WIN! Signed Ane Brun Albums!!

As you may have noticed here at The Kaje we are more than a little enamoured with Swedish songstress Ane Brun. There is no easy way to describe the way in which Ane Brun moves us. Ane Brun is simply something else. Something more. More than just a musician who moves her audience, Brun is able to compel through her implicit connection with her own compositions. Having polled “It All Starts With One” within our Top 20 Albums of 2011, our fascination has increased ten-fold with the release of the inexplicably beautiful double disc deluxe edition last month. Spellbound, we are thrilled to announce that Brun has kindly given us a handful of signed albums to help spread the word. If you would like to get your hands on one, simply tell us the title of the Ane Brun and Jose Gonzalez duet as featured on “It All Starts With One”… Answers to jeremy@the-kaje.com

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LIVE REVIEW: Ane Brun, o2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire (London), 28.04.12

Any The Kaje regulars will know that Ane Brun is a little bit of an office favourite. Having taken her fanbase and critics by storm with her latest studio album, the long-awaited “It All Starts With One”, Brun treated dedicated followers to an equally impressive deluxe double disc edition of the award-winning collection. To top it all off, Brun has headed out on the road to cement her place in her fans hearts. But before we get to see our much-loved Norwegian folkstress, she has ensured a magical line-up to warm  the atmosphere for her arrival.

Up first is fellow Norwegian, Brun’s cellist Linnea Olsson. With selections from her recently released debut album “Ah!”, Olsson demonstrates a warm wit and stirring musical capability. An other-wordly vocal sends shivers down the spine, while Olsson waxes lyrical about comical love situations and obscure life experiences. Effortlessly winning the rapidly growing audience, Olsson’s set flies by in the blink of an eye, but no doubt leads to endless sales at the merch desk immediately post-set.

Confident performer Gemma Ray arrives on stage thankful to be performing on home turf. While she is clearly aware of her own abilities, Ray never descends into arrogance. Instead she swaggers her way through a varied set of colourful sixties influenced numbers. As the set draws to a close, she slows down the pace and allows her powerful vocal to take centre stage. Though her swinging step had got the toes tapping and shoulders shaking, the smoulder of her closing numbers were truly captivating.

Dressed in a flowing shiny purple silver gown, Brun breezes onto stage to screaming applause and launches immediately into the soothing yet haunting “These Days”. A silence descends immediately on the enchanted audience and it is apparent that Brun has immediately captured the hearts of all those that fill the sold out venue. Moving swiftly into the playful “It All Starts With One”, Brun demonstrates a fascinating ability to entirely lose herself within her moment yet at simultaneously interact and engage with everyone that surrounds her.

As Brun sashays her way through material old and new, a pin drop could
be heard as the silent audience are lost in the awe-inspiring magical moments that just ooze from Brun’s very presence.

While Brun may not be the most chatty of performers,when she speaks, she speaks with sincerity and warmth. Never feeling the need to explain the lyrics that so clearly touch her audience, instead she engages in light banter and encourages sing along moments. Genuinely touched by the warm response she receives, Brun commits 110% to every beat and every sound. Clever use of lighting and a skilled band enhance Brun’s presence and lift the night further into the realm of truly spectacularly unforgettable.

With her set evaporating quicker than stardust, Brun returns so to rework a personal favourite of hers, Arcade Fire’s “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)” as an encore for an audience hungry for more. Luckily for them Brun is in no hurry to head off as she welcomes her band back on stage to continue the show.

Brun is much more than a musician, she feels each twist and turn of a song and expresses it physically and vocally in a manner that truly connects and uplifts an audience. While on record she shines, on stage she blinds with her brilliance.

