Sheila Simmenes: Love Was Easy

Singer from Bergen in Norway seems to yearn for more southerly latitudes, musically and possibly meteorologically

539

Scandinavian singer and songwriter Sheila Simmons creates a soundworld of power and calculated subtlety on her new album Love Was Easy. A synthesis of jazz styles with pop, soul, folk and country inflections, this is a beautifully composed album for admirers of different genres of music.

Snåle Mi Gente, on which she demonstrates her multilingual skills, is particularly captivating for its limited instrumentation at the beginning. Simmenes’ solo voice, a cappella with limited percussion accompaniment, draws the listener in. Understanding the words seemed irrelevant as I felt completely connected to Simmenes’ emotions.

Her consideration of musical and vocal techniques results in a transformative and moving listening experience. Whether in a soft, higher tessitura or in more commanding chorus moments (echoing the pop belting style) the charismatic Simmenes effectively demonstrates her singing capabilities throughout the set.

The vibrant Beautiful features vocal percussion, creating a soulful mood as voice and actual percussion appear completely unified. Vocal slurs, vibrato and higher notes sustained at a piano dynamic add to the expressivity and sensitivity of the performance.

Simmenes said in reference to Anywhere You Go that it summarises the times when she has been fortunate to explore the world. At a time when we have never felt so far from the rest of the world it creates images of the freedom and excitement of exploring the world again. Simmenes brings listeners along on her adventures, from backpacking through South America to city breaks in Paris, creating a sound escape in three and a half moving minutes.

Discography
Love Was Easy; Beautiful; Anywhere You Go; Here We Are; Same Old Songs; Si Ka Du Vil; Promise Me; Could Be Love; Brazil; Snåle Mi Gente (39.11)
Sheila Simmenes (v) and others. Rio de Janeiro and Kristiansand, c.2021.
Self-produced – no label details supplied