Susanne Sundfør: Nordic Folklore Meets Modern Electronica

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The name Susanne Sundfør might be new to you, but she's a household name in Scandinavia. Her albums top the Norwegian charts and she's a frequent name on festival bills large and small.

Nestled among the snowy landscapes and fjords of Norway, emerged a voice that would soon captivate not just the Nordic region, but music enthusiasts across the world.

Susanne Sundfør performing live in Norway. Photo: Melanie Lemahieu / Shutterstock.com.
Susanne Sundfør performing live in Norway. Photo: Melanie Lemahieu / Shutterstock.com.

Known for her ethereal vocals and innovative musical storytelling, Susanne Sundfør became that voice. What sets Sundfør apart is her ability to blend genres.

Her songs are a blend of traditional Norwegian folk, sweeping orchestral scores, and modern electronica. This creates a soundscape that's both timeless and contemporary.

International acclaim

After years of success within Norway, Sundfør became popular elsewhere. After a successful UK tour, the Guardian newspaper called her latest album, Ten Love Songs, a “quite brilliant album”:

“Ten Love Songs shows a command of artpop, chilly synthpop, and that simultaneously joyous and desperate disco that seems to seep out of Scandinavia in an unending flood: it's both appealingly direct yet perfectly thought-through.”

Meanwhile, the Telegraph said she “adds Abba to Handel to make a divine pop equation”:

“The Norwegian is a self-confessed pop nerd who loves Abba and Carly Simon along with Radiohead and Joni Mitchell. Yet she is also classically trained, as in thrall to Handel and Mozart as she is to Baroque music and Philip Glass.”

Breaking boundaries

Susanne's international breakthrough can largely be credited to her collaborations. In particular, her partnership with Röyksopp on “Running to the Sea” was a turning point.

It introduced her to global audiences and cemented her place in the electronic music scene.

Originally the band approached Sundfør with the intent of recording a cover version, but the chemistry between them resulted in this brand new track, recorded in just two days.

But that wasn’t her only notable collaboration. She has worked with M83, producing the hauntingly beautiful track “Oblivion” for the movie of the same name.

A true artist, Susanne’s creativity isn't limited to her music. She has a keen interest in visual arts and often plays a hands-on role in her music video productions. These videos, often as layered as her songs, offer a visual treat and deeper insight into her music's narratives. Her venture into film scores has been met with acclaim.

Her early days

Born in Haugesund, Susanne’s love for music was evident from a tender age. Immersed in her family's diverse music collection, which ranged from classical symphonies to modern rock, she began crafting her own melodies by the age of ten.

It wasn’t long before she mastered the piano and started weaving her stories into songs.

Her training in classical music shines through in her meticulous compositions. However, her love for modern artists like Björk and Radiohead adds layers of depth and experimentation to her tracks.

Listen to Susanne Sundfør

Two of her popular tracks are Fade Away, which she conceived after driving along California's route 101, and Delirious, which twists and turns to leave you either joyous or desolate. It'll pull at a different emotion each time you listen.

Both songs have been remixed several times for those who like their pop a little more danceable.

Though she has achieved much, Susanne Sundfør remains a humble and evolving artist. She continuously seeks new ways to express herself, whether through her music or other mediums.

For those who have yet to immerse themselves in her art, there’s a vast treasure trove waiting to be discovered. And for her long-time fans, there’s the exciting promise of more musical magic in the years to come.

Are you a fan of Susanne Sundfør? Perhaps you've experienced one of her live shows or festival appearances? Let us know in the comments below.

About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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3 thoughts on “Susanne Sundfør: Nordic Folklore Meets Modern Electronica”

  1. She deserves a greater audience. Some of her music actually gives me the chills. Her new album is more fast-paced than some of her previous ones, My favourite song of her is still “The Brothel”, I think, it is so beautiful and the lyrics are haunting. That entire album is very good, better than her newest one IMO (even though this new sound fits her too).

  2. Una de las mejores voces que hay en el panorama musical internacional.
    Todas sus colaboraciones con otros artistas son dignas de tener muy en cuenta.
    Con una voz y unas grabaciones impecables y esa forma de transmitir tan limpia.
    Desde sus colaboraciones con Röyksopp a su ultimo trabajo en solitario todo tan brillante y limpio. Pop electronico, instrumentos clásicos y sobre todo, esa gran voz.


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