-time missionaries. She said she has
      "never attended a Mormon church" but is nonetheless delighted to be
      performing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in a program that
      celebrates Norway's 100 years of independence and the Norwegian roots
      of many members of the faith.
      "I love to sing with people who have belief," she said. "That is
      very special."
      Singing religious songs with the Tabernacle Choir might remind
      Sissel of her childhood experiences singing with a church children's
      choir in Bergen, which she cites as an important influence on her
      angelic vocal sound. At the BYU concert, her song list will be more
      "I started singing a mixture of folk, classical and popular music
      in the 1980s. Nobody had invented the words 'classical crossover'
      then, but I've always been doing this. . . . It will be fascinating to
      see how American musicians play Norwegian music. They say music is the
      international language - we'll see if it works."

      The sizzle of Sissel

      Norwegian singer Sissel Kyrkjebo performs Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in
      the de Jong Concert Hall in the Harris Fine Arts Center on the Brigham
      Young University campus, Provo. Tickets are $12. Call 801-422-7664.

      Sissel will perform with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, accompanied
      by the Orchestra at Temple Square, on a May 1 broadcast of "Music and
      the Spoken Word" from the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. The
      broadcast airs at 9:30 a.m. on radio, television, cable and satellite.
      Doors to the Conference Center open at 8 a.m. After the 30-minute
      broadcast, Sissel will sing additional selections for the live audience.

      KBYU Channel 11 will broadcast a PBS special, "Sissel in Concert:
      All Good Things," today at 3 p.m. and Monday at 8 p.m.

      The Sissel Website
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