CD - SANNE RAMBAGS
(2020, Sonna Records)
text: Robin Boer
After a few very busy years for singer Sanne Rambags, with projects like the adventurous Under The Surface (with Joost Lijbaart and Bram Stadhouders) and the tranquil trio Mudita (with Koen Smits and Sjoerd van Eijck), the time has come for her first official solo album, called Sonna. Recently, she launched her own record label of the same name (Sonna Records) from which this is the first release.
Just as with Mudita, Sanne's main inspiration comes from nature. The main subject of Sonna is about retrieving your own detachment and imagination. To feel the freedom to express yourself openly and keep having faith in your own greatness. Sanne considers her voice to be a powerful source of healing, and the possibility to express herself fully as the most powerful medicine.
Sanne chose to record the album near the place where she grew up, in Riel (Noord-Brabant) and the Heilige Antonius Abt Church turns out to be the preferred location. Since the voice is the only instrument on the album, the acoustics and atmosphere of a church prove to be perfect for the occasion. She recorded five hours of improvised vocals, out of which twenty-five pieces have been cut, filling up forty-one minutes of music.
The opening track 'At Great Height' is a shining example of free poetry where thoughts and feelings are being expressed controlled and melodically and we can hear the lyrical side of Sanne's beautiful voice. On pieces like 'Separation', 'Ashes' (perhaps inspired by the impressive paintings of Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, by whom Sanne is highly influenced), 'Lemuria' and 'Breen', the voice is being explored and expressed limitedlessly, highly intuitive, vulnerable and honest. It proves that music can barely be presented in a more pure form than this. Just the human voice, and gently blowing surrounding noise and occasional church clocks and bird whisteling. In 'Enigma', 'Sonna', 'Whelve' and 'Lunatic' we hear intuitive language, shifting between clear melodies and free-form vocals. Later on, she is reaching very high notes, using falsetto voice, during 'Kali', 'Dagali', and 'Hemispheres', while 'Nude' is more low and percussive of character.
Sanne takes you with her, on an emotional journey where she shows the many different personalities of her voice. On some occasions, you can hear the Norwegian influence of Sami style joik, but essentially we hear the voice of someone with a very clear vision, and the courage to present the musician at it's most vulnerable and direct.
It has been wonderfully recorded, mastered and mixed by Ted Masseurs and Gert van Hoof; all facets of the voice sound very near and clear, perfectly embedded into the ambient sound. We do recommend to listen to this album with good headphones on, or in a space where you won't be distracted.
Sonna is available on Bandcamp (sannerambags.bandcamp.com) and all common streaming platforms and a vinyl release is planned.
Read the other ProgJazz articles about Sanne Rambags