by Jaz Bowens
Susanna Karolina Wallumrod is a songwriter, musician, and producer also known as Susanna and the Magical Orchestra or Susanna and Ensemble neoN. She lends her talents to many musical endeavors, but still has time to come back to give her fans what they’ve been waiting for- delivering albums like Wild Dog in 2012,and Susanna and Ensemble neoN’s The Forester in 2013. The eclectic jazz singer with a dash of folk appeal has become an international phenomenon over the years and has come from her home in Norway to show and tell her American fans what she has been up to.
Susanna started an American tour again by chance. “It was the invitation from the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville that made the small tour happen this time,” Susanna says. “I’m looking forward to returning to the US with my music. Every tour is different; the places, the people, the music, all changing and developing. It makes it interesting. Hopefully we will meet people who already know my music and people who are getting to know it for the first time.”
Philadelphia fans and newbies alike will be happy to greet Susanna with open arms on her first visit to the city as she puts on a unique and electrifying performance. “I’m very much looking forward to playing in Philadelphia for the first time,” she says. “ I can promise the audience an intense hour of heartfelt music, plenty of dynamics, and hopefully moments that will linger on long after the concert.”
Joyus, truthful, and dynamic moments are exactly what will overcome you after experiencing Susanna’s exceptional voice and raw talent. Her most recent album, The Forester, delivers just that. Susanna, along with Ensemble neoN, sound so perfectly matched with each other that the collaboration seems only natural. Carefully crafted composing, skillful instrument playing, along with great songwriting and vocals make for a charming and original album.
The Forester has won a Norwegian Grammy and still tops the charts. “The songs for The Forester were written over a long period of time- some of the songs have also been released earlier in different versions, on Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos’ from 2007 and Wild Dog from 2012,” Susanna says. “The leaders of Ensemble neoN asked me about a possible collaboration on both old and new written songs, soon becoming a part of the project. The two leaders of neoN are composers and composed arrangements of the songs for the ensemble and myself. It turned out so great that I wanted to do a whole album.”
Although the process was long the results made the wait worthwhile. What Susanna enjoys most about making music is performing. “Favorite songs [from The Forester and Wild Dog] are always hard to pick, but I really enjoy how the different songs develop after playing them for a while live,” Susanna says. “I currently enjoy “Starving Soul” from Wild Dog because of the flow and color in it. From The Forester, I’m very fond of the arrangements for “Lonely Heart” because of the instrumentation and air.”
There’s no reason to disagree with Susanna’s choices. Other standout songs include “Invitation” and “Rolling on Rolling Stone” from Wild Dogs and it’s hard to pinpoint a favorite from The Forester. All of Susanna’s songs are so precisely put together and flow in such a way that could easily be imagined on Broadway or the soundtrack for a movie. She’s professional and quite elegant.
To take a listen for yourself, check out Susanna on her various sites- Youtube, Twitter, and, of course, her personal website. If you haven’t had the chance to see her perform live or if you haven’t heard of her at all, come down to the International House this Tuesday for a intimate and unique performance from Susanna. Get your tickets online or at the door.