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coverpic flag Bermuda - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 20 - 06/10/98

Heather Nova
Live At Gamla (Oslo), April 23 1998  

The first time Heather Nova's name crossed my path, must have been at the Roskilde festival 1996, and from what I read in the festival program, I had to check her out. However, there were so many people in and around the tent they played in, that I found it natural to get another Carlsberg and some more hot food instead. I may have heard one of the songs on the radio by this time, but I probably didn't find it that interesting. I stuck with the name though, but I didn't know then if it was a band or an artist's name. Some time later, one of her tracks wound up on a Beat Magazine CD freebie, and it was quite amazing as far as I remember. Nothing happened between us thou' until I by chance heard that she were coming to Norway and Gamla. I found it appropriate to check it out. And no, I don't regret it!

The band is a quartet with three girls (two guitars plus keyboards/cello) and two boys (drums and bass/back up vocals). The natural centre is Heather herself (last name Frith, originally), off course, a tiny little "girl" with a voice so wonderful it made my heart melt (well, nearly!). I didn't have to wait long to understand that this was going to be a great night. The first five, six songs were a total (TOTAL) revelation. I nearly had to pinch my arm to check if I was not dreaming, but as a Heather Nova virgin, I must confess that I can't tell you anything about which songs from which records they played.

Those of you old enough to remember what the Canadian band Heart used to sound like some twenty years ago, does probably remember their album Dreamboat Annie, and the song Magic Man in particular. If you are able to imagine if all of their melodies had been as good, it would have sounded something like this, folky without mandolin, quiet passages exploding into rockier, almost symphonic themes, and all those beautiful and sometimes very, very catchy tunes. And to top it all: the voice of Heather. Imagine the best from some of the great female voices of the last 20-30 years rolled into one; Ann Wilson, Minnie Riperton, Juliana Hatfield, Aimee Mann and you may be close. A lot of people regard vocal gymnastics as this as pure show off, but none of us would even think of telling Tore Andre Flo to try to play like Teddy Sheringham (!), would we?

However, after a while some of the ecstatic first impression wore off, but with an opening like this, something else would have been too much to ask for.

A search for Heather Nova records here in Oslo the following day was not as fruitful, though. But that's another story...

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