“The best collection of my songs that anyone has ever put together”. (Kris Kristofferson)
Little did the team working in a studio in Oslo in 1999 know that their work would be so highly appreciated by the artist they were interpreting. Having always considered Kris Kristofferson one of the best songwriters in this world, Nedland Kultur’s Sigbjørn Nedland was inspired to give some of Kristofferson’s best songs to a Norwegian audience, sung in Norwegian. He set about to re-interpret a selection of songs into Norwegian, and recruited the three artists that he trusted would give the best interpretations of these songs. The CD was producted in collaboration with the Norwegian record company KKV.
The project would probably not have come about, had it not been for Svein Inge Olsen, director of the Protest Festival in Kristiansand, himself an ardent Kris Kristofferson fan, who challenged Nedland to start creative work to recreate Kristofferson’s songs in Norwegian. About 20 songs came out of the creative process, and three artists were recruited to perform the songs: Steinar Albrigtsen, Lynni Treekrem and Henning Kvitnes. All three famous Norwegian artists known for integrity, quality of performance and a real understanding of both music and lyrics. Together with producer Sigbjørn Nedland they decided to keep the number of musicians at a minimum, to ensure unity of expression on the album. Three of Norway’s leading musicians, who had all worked with the artists and the producer before, were recruited: Geir Sundstøl (guitars), Anders Engen (drums) and Øivind Madsen (bass). Recordings took place in Ambience Studios in Oslo. Re-interpreting Kris Kristofferson’s work is a serious challenge, and the team put in all their efforts to do justice to the original songs, and to keep the poetry, the atmosphere and the subtlety of expression in Kristofferson’s songwriting craft intact in the Norwegian versions of the songs.
The release of the album was followed by a short concert tour, and both CD and concerts were generally well received by the Norwegian press – although VG, the biggest Norwegian newspaper at the time, shocked everyone by giving the album one out of six possible points in a review that talked more about the general idea of translating and re-interpreting songs than about the specific album. Whatever negative feelings this might have created for the team behind the album vanished totally with the receipt of a personal, hand written letter from Kris Kristofferson, who praisied the album as the best collection of his songs ever:
Quotes from the letter:
“It is the best collection of my songs that anyone has ever put together”
“I wish in particular to express my gratitude to Sigbjorn Nedland for his perceptive selection of material and the sensitive arrangements of the songs.”
“The performances by Steinar Albrigtsen, Lynni Treekrem, and Henning Kvitnes are so soulful and heartfelt that I am brought to tears”
“I am profoundly moved to find my work so deeply understood by such kindred spirits so far from my home.”
After the release of the record, the three artists, who had not performed together before, went on doing concerts as “Falne engler” (“Fallen Angels”) even after the promotion period for the CD. The CD remains in print and available. It is one of the albums in a series of CDs in the “På norsk” (“In Norwegian”) series, that also includes CDs with songs of Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Hank Williams.
The album has been exported beyond the borders of Norway, and has reached far into the world – as this example shows: