I have a new favourite Swedish pop star: her name is Laleh. With quite an interest in Swedish pop music, I don’t know how or why she’s slipped under my radar.
But it wasn’t until about a week ago, when I checked out the Swedish Charts that I discovered her. Just a week or so after the release of her latest album, Sjung (Sing), it’s topped the Swedish album charts, and she currently has two songs in the Swedish single charts, including a remake of Eva Dahlgren’s “Ängeln i rummet”, a song she performed in front of Eva on “Så mycket bättre”.
“Så mycket bättre” (so much better) is a Swedish television phenomenon. The basic premise is you get a bunch of well-known and loved Swedish pop performers from the last fifty years, put them together in a house (no it’s not Big Brother), and ask them to interpet each other’s songs. A good example of what this can lead to is Lasse Berghagen’s interpretation of “Längesen”, a song written and performed by Swedish rap performer, Petter.
Here’s the original
And here’s the version by Lasse.
Another good example is September’s re-interpretation of Petter’s song, Mikrofonkåt which topped the Swedish charts, and which has now been released in English.
This is a seriously good television format, and I hope we see some English language versions develop.
After appearing on “Så mycket bättre”, Laleh is now also topping the charts, and deservedly so. She sings well, has a dramatic quality to her work (she’s an actress also), and sings in a wide variety of styles.
According to Wikipedia,
Laleh Pourkarim (Persian: لاله پورکریم, born June 10, 1982) is an Iranian born Swedish singer-songwriter and former actress. She uses her given name Laleh as her stage name. Following a short acting career, she entered the music industry in 2005 with her self-titled debut album which peaked at number one in Sweden and went on to become the highest selling album of the year. She has since released three further albums, all of which have been produced, written, recorded, engineered and performed by herself. She has sung in both English and Swedish, in addition to her parents native tongue, Persian. In 2011, she participated in the Swedish television show Så mycket bättre, which sees a number of artists create new interpretations of the others songs. Her performances on the show were lauded by both critics and the public. Following the show, it was noted in the media that she had been given “a second breakthrough”. Her latest album, Sjung, was released across Scandanavia on 25 January 2012.
Her latest CD is both in English and Swedish, and contains a wide variety of musical styles. It’s kinda quirky, it’s a little bit Kate Bush. A little bit Tori Amos.
My favourite tracks on the album are… as follows, but sadly, WMG has restricted their re-use, so you’ll need to watch and listen via the Youtube links below.
The big hit song from the album so far is “Some Die Young”.
Who Started It?
Vårens Första Dag (Spring’s first day)
And finally… I love this… her cover verion of E-Type’s “Here I Go Again”
Do yourself a favour. She’s a star.