Sigrid Moldestad: Tonen i meg

Embracing the Riddle Within

Listening Post 310. We all have strengths and frailties, multifaceted personalities and lives, good and bad days. On Tonen i meg (The Tone in Me), Sigrid Moldestad, the Norwegian singer-songwriter-musician, joins forces with Sigrid Moldestad the playwright to explore, shake and sing the inner human riddles that mold identities and worlds. Contrasting colors rotate on her musical landscape, light emerging from darkness, power from timidity, beauty from sadness—or vice versa. Moldestad has always been a master of playing with the genre dials, here set mostly on the Norwegian folk and Americana channels. But on her sixth solo album she also takes new turns by concentrating more on her vocals—magnificent yet unassuming—largely without her virtuoso fiddle; and by staying more in the melancholy lane but with uplifting motives. Like Ibsen, her scenes often defy the constraints of past/present and dream/reality. Set mostly in her native Nordfjord region, the songs portray characters wrestling with choices. In the title track a nineteenth-century woman blames her husband’s death on her “sinful” fiddle playing—a timeless form of self-inflicted talent-shaming among women fearful of standing out (video 1). In Karolina (video 2), a bride who cries through her wedding day goes on to happiness, defying modern expectations of arranged marriages. Bonden (The Farmer, video 3) portrays a man who preserves his family estate even though it ultimately means not having a family. Two songs involve going back in time: Tilbake i tid to converse with the dearly departed (video 4); and Drøyma det att (Dreamin’ the Dream, video 5) to alter the course of love. This is an album about “embracing what we have around us and in us, both the good and the less good,” Moldestad said in a recent interview. “We are never just either/or.” Crafting riddles into art, she sets just the right tone. (Heilo/Grappa Musikkforlag)

Sigrid Moldestad: Tonen i meg/ The Tone in Me
Sigrid Moldestad: Vocals, fiddle, Hardanger fiddle, ukulele
Sigbjørn Apeland: Harmonium, Farfisa organ, Rhodes, piano
Jørgen Sandvik: Guitars, banjo, mandolin, guzheng, vocals
Anders Bitustøyl: Bass, vocals
Roald Kaldestad: Guitars, mandolin, vocals
Kåre Opheim: Drums, vocals

Guest musicians
Matias Monsen: Cello
Johanne Løkensgård Mjøs: Violin
Ingrid Eriksen: Violin
Yumi Sagiuchi Shultzon: Violaz

Related posts. Sigrid Moldestad: Vere Her, Listening Post 146, April 18, 2018

Sigrid Moldestad: Så ta mitt hjerte – Dei beste songane, Listening Post 78, Dec. 19, 2016


Tonen i meg / The Tone in Me
Lyrics & music: Sigrid Moldestad

From the artist’s notes:
A song about the powerful—to some, too powerful—dark force inside to produce art and music, and the power to change and thrill people. I originally wrote this about Lisbeth Andersdotter, who played the fiddle 150 years ago and believed her husband’s death was a punishment from God because she had played the fiddle—a sin. I recognize the feeling of being afraid of the light that my art can give me sometimes, something I think many women feel: Afraid to be too much, too loud, too luminous, to be “wrong.” So the old wisdom, “Its not the darkness we are afraid of, it is the light,” came to me in this song. In the end I sing: “Don’t be afraid of your power and light. Just recognize it and give it to the world…


Lyrics & Music: Sigrid Moldestad

An old story about a marriage in my home village, told to me by an elderly woman who remembered it from when she was a child: She saw this bride being dressed and made pretty for her wedding, but with tears tears flowing down her cheeks. In those days not all weddings were love matches; many were arranged by families. The bride loved another man who had left her and, days before the wedding, came back wanting her—but it was too late. Despite the sad start, her arranged marriage was a happy one.


Bonden / The Farmer
Lyrics & music: Sigrid Moldestad

The story of a man living alone with his cat on his farm, about his life and the responsibility many farmers feel to take care of the family estate and heritage—so much that they might let other chances in life pass… like love. I wrote it inspired by people I have met in villages in Norway. 


Tilbake I tid / Back in time
Lyrics & music: Sigrid Moldestad

To ask all the questions I have. To listen to you if I could, go back just for a little while and get some answers. All we are and who we are is a result of the times and people no longer here. Try to get your own answers, get the bits together in your own history. All I have is a picture of you. Looking in your eyes I wonder what you really wanted, thought, wished for.


Drøyma det att / Dreamin’ the Dream
Lyrics & music: Billy Burnette, Bekka Bramlett

The artist’s translation and cover of the song from Fleetwood Mac’s 1995 album Time.

There’s a place/I sometimes see you there
It’s a place that I visit/Most every night

And I see your face/Your eyes tell me you still care
But it’s suddenly over/With morning’s first light

As the day begins/This feeling is going strong
Sometimes the only thing/That keeps me going on
And until you find/Your own way back to me
I’ll be forever/Dreamin’ the dream


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