Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Theresa Andersson is a wondrous one-woman band, originally from Gotland, Sweden. For the past twenty years, she has been strutting her stuff in New Orleans, having soaked up the influence of traditional American rhythm and blues. As a singer-songwriter, guitarist, and violinist, Theresa spins together a bewitching mix of folk, soul, and pop that defies easy labeling. Imagination is her guide; in her own words, she "stops thinking in terms of traditional songwriting…(and) works on shapes, forms, and textures, scents and colors.” Then she finds a way to breathe life into these through music.

I was initially spellbound by Theresa’s videos flying around on Youtube, about two years ago.  “Birds Fly Away” and “Na Na Na” showed her rocking out in her kitchen/recording-studio, juggling about a dozen different instruments. She layered harmonies and runaway rhythms through looping (in the same style as KT Tunstall)---starting out with solo vocals and hand-clapping, and building up this extravagant, one-woman jam session. Seeing this stole my breath away; truly, I forgot to breathe! So with that, I grabbed a-hold of her 2007 debut album, Hummingbird, Go! and was duly amazed. It was a lyrical fairytale, with fearlessly unique instrumentation, complete with soda pop bottles mimicking a vibraphone and wine glass rims substituting for keyboards. Experimental indeed!
Links to explore:

I recommend Theresa’s myspace over her official website, which is actually more stripped down.  This page features all the same gems, and then some---bio, blog, video and audio clips, photos, reviews, musical influences, and so forth.

Paste Magazine offers a high-spirited, fun-to-read review of Theresa’s show at Le Petit Theatre in New Orleans earlier this year. There is also a moving clip of her singing and strumming her heart out on stage.
Catch a listen of Theresa’s interview session with NPR, where she shares about the making of Hummingbird, Go!