Anna Gréta
Star of Spring

VÖ: 28.03.2024

Genre: Junge Talente, Piano, Vocal Jazz, Stimmen, Neu bei ACT, Piano Jazz



ACT 9748-2, 614427974822
Anna Gréta / piano, vocals, backing vocals & all keyboards
Einar Scheving / drums and percussion
Skúli Sverrisson / electric bass
Þorleifur Gaukur Davíðsson / guitar & pedal steel
Birgir Steinn Theodórsson / double bass
Magnús Trygvason Eliassen / drums
Sigurður Flosason / bass clarinet
Albert Finnbogason / synthesizer
produced by Anna Gréta

cover photo by Birna Ketilsdóttir Schram

Anna Gréta goes gentle...into her second album on ACT, “Star of Spring”. The Reykjavik-born pianist, singer and a songwriter, who has lived in Stockholm since 2014, has her own way of approaching the art of quiet, artful, deeply personal songs, often drawing inspiration from the beauty and power of Iceland’s natural landscape. Her 2021 ACT debut "Nightjar in the Northern Sky" was named after a bird, and this follow-up album lands gracefully on a flower, the “glory of the snow”, also known as the "star of spring", which symbolises the ending of winter and the arrival of spring.

But look closer, and there are always other levels of meaning. Her "Nightjar”, the rare bird she once saw in front of the northern sky, was a metaphor for the search for the things which are special and essential. In fact, almost all of Anna Gréta's lyrics have more than one significance, and her storytelling has now taken a leap forward on "Star of Spring". She says of the little flower on the title track: "I wasn't just inspired by the way it takes over the meadows in spring and turns them from green to blue, but also by the fact that it blooms because it is compelled to do so. It cannot do anything else."

Anna Gréta's starting point to creating music was and is the piano. She first studied classical music, then switched to jazz. She only started singing later, when she was writing the songs for Nightjar and wanted to express herself in words. Anna Gréta's debut as a singer, pianist and songwriter earned her international acclaim: Downbeat Magazine called it „an album with the metamophoric diversity of a year’s seasons and a voice like the everchanging colours of the Northern lights“, France Musique “a remarkably immersive experience” and Jazzwise “starkly beautiful”.

On "Star Of Spring" Anna Gréta has further developed her individual style. Her vocal lines can resemble piano motifs, often doubling them and resonating with an impressively quiet vibrato, sometimes quirkily reminiscent of Björk, at other times with the brooding ease of Norah Jones. The album also bears a very distinctive production style. For each of the songs, Anna Gréta has created her own little world of choirs, rhythmic textures and various smartly used keyboard instruments. The album ranges from the hymnal and elegiac - in "She Moves" or in the title track - to the playful and cheerful "Space Time" or the extremely pared-down melancholic ballad "Denouement". And even if the general mood of the music exudes above all warmth and comfort, Anna Gréta also deals with serious topics, such as the forced birth control of women in Greenland during the 60s and 70s in the song "The Body Remembers".

There is a directness of expression and emotionality, even sensuousness about the new album, and that is not least because Anna Gréta’s band has developed and become a properly played-in unit with the experience to take this album’s more complex arrangements in its stride. The sheen and brightness of her piano playing is contrasted with a deeper voice, that of her father Sigurður Flosason's bass clarinet, on three tracks. "This album is more playful and experimental," she says. "A lot of things were easier for me than on the first album. And while I was still completely focussed on my own world then, now I was even more conscious and aware of what was going on around me."

The result is music that is rooted in jazz, but at the same time goes far beyond it in a very subtle and deeply touching way.
Anna Gréta
Anna Gréta is one of the most interesting young discoveries of "Nordic Jazz".Sophisticated piano craftsmanship meets a haunting voice and multi-faceted songwriting. She combines elements of jazz, pop and folk to create a Nordic sound that was born in her native Iceland. She grew up near the capital Reykjavík, but Anna Gréta's adopted home is Sweden, where she is a multi-award-winning rising star. She received the Monica Zetterlund Award there in 2019 and played at the Nobel Prize ceremony in 2020.