Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Discovery: Tomine Mikkeline - "Hallelujah"

There’s not really a place to start with Tomine Mikkeline, in her native Norway she's already a well respected vocalist and known talent - but somewhat of an enigma outside of the Nordic world. She's sung for Malala Yousafzai, Queen Sonja of Norway, and also to top it Erna Solberg prime Minister of Norway. I don't quite know which one of those is more impressive. By that age my accolades related mostly to a moderately average GCSE grade in ICT. Mikkeline is as an unknown to us, as I suspect Katherine Jenkins is to the non-classically trained audience outside of the UK. Mikkeline has also toured with Aled Jones, known mostly for singing his childhood version of “Walking in the Air”, with a video which has a noticeable resemblance to a Welsh version of Twin Peaks. 


Mikkeline does not want to be seen as a one trick pony, and she's far from it. In Norway her achievements at such a young age is inspiring to all young singers and performers, be it a vocalist, musician, or any art form. This is what hard work, discipline, and natural talent gets you. Her take on Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" isn't as hauntingly beautiful as the original - eye watering as JB's, or capturing as John Cale's, but this is "Hallelujah" we're talking about. A song most known for being notoriously difficult to sing and perform, especially considering Cohen's own version is largely dismissed because it's just not quite "Avalanche"... No, Mikkeline with un-complimenting backing music delivers a fantastic clean version of the classic. It's surprising just how clean her voice is actually, she glides through notes casually like a tennis player glides through the air to hit a return. Thoroughly relaxing to the point of sleep.

I'm unable to comment on the state of the Norwegian classical scene in terms of vocalists - but with an array of technical talent, Mikkeline should not find it too difficult to make this her profession. Based on my short YouTube research, if her rendition of “Ave Marie” is anything to go by, then yeah, she's already made it her profession.
-Eddie Gibson

Discovery: Prince of Toronto - Flies With Honey

We last heard from Jackson Fishauf in 2013 during the Discovery Weekender. Back then Fishauf was doing things a little differently, his album Legitimate was well received by all of us, and stacked in country-esque heavy rock music attuned to fellow Canadian Neil Young. Things are a little different this time, with new compatriots with him as part of the more mellow Prince of Toronto - I'm using the word mellow lightly as Fishauf doesn't quite do mellow.

"Flies with Honey" is a much finer sound than many of Fishauf's earlier recordings. There’s a bigger emphasis on alt-country here as opposed to the country rock heaviness of his previous. He's not lost his knack of just going wild on his electric guitar though, and thankfully this is a standout of Fishauf's music as it compliments his husky voice well. It can be tricky trying new things, attempting different sounds, but it sounds so seamless here for Fishauf and Prince of Toronto - it's a clear continuation from Legitimate that rightfully has the energy of his past, but the more soulful feel of his future.
-Eddie Gibson