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Carin Lundin: Smulor och Parafraser

Chris Mosey By

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With this album Carin Lundin lays claim to the territory previously occupied in Swedish jazz by the late, great Monica Zetterlund. It was obviously made very much with an eye to the domestic market, with all but two of the 12 numbers in Swedish. However, Smulor och Parafraser (Crumbs and Paraphrases) is already proving something of a hit in—would you believe?—Japan. Rightly so: aided by the very able Johan Setterlind (trumpet and percussion) and Erik Söderlind on guitar, Lundin has come up with a fine set that examines her roots in the mainstream of Swedish popular music and which swings softly but surely from start to finish... which is a language anyone can understand.

It comes as something of a surprise. Carin Lundin is scarcely a household name, even in her homeland. Except perhaps in the town of Växjö, in the wooded province of Småland, where she grew up. Växjö has an excellent musical reputation, being home to the Musica Vitae Chamber Orchestra. Lundin studied piano at the local music school before, at 17, deciding on a career as a vocalist. This included a stint as a singing waitress at a Stockholm nightspot, during which she inadvertently tipped molten wax over a male customer. Overcoming such inauspicious beginnings, she went on to sing with nearly all the greats of Swedish jazz—Rolf Ericsson, Arne Domnérus and Putte Wickman, to name but three—then in 2007 won Sweden's Anita O'Day Prize.

Lundin displays far more warmth than the ultra cool Ms. O'Day ever did. And she is refreshingly unpretentious. "Han Är Bra Tokig Ändå"—"He's Funny That Way" in Swedish—and Lundin's own "Kylskåpspoesi"—Refrigerator Poetry—both hit the spot. As does, strangely enough, "Längtans Samba," an original by Swedish cabaret star Lill Lindfors. Lundin recalls as a teenager hearing the glittery Lindfors sing the number at a provincial dance hall—"The floor shook when she got to the chorus," she says. Her own version is more laid back: she pays tribute but stops shyly and attractively short of attempting to make the song her own.

"Jag kan ser dig när..." is the local version of "I'll Be Seeing You," a hit in the 1950s, "Oh oh Baby" is from an obscure EP released in 1960 and "Ramanagaram" dates from 1973. The two non-Swedish tracks are "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" in English and French vocalist Dalida's "Histoire d'un Amour."

But the standout track has to be "När Min Vän (When My Friend)." This poignant, bluesy ballad about love lost and found was Sweden's entry for the 1961 Eurovision Song Contest. It was far too good to win so few people remember it but it was sung by none other than Monica Zetterlund.

With it Lundin comes full circle.

Track Listing: Kylskåpspoesi; Jag kan se dig när; Ramanagaram; Min Vals; Han Är Bra Tokig Ändå; Längtans Samba; I Can't Give You Anything But Love; Oh oh Baby; Histoire d'un Amour; När Min Vän; Himlen är av stjärnor full; Marionetterna.

Personnel: Carin Lundin: vocals; Johan Setterlind: trumpet, percussion; Erik Söderlind, guitar; Mathias Algotsson, keyboards; Mattias Welin, bass; Daniel Fredriksson, drums.

Title: Smulor och Parafraser | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Prophone Records

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