Photo Credit: Karolina Zapolska
LondonJazz News: You are part Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish, and – if I remember – speak all three languages? How does all that fit together?
Catherine Legardh: My mother was half Norwegian / half Swedish, my father was Danish with Norwegian and Swedish grandparents. I spent all my holidays in Norway as a child. Both of my parents unfortunately have gone but I still have a relatively big family up in Norway, as well as in Sweden. So I basically grew up with a bit of everything when it comes to the Nordic languages. Danish is my mother tongue but in my childhood the Norwegian language played an important role, as my mother spoke it. We would be visiting family up in Sweden as well – but it was not till I started touring in Sweden in 2008 with a local band (doing a Monica Zetterlund Tribute) – that the Swedish language became familiar and relatively effortless to speak and sing.
LJN: And you have been teacher / music educator I think?
CL: Yes, I was a full time music teacher for seven years. It is 10 years ago that I quit my job to go for a professional singing career. So, I actually have my 10th anniversary as an independent musician this very month 🙂
LJN: You have visited the UK before but is this your debut in London?
CL: Oh yes, it is my first time performing in London. I have previously performed at a few smaller venues around England. I have done the Lescar Jazz club in Sheffield a few times, as well as Matt & Phreds in Manchester and a lovely place called Davenham Theatre in Cheshire back in 2011. As well as Edinburgh Jazz Festival and Glasgow Jazz Festival back in 2009.
LJN: Do you have a full schedule in London?
CL: I will be very busy arriving early on the Friday ahead of the gig. Brian Kellock and I will be visiting Music Sales (the head office of my Record label, Storyville) where we are planning to do a small studio recording. After that there might be a BBC radio interview and in the afternoon we will be playing to the official opening of the Festival ‘Sounds of Denmark’. And we might need to fit in a rehearsal before the gig too.
LJN: We always think Brian Kellock is one of our best kept UK secrets? How did you discover him or he you, and how did your collaboration with him get going?
CL: He sure is a hidden secret 🙂 I met him over a decade ago attending the Fionna Duncan Vocal Jazz Workshop up in Scotland (in 2004). He was accompanying / co-teaching during that week. We became close friends and colleagues right away. He came to visit soon after that – and since then he has been performing with me almost every year at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. He is a regular guest here. I am very lucky 🙂
LJN: I love those Monica Zetterlund-inspired songs on your album Nordisk. Are they part of your London programme?
CL: I probably cannot help sneaking in a tune or two from my ‘Nordic’ repertoire – maybe an old Swedish Zetterlund folk tune as well as one or two of my own tunes.
LJN: And you have won some awards for your albums?
CL: My album Land & Sky (original music co-written with Icelandic sax player Sigurdur Flosason) was nominated ‘Best vocal jazz album of the year’ at the Danish Music Awards as well as at the Icelandic Music Awards back in 2011.
LJN: What else will you be singing?
CL: I think I will be singing a handful of the songs from Brian’s and my most recent album Love Still Wears a Smile – which is rare selection of jazz standards with a twist. It will probably be a blend of everything – standards, Nordic tunes, original tunes, maybe I will even sneak in a children’s tune (pp).
The Sounds of Denmark Festival runs from September 16 to 22 at the Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho (LINK)
Cathrine Legardh & Brian Kellock are on a double bill with Sinne Eeg & Thomas Fonnesbæk on 17 September at 1:30pm