In the winter of 1994 Lisa Ekdahl was brought into superstardom over night in scandinavia. Lisa’s debut album sold quadruple platinum and gave her three grammy awards. Her laid back style, matched with her fragility and sensitivity has dazzled fans and critics alike.
Several European countries and especially France has fallen for her understated way of performing jazz standards, bossanova and original songs. Still few people know much about Lisa’s life and few know that she creates and records her music in a tucked away house across a courtyard in central Stockholm. She has never let a journalist or a TV-team cross her doorstep.
Until now. And in her own way.
In the DVD documentary “Lisa Ekdahl at the Olympia, Paris” Lisa opens the door to her universe. The film is maybe one of the most beautiful and artistically genuine Swedish music documentary ever made. This DVD contains songs from the Olympia mixed with Lisa meeting with friends, getting into conversation and playing songs in her home in Stockholm. In Paris Lisa plays a sold out show at the legendary L’Olympia. The CD is a recording of this show.
The Olympia concert (CD and DVD) was the grand finale of Lisa Ekdahl’s critically acclaimed European tour 2009-2010 that followed the release of the album “Give me that slow knowing smile”.
The band consists of: Mathias Blomdahl (guitar and percussion), Tomas Hallonsten (Piano, Hammond organ & Trumpet) and Josef Zackrisson (Bass). Lisa will tour again summer & fall 2011.
I will never forget when I was first introduced to the French audience.
It was in September, 1997 in the small club, La villa in Paris.
I loved it from the first moment.
Soon after playing small clubs I played bigger places in France, like L’Olympia and the Nice jazz festival. Regardless of if I play a small or bigger venue I always look for an intimate experience.
Being back stage at the Olympia, knowing that you are in the same dressing room where legends like Edith Piaf, Judy Garland and Nina Simone have been preparing for their shows adds an extra dimension. It lifts your spirit. I like to bow down to the great ones who came before us and at the same time celebrate the moment. The Olympia is a great place for that.
Before a concert there is always a lot of preparing and rehearsing. I like to meet up with musical friends to try new thing in a relaxed way, to find new inspiration and also to support each other. There is a recording studio and a lot of instruments in my home and I often have talented friends visiting.
I’ve been thinking for a long time that it would be interesting to show this aspect of my musical life to my audience. But I was aware that bringing in a TV team could easily destroy the spontaneous and natural feel. When I meet Swedish film maker Adam Nilsson I felt that he would be perfect for capturing those creative gatherings. Adam is calm, respectful and has an artist’s mentality. He made everyone forget about the camera.
One of my talented friends, Ane Brun was back in Stockholm after being on tour with Peter Gabriel. She came by my house and we recorded a song together. I remember we had tea and that my trumpet player tried to teach us all to play the ancient Chinese game Mahjong afterwards.
Another dear friend is Rikard Wolff, one of Sweden’s most famous actors. I’ve known him for 15 years. In the DVD we sing “Cry me a river”, a song he has never sung before. Old friend – new experience. New York born folk blues singer Eric Bibb also came by the house. Eric has a large collection of hats and I collect hats to.
Another person who is around a lot is my favourite photographer Anders Thessing. He drank tea, listened to songs being played while sending out good vibrations to everyone and at the same time took all the photographs for the CD & DVD deluxe combo.
In my regular band we are four people including me,
Mathias Blomdahl – guitars, percussion, piano and vocals.
Tomas Hallonsten – piano, hammond organ, and trumpet.
Josef Zackrisson – bass, vocals and percussion.
All three guys are super creative. We all like to rehearse and figure out new arrangements for the songs before going on tour. I like to have a lot of space in the arrangement. My tiny voice sounds better with space around it and being a Swedish girl I love the sound of silence in the music.
The next chapter for me now is to start rehearsing for the summer festivals around Europe followed by a full concert tour starting in France in the fall 2011.