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World Music CD Reviews Europe

LOUISE HOFFSTEN

By Brian Grosjean
Published March 3, 2006

Kära Du
Samsø Records

Swedish blues singer Louise Hoffsten has at least 11 albums to her credit, most released in her country for a multitude of labels. Her work shows increasing maturity, rising from pop to blues to this folk release from 1996 to her immersion now in jazz and blues. Her voice is reminiscent of Emmylou Harris’ on this album of romantic folk songs from Sweden’s past. These sweet songs from the everyday lives of maids and farmhands are sung in a clean, unaffected tone, accompanied by well-placed acoustic instrumentation. Several songs on Kära Du (“Dearest You”) hark to the Swedish relationship with the ancient mystical natural world, of sprites, the evil spirit of streaming water Näcken, and the ability of nature to heal.  With confidence, a fluid voice and a certain calm, she tells the stories, relays the gossip and opens again the wounds and loves of times past.