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When: Wed., March 26, 9:30 p.m. 2014
Price: $15
Remarkable Norwegian singer Susanna Wallumrød follows her stylistic curiosity onto new turf with each new project, but her regal bearing and instantly recognizable sound never change—her voice is crystalline, precise, and stately, a la traditional British folk. She's been performing since the early aughts, but she's done her most interesting work relatively recently—for a 2012 collaboration with Swiss Baroque harpist Giovanna Pessi called If Grief Can Wait, she recast tunes by 17th-century British composer Henry Purcell as modern art songs, and they sat naturally next to much younger material by Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen. On last year's The Forester (SusannaSonata), Wallumrød appears alongside Ensemble Neon, a young Oslo new-music ensemble I saw perform Alvin Lucier's Two Circles last fall. (For more on Lucier, see Friday's listings—and this week's music feature story.) Her clear, beautiful voice imparts a measured calm to the album's five original pieces, which carve out territory between folk rock and medieval madrigals—album closer "Lonely Heart" even adds post-Brill Building soul pop a la Laura Nyro, with percussive flute and dissonant string smears. The arrangements (by Julian Skar or Jan Martin Smørdal) support Wallumrød's melodies but leave her plenty of space with their lean skeletons and tuneful, melancholy atmospherics; they build on her piano with cello, violin, flute, clarinet, alto sax, sparse percussion, and the beautiful Baroque lute called the theorbo. On this rare U.S. visit she's accompanied by drummer Fredrik Wallumrød (her older brother) and guitarist Helge Sten (aka Deathprod), a setup similar to the instrumentation on her 2012 album Wild Dog, where Chicagoan Emmett Kelly of the Cairo Gang contributied harmony vocals and gorgeous guitar—I wouldn't be surprised if he makes a cameo here. —Peter Margasak

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