Dearest Sister
Collective Heart

VÖ: 21.04.2023

Genre: Empfehlungen, Crossover



ACT 9953-2, 614427995322
Ylva Almcrantz / piano, Rhodes, synthesizers Andrea Hatanmaa / lead vocals, synthesizer, backing vocals Ellen Pettersson / flugelhorn Joakim Lissmyr / double bass Liam Amner / drums and percussion Guests: Petter Hängsel / trombone Erik Rönér / french horn Thomas Lunderquist / french horn

Recorded and mixed by Joakim Lindberg at Studio Sickan Malmö, June and October 2019 Mastered by Magnus Lindberg Productions 2020

the art in music: Cover art "Metamorphosis" by Emma Larsson: Metamorphosis

There is a great succession of musical discoveries coming out of Sweden right now, and it never ceases to amaze. In this instance, the well-honed skills of jazz musicians are aligned with an strong sensitivity for songwriting. The three women and two men who make up "Dearest Sister" form a band in the fullest sense. Their debut album "Collective Heart" is a prime example of a current musical development: extremely able young musicians with open minds and ears are applying the rigour and the tools from their jazz training to find a sound world that is very distinct from jazz. And whereas their music unavoidably looks straight in the eye at the influences, themes and issues affecting their generation, these artists also deftly avoid another trap: they steer clear of the usual production methods of mainstream pop in favor of a much more destinct, grounded approach. What we find on this album is what many listeners are longing to hear: authenticity, originality and emotional depth.

The core of Dearest Sister is a very special creative duo: singer/keyboardist Andrea Hatanmaa and pianist Ylva Almcrantz. The two met while studying jazz and popular music at the Malmö Academy of Music in Sweden, the city where the band is based. They have contrasting personalities and come from very different musical backgrounds. A creative tension arises from that, and it not only infuses Dearest Sister's music, it is also what makes it so appealing and interesting. Andrea Hatanmaa was brought up in Finland. Raised on rock and pop music, her vocal technique is rock-solid, and yet she doesn't sound anything like a typical jazz singer. She says: "What is important to me is to master my craft, and to learn and assimilate as much as possible from all directions, and then – whether I’m on stage or in the studio – to forget all that and find an individual voice and personal expression."

It is not only Hatanmaa’s haunting voice with its kaleidoscope of facets and nuances that shapes the music, but also the lyrics and concise, refined songwriting. Hatanmaa and Ylva Almcrantz form a songwriting partnership. The singer says: "Ylva is the musical genius in the band. She comes up with the most beautiful arrangements and has an amazing sixth sense for moods, sounds, dynamics, small and big melodies," adding with a laugh: "I just have to be careful that it doesn't all get too jazzy."

The band's name, Dearest Sister, brings into focus the special bond between the two women. It is borrowed from "Allrakäraste Syster" by Swedish children’s author Astrid Lindgren, a story about two sisters who experience magical adventures in a secret land.

The debut album "Collective Heart" is a result of the close and ongoing collaboration between the two young band co-leaders, but the pair are also complemented by a highly sensitive band. The range of songs is striking in its breadth, and songs can often take very unexpected turns as they evolve: vast Nordic soundscapes alternate with "walls of sound". The engine room, giving propulsion to the band, is the groove from drummer Liam Amner: sometimes delicate, sometimes off-kilter and occasionally extraordinarily driven. Joakim Lissmyr plays bowed or plucked double bass, and flugelhornist Ellen Pettersson plays soft melodies which she extends and enhances electronically. And among this we hear an almost classical, enchanting brass interlude, or a synth line and a cluster enhanced by effects. One might start to wonder if there is too much going on. But the arrangements are so intelligently constructed, their components so carefully chosen and the execution so clear and organic that the music, despite its many elements, always seems approachable, complete and coherent.

"Collective Heart" is a fascinating and emotionally affecting album. We find a joy in experimentation, and also musical curiosity and open-mindedness. These are strong musicians who are capable of offering the listener surprising contrasts and great authenticity. This is music in a constant state of evolution and discovery. “Dearest Sister" know what they are looking for, so if listeners find it on "Collective Heart", it is not going to be by accident: this is a band well aware of what it can bring, and that is something new, special, and very real.

"'Jazz' must be reevaluated and redefined with Dearest Sister. Everything from Massive Attack to Sade is included. A fantastic debut!" - Rolling Stone

"Jazz combined with indie, sensitive lyrics, and a special twist." - 3sat Kulturzeit

Dearest Sister
Jazz skills meet songwriting sensibility. And: Another extraordinary discovery from the musical wonderland of Sweden. The three women and two men of the new ACT "Dearest Sister" stand for a current phenomenon:Young musicians* with broad horizons and sound, jazz-influenced training, who do not use their skills to play jazz in the conventional sense, but a music that deals with the influences and themes of their own generation.But at the same time, music that deliberately does not want to be "pop", but rather contrasts with the kind of modern mainstream music production and thus fulfils the longing of many listeners for authenticity, originality and emotional depth.

Dearest Sister