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Eldbjørg Raknes grew up on a farm on the island Otrøy, west of Molde in Norway. Her grandmother played the organ, her mother played vinyl records and guitar and was singing evergreens and political songs. When Eldbjørg was nine years old her parents bought a piano, and very luckily she got a great piano teacher: Z Lech. Teaching all genres very enthusiastically. At the age of 16 Eldbjørg left home to specialise in music at Atlanten upper secondary school in Kristiansund. After that she went on to study theatre performance at Romerike folkehøyskole. Then she applied and was accepted at the jazz dep. at the conservatory in Trondheim – now with her voice as the main instrument.
Knowing hardly anything about jazz when entering this exclusive department, she got the opportunity to seriously dive into music, and meet other musicians – living to play. Here her main paths and methods of working and fields to explore were carved out: experimental vocal techniques, composing, improvising – using electronics and live sampling from the very start. Her first duo was with pianist Christian Wallumrød. Her first trio was with him and Arve Henriksen. She started the a cappella group Kvitretten and thereafter collaborated a cappella with Sidsel Endresen and Elin Rosseland. She had a main role in building up – and composed and arranged a lot of music for – Trondheim Voices. She run her band TINGeLING for ten years. She has also worked closely with Anders Jormin, Jon Balke, Stian Westerhus, Eirik Hegdal, Oscar Grönberg and artists from other art fields: actor Frode Eggen, poet Torgeir Rebolledo Pedersen and visual artists A K Dolven, Gjertrud Hals and Pekka Stokke. And from the very start she has been doing concerts for children all ages. She has had concerts in most of the European countries, Chile, Japan and Ukraine.
eldbjørg raknes SOLO (2004-) is eldbjørg alone on stage – with her voice and live sampling, improvising. She has been doing solo concerts in bars, cathedrals, on a floor for new born babies, in the middle of woods, in philharmonic halls, small jazz clubs, huge theatres and mountain caves – not to mention in a paraglider! Eldbjørg Raknes & Co (2015-) – with Kirsti Huke, Nils-Olav Johansen – is eldbjørg´s music and lyrics (for the first time: her own texts!) in a melodic, open and soundscaping universe of their own. Making music and concepts for children has been a part of her work from the start. Nowadays: with impro actor Frode Eggen and Rob Waring/Eirik Hegdal in the multi art impro performance «Hva kommer nå…?» (“What´s next?”) (2010-). Eldbjørg collaborates closely with sound designer Tor Breivik.
Her work has been characterized not just by her sound, but also by her determination to search for new and challenging artistic paths. Her music has been largely in the field of improvisation, using a wide range of vocal techniques and live sampling – often combined with her own compositions. The last years also with her own lyrics.
The search for new rooms for art, fresh air, possibilities and challenges also led her deeply into the Norwegian woods. February 2007 she fell in love with two houses from the late 1800’s and conceived the idea of making the place into an arena for art production in all fields. The houses by the lake Selbusjøen were restored, and named Sjøbygda Kunstnarhus. The heart of the concept was the international Sjøbygda Artist in Residence (AiR), Sjøbygdafestivalen and work shops for youths and children. Great artists like Paal Nilssen Love, Lisa C.B Lie, Pia Maria Roll, Sidsel Endresen, Bjarte Eike, Stian Westerhus, Lemur, Edvine Larssen -and many more- were doing great work there! Sadly Sjøbygda Kunstnarhus had to close down late autumn 2013, due to funding issues.
Eldbjørg Raknes has been a teacher at the Jazz Department, NTNU, Trondheim, since 1994. Since 2012: 50% Associate Professor.
Eldbjørg has received several nominations and prizes through the years, among them: Norwegian Jazz Federation’s BUDDY prize (2011), Radka Toneffs Minnnepris (2011), NOPA´s Kardemommestipendet (composition, 2000) and Rolf Gammleng prisen (jazz albums, 2012).
All about jazz
Eldbjørg Raknes is pushing the envelope with each new work.