Interview by Alessandra Cognetta
Here at Femme Metal Webzine we like to celebrate special occasions, and what’s better than a surprise interview with Anneke van Giersbergen to celebrate the release of “Verloren Verleden”, a collaboration with Icelandic folk band Árstíðir. This joint effort is a collection of covers, carefully selected and reinterpreted in a very peculiar and intimate style. Anneke kindly sat down with us and gave us a few details on the process behind the creation of the album, which you can read about right below.
Hello and welcome to Femme Metal Webzine, Anneke! It’s a pleasure to have you here once again. “Verloren Verleden” is a very peculiar cover album, with classics from different genres and time periods rearranged to fit yours and Árstíðir’s style. Some songs were already part of both of your repertoires, but how did you decide on the tracklist?
Both a capella songs (“Þér ég unni” and “Heyr Himna Smiður”) were already part of Árstíðir‘s live set. I once performed “When I Am Laid In Earth” and Russian Lullaby on a Dutch TV show dedicated to classical music. The host of the show is a very famous Dutch comedian and classic music connoisseur named Tijl Beckand. He also helped me decide which works should be included in the album and of course the guys of Árstíðir had a few suggestions as well.
The songs on the album also come in a variety of languages, including Dutch and Icelandic. Did you have the chance to sing in so many different languages before? How did you approach this challenge as a singer?
No, I haven’t and this was a very challenging and fun part of this project. There are 5 languages on the album. I only speak Dutch and English. I understand a bit of German, but I learned the French and Icelandic lyrics 100% phonetically. Luckily my husband speaks German quite well and a French cello player was involved with the recordings too. The guys in Árstíðir and an Icelandic choir conductor taught me the Icelandic songs.
I feel that rearranging something like an aria to fit your own style must be a very interesting challenge. Seeing the amazing results it produced so far, do you ever think about trying it again, maybe with another album on the same vibe?
Many pop/rock singers have done arrangements of classical arias, but usually they make it even bigger, with big orchestras, etc. I really wanted to use a non-operatic voice and a minimalistic folky approach. I am very happy with the result and I would like to do it again, but first I will take a little break in 2017, so I will be able to fully focus on a heavy album and a touring cycle following that release.
You will have a Dutch tour with Árstíðir in March. Are there any chances to catch you both together live elsewhere in the coming future?
I would love to, but it seems impossible since both our schedules are extremely busy. We were able to find 1 month to devote to this tour and I’m afraid that will be it for the time being.
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Anneke! Please feel free to greet fans and readers. We hope to have you with us again soon!
Thank you Alessandra. It’s always a pleasure to talk to Femme Metal Webzine. Thank you for your continued support and take care!