We first heard about the artist from another young great singer, Aoife O'Donovan with the progressive traditional band Crooked Still. Hanne was between works at the time, but finally our opportunity came around, as she had signed with the coveted Nettwerk Records. This should be a great home for this record, and will make it somewhat easier for U.S. fans new and old to see her in concert. She is, for instance, playing the Knitting Factory in NYC on the 10th of March, Brooklyn's Union Hall the next day, and the following four days in a row at SXSW. If you're at either location, those will be shows not to miss.
Hanne and her producer collaborator Kare Verstrheim create rare and wonderful songs and sounds, many of the latter "found" or produced by things like typewriters or kitchen appliances. The artist is a very gifted, trained and able vocalist, and in this particular setting she sings very softly and with a penetrating expressiveness that's getting harder to find, especially when it's not born of self-absorption. Perhaps typical of current society, it seems that it's often the men who are singing more softly these days.
Hanne spent eighteen inspiring months in Berlin at Rykestrasse 68, which became the name of her emerging record. The way she talks about Berlin in the conversation to come surely makes this writer want to go. (And then to hit Prague and Croatia while one is there, and swim in the Adriatic, as we are encouraged to do by gypsy Steve Poltz, who is also interviewed in this issue.)
And we were certainly inspired by listening to the words and the music of Hanne Hukkelberg, as she was by Berlin. Already, assuredly one of our key finds in 2008.