1994 – 1995
Jan Engervik comes from the area where Nedland Kultur’s Sigbjørn Nedland spent his teens – and was known to Nedland as a good local folk singer in the traditional maritime style of songs from the Southern part of Norway. So when Jan turned up with a batch of new, fresh, humorously philosphical, funny and highly characteristic songs that he had assembled, there was no doubt that they would be heading for a studio together! These wongs were too good to be ignored, and they deserved to be made available to everyone.
Right: Jan Engervik
The songs were not Jan Engervik’s original songs. They were songs written by a Danish singer/songwriter: Niels Hausgaard, who is very popular – especially in the Northern part of Denmark – with his songs in a local dialect that can be quite hard for people outside the area to understand. Jan caught the essence of the songs, pulled them carefully up with their roots, and re-planted them in his local, Norwegian environment. His translations – or rather re-interpretations of the songs – were so good, they have now become his own songs. Not that he has stolen them, or because he does them better than Hausgaard, but because he transplants them into a new environment that gives them new life and adds to their magic.
Left: Niels Hausgaard (top) and Jan Engervik
Hausgaard’s songs are unique little sketches and stories of everuday life and the confrontation very ordinary everyday people may have with small and big problems in love, jealousy, friendship, coping with new developments in society. Subtle portraits with suprising angles, lots of compassion and warmth, but also humour, very funny characteristics and even some irony – all of it very good hearted, though…
Jan Engervik made all the mixed emotions in the songs relevant in a new environment: his home district in Southern Norway, and made us think the characters belonged here – that they must be rooted here. That is a big achievement, and therefore the songs deserbved to be presented in the best way possible – in a thoroughly worked out production.
The songs were performed by a group of local musicians, friends of Jan, not famous, and not with ambitions of being virutoso. What they had, though, was a real understanding of the songs and their environment.
One song on the album is not a Niels Hausgaard original. “Sommarsong 93” was written by Rune Belsvik (words) and Jan Erik Usterud (music), and this emotional song about someone trying to run away (by boat) from a break up with a woman, but changing his mind, going back and making up. It has become a local classic.
Right: Rune Belsvik, lyric writer, and Jan Erik Usterud, composer.