Rating: 5/5
Review and Photographs: Jeremy Williams

VIDEO: Ane Brun “Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels)”

Ane Brun can not put a foot wrong as far as The Kaje is concerned. Her deluxe edition release of “It All Starts With One” sends tingles down our spines with every listen and dominates the daily playlist. With UK dates penciled in for the end of April, Brun has just released a cover of Arcade Fire’s “Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels)” as a free download from Rolling Stone in aid of The Voice Project, a fantastic charity dedicated to finding peace and highlighting the suffering of particular women in Northern Uganda.

Single of the Week: Ane Brun ft. Jose Gonzalez “Worship”

Ane Brun may have made her loyal fanbase wait nearly three years for her most recent record “It All Starts With One” but the wait has proved its worth time and time again. Having spent a lot of time since the album’s release on the road, Brun has really celebrated her new material up close and personal with her fans. Now, “It All Starts With One” is about to enter a new dimension – that of the short film. Brun has constantly worked with director Magnus Renfors throughout her career and they have collaborated a series of short films exploring her latest effort. While the music video in itself warrants celebration, the much-anticipated duet between Brun and Jose Gonzalez is beyond noteworthy in its own right. Thus everything about “Worship” is indescribable in its beauty.

ALBUM REVIEW: Ane Brun “It All Starts With One (Deluxe Edition)

The Kaje clearly were not alone in thinking Norwegian songstress Ane Brun’s long-awaited follow-up to 2008’s “Changing Of The Seasons”, the sensational “It All Starts With One”, was one of 2011’s top albums, given that Brun recently received her second Spellemann (the Norwegian Grammy) for Best Female Artist, alongside a Manifest (the Swedish Grammy) for Best Female Singer/Songwriter. With her tender compositions reaping both praise and rewards, Brun has decided to issue her fans with a reward for their patience and unswerving loyalty-a double disc deluxe edition of the celebrated collection.

However, unlike many an artist, Brun has far from simply scraped together a selection of album cast-offs or recruited a range of big name acts to remix and reproduce her material, instead she presents 8 tracks which could easily be a stand mini-album in their own right.

While it would be easy to wax lyrical about the tender, and at times haunting offerings on the already released disc 1, it is the new offerings of disc 2 that really command attention. Where “It All Starts With One” excelled through its stripped back scintillation and stirring vocals (album opener “These Days”, latest single (and Jose Gonzalez duet) “Worship” and “One” are unmissable treats), the second disk shines through the use of a rounded symphonic sound. While delicate “One Last Try”  and gospel infused “Queen And King” epitomise the diversity in Brun’s songwriting capabilities, it is the folky “Take It Slow” and “Alfonsina Y El Mar” that really shine.

With two discs to choose from, Brun provides her listener with two contrasting tones with compliment each other perfectly.  “It All Starts With One” proves itself more than a celebration of a successful release, it offers an insight into a dexterous songwriter and intriguing performer who is constantly going from strength to strength.

Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jeremy Williams

The Kaje’s Top 20 Albums 2011!!!!

2011 has been an eventful year in music. While it could be argued that the female soloist has continued to battle against the folk-pop contingency for chart domination, here at The Kaje we have been more than a little blown away by the sheer diversity of the tracks hitting the airwaves.

While we initially intended to compile an album Top 10, we felt there were far too many notable releases missing from our list so have pushed the boat out a little further, but still somehow we didn’t have room for The Kaje favourites Washington, The Grates, The Wanted and Ed Sheeran…

Though we could sweet talk about those who narrowly missed out, we would rather just head straight to our 20-1 countdown..

20. Bonjah – Go Go Chaos

2009’s “Until Dawn” put Bonjah on the musical map when it saw the quintet nominated in the Best Album category at both the Apra and Air Awards.  While they may not have walked away with the prize they so deserved, the boys wasted little time in recording this blindingly brilliant sophomore record.

19. Britney Spears – Femme Fatale

Britney is back and better than ever. With killer dub beats and ‘I am what I am’ attitude, Britney wasted no time in showing more recent pop princesses Lady Gaga and Jessie J that she is far from ready to give up her crown.. Here at The Kaje we