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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 210 - 10/19/13

Ane Brun
Balloon Ranger Recordings

Ane Brun is one of Norway's finest singer-songwriters. She has been for years, from out of her HQ in Sweden, and has built up a rather huge and devoted following. Both in Norway, but even a bigger one abroad. Her biggest achievment was when Peter Gabriel invited Ane as a guest when recording his album New Blood, with Ane Brun dueting a new version of "Don't Give Up". Quite a challenge, replacing Kate Bush... but, Ane Brun's got the guts and the voice to do so. Anyway, she was invited to follow Gabriel's (New Blood) tour as a support act, but also joining Gabriel on stage as a backing singer. She's come a long way since I attended a free gig with her on the Lower East Side, NYC, in 2006.

Brun has released four studio albums over the years: Spending Time with Morgan (2003), A Temporary Dive (2005), Changing of the Seasons (2008), and the brilliant It All Starts with One (2011) - the latter being her biggest success to date. She also released the album Duets (2005), which was Brun in duet with a line of other artists (Ron Sexsmith, Teitur, Syd Matters, Madrugada, et al). IN 2008 she put out Sketches, which was a collection of acoustic versions of the songs on Changing of..., plus two bonus tracks. This summer she put out a 'best of' (sort of) called Songs: 2003 - 2013, which was songs lifted off all her albums, plus a few live tracks and rare'n'harder to find songs. "Don't Give Up" was included as well. So was her stunning version of Arcade Fire's "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)". It's a fantastic song and a fantastic cover version.

Cover versions also appear on Rarities - which is 20 songs from out of Ane Brun's cup-board. Rare songs, hard-to-find songs, curiosities and oddities. And, yes, it's mainly covers. Songs covered are: The Beatles' "From Me To You"; Beyoncé's "Halo"; Leonard Cohen's "Ain't No Cure For Love"; Emmylou Harris' "Tragedy"; Amerie's "1 Thing"; Gillian Welch's "Orphan Girl"; Eurythmics' "It's Alright (Baby's coming back)"; Bob Dylan's "She Belongs To Me"; "Crawfish" (by Wise/Weisman) - recorded as a duet by jazz singer Jean "Kitty" Bilbrew and Elvis Presley; Björk's "Jóga"; Julie Miller's "All My Tears"; and Depeche Mode's "Fly On The Windscreen". Quite a bouquet, right? Not to forget "Falling Down", Ane Brun's version of St. Thomas's (1976-2007) song, from the box set released the year after his death (including a CD holding a number of tribute cover versions). This leaves this collection album with only six of her own songs (of which one - "The Opening" - is co-written with Fleshquartet). It's quite interesting then to experience that it's her own songs that are among the better ones: the excellent "Daring To Love" and the beautiful "Oh Love" (Piano Version, originally on It All Starts with One). Her only song sung in Norwegian, "Virvelvind" (Whirlwind) is also quite charming. Of the covers, some stand out as very, very good renditions. These are: "Halo", "She Belongs To Me", "Falling Down", and "Jóga" (Live at the Polar Music Prize 2010). Plus, last but not least, the traditional "If I Had A Ribbon Bow". Ane Brun knows how to handle and re-work other people's songs. Like The Guardian wrote when Songs: 2003 - 2013 was released in June:
'The world shouldn't need another cover of "Feeling Good", but Ane Brun's reworking is subtly captivating. Feeling Good has become one of the most covered songs of the modern era. Most famous of course is the definitive 1965 Nina Simone version, [...]'.

All in all Rarities is a collection with some sparks and quite a few songs lacking the glow you need to keep ones attention. That said: the highlights are so great they prove the creative skills and the heavenly voice of Ane Brun.

Copyright © 2013 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Ane Brun articles/reviews: It All Starts With One, When I'm Free.

© 2013 Luna Kafé