No. 17, July 2001
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Copyright 2001  www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.

Lisa Ekdahl
Biography, concert and CD reviews
Lisa Ekdahl sings Salvadore Poe

Article added on July 13, 2001

In 1994, at the age of 23, the Swedish singer Lisa Ekdahl became famous overnight in her homeland with her debut album and the #1 hit single Vem Vet (Who Knows). The record sold half a million copies and Lisa was awarded three Swedish music prizes, one of them as the nation's best artist of the year. In Denmark and other Scandinavian countries, her album was a success too.

Lisa was discovered by a producer at EMI. But in 1996 and 1997, she recorded her following two pop albums with RCA/BMG: Med Kroppen Mot Jorden and Bortom Det Bl. Then, with When Did You Leave Heaven, Lisa switched to jazz and the English language. In 1998, it was a hit in Sweden and in France. She made new fans with it. In the USA however, it was not greeted with a lot of praise. Her childish voice was (rightly) considered unsuitable for jazz. Lisa's following album, Back To Earth (1999), was again full of jazz standards and, like her jazz debut, recorded with the Peter Nordahl Trio. In France alone, it sold over 40000 copies. Her live appearances in Great Britain were accompanied by positive feedback, e.g. in the Telegraph and the Guardian.
Lisa Ekdahl's sixth album, Lisa Ekdahl sings Salvadore Poe (2000), testifies to artistic and private changes. On her flight to India, she met the composer and guitarist Salvadore Poe. They fell in love and got married. Lisa moved to New York City, her husband's city.
As the new album's title indicates, Lisa exclusively sings songs written by her husband. It is a nostalgic reference to bossa nova. Her fragile and childish voice seems to be made for this type of music. That is also reflected in sales. In France and Scandinavia, were the album was first released,
Lisa Ekdahl Sings Salvadore Poe sold over 120000 copies until early 2001.
Salvadore Poe was born in New Jersey. He taught himself the guitar and listened a lot to Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan and the Beatles. As a teenager, he had several bands. His parents had a large jazz and bossa nova collection which influenced him too.
At 17, Poe went to the famous
Berklee College in Boston where he studied guitar and jazz composition. His new artistic models were Chick Corea, Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, Weather Report, Pat Metheny and John McLaughlin. In the late 70s and early 80s, U2, The Police and The Cars became new influences. Poe was a guitarist and songwriter in rock bands in New York and Boston.
In the 1990s, Salvadore Poe worked for
film and television. He wrote the soundtrack for the movie The Basketball Diaries with Leonardo di Caprio. For the music channel VH1 he composed songs for The Rock and Roll Picture Show and The VH1 Fashion Awards. He wrote music for CBS' broadcast of the Olympic Winter Games 1998. He also worked for CNN and the car races in Daytona.
fter these jobs, Poe took a break and, for inspiration and reflection, traveled to India. As mentioned above, on the plane, he met Lisa, his future wife. They discovered their shared love for bossa nova and, as a result, there is the new album: Lisa Ekdahl Sings Salvadore Poe.
Concert in Zurich, March 24, 2001
Lisa Ekdahl's concert in Zurich in March, organized by All Blues, was almost entirely dedicated to her new album Lisa Ekdahl sings Salvadore Poe. She was accompanied by her husband, Salvadore Poe, on guitar, Magnus Lindgren on saxophone and flute, Mathias Algotsson on piano, Backa-Hans Eriksson on bass and Jonas Holgersson on drums. After her debut in Zurich in 1998, this was Lisa Ekdahl's second concert in the Swiss economic capital. This time not in front of 60 people in the intimate Widder Bar, but at the sold out Kaufleuten.
Lisa Ekdahl began the evening with Daybreak, the opening title on her new album. Her voice was as charming as on the CD, only the bossa nova sound of her band was somewhat blurred.
I Don't Miss You Anymore and its jazzier sound was next. Magnus Lindgren on saxophone created the necessary warmth. With Sunny Weather, the bossa nova feeling came back fully.
Since You've Been Gone brought a dramatic note to the concert. Astonishingly throughout the entire evening, Lisa's gestures remained in complete contrast to her singing. She was clumsy, awkward and stiff, her voice however soft, supple and smooth.
The Color of You was, like all the previous songs, from Lisa Ekdahl sings Salvadore Poe. After a moment, Lisa stepped aside, sat down on a corner of the scene and listened to her band inflame the public. Once more, Magnus Lindgren on saxophone was the outstanding man. Then, the singer came back into the now red spotlight and, with her sweet voice sang a ballad finishing with the tender words "I will never be without you".
Next were a song with a stronger bossa nova touch and an intimate duet with her husband, who accompanied her on guitar as well as the song I've Never Seen Anything Like You in which, unfortunately, the subtle, light and airy piano playing by
Mathias Algotsson was almost permanently covered by the guitar. In the instrumental part, the saxophone and the guitar, often alternating, dominated.
How Many More Times featured Mathias Algotsson on piano with jazzier and calmer sounds in the beginning. It was followed by Now or Never, the first song from the previous album Earth. Stylistically, the song known from Billie Holiday's version, did not fit in with the bossa nova tunes. After about one hour and a solo effort on the transverse flute, the last song was announced, Rivers of Love from
Lisa Ekdahl sings Salvadore Poe. There, the drummer Jonas Holgersson got his first chance to shine.
As a first encore, Lisa offered the sugar-sweet and elegant I Will Be Blessed, enthusiastically greeted by the public. Her voice was naive and innocent as always, again best accompanied by the saxophone.
At the public's insistence, the band played the beguiling Only You. The crowd still wanted more and, therefore, it got
Now or Never for a second time because Lisa Ekdahl's bossa nova repertoire seemed to be limited to the 14 tunes of the new CD. At the very end, she sang the tender and catchy ballad The Rhythm of Our Hearts, the only title from
Lisa Ekdahl sings Salvadore Poe not played yet.
Lisa Ekdahl is not a divinely gifted singer, but she makes the best out of her possibilities. Her fragile and delicate voice is best suited for the bossa novas written by Salvadore Poe. She lacks the necessary improvisation skills for jazz and, therefore, her future may well lay in the field of popular music. In any case, Lisa will not be able to use her childish voice in a credible way for much longer. But as with her bossa nova album, Lisa Ekdahl may well positively surprise fans and critics alike. According to some of my Swedish friends, her strength lies in writing lyrics in Swedish.


Foto Copyright: BMG.

Lisa Ekdahl sings Salvador Poe. RCA Victor/BMG, 2000. Get it from:
- Amazon.de
- Amazon.fr
- Amazon.co.uk
- Amazon.com
1. Daybreak
2. Rivers of Love
3. Sunny Weather
4. Only You
5. The Color Of You
6. How Many More Times
7. I Will Be Blessed
8. Since You've Been Gone
9. I've Never Seen Anything Like You
10. I Don't Miss You Anymore
11. Nightingale
12. The Rhythm of Our Hearts
13. Sun Rose
14. Of My Conceit

Lisa Ekdahl, Peter Nordahl, Ronnie Gardiner, Patrik Boman: Back to Earth. RCA Victor/BMG, 2000. Get it from:
- Amazon.de
- Amazon.com
- Amazon.fr
- Amazon.co.uk

Lisa Ekdahl: When Did You Leave Heaven. RCA Victor/BMG, 1997. Get it from:
- Amazon.de
- Amazon.com
- Amazon.co.uk
- Amazon.fr

Bortom Det Bla. RCA/BMG, 1997.

Med Kroppen Mot Jorden
. RCA/BMG, 1996.

Lisa Ekdahl: Lisa Ekdahl, 1994. Her debut album.

Lisa Ekdahl. Foto Copyright: BMG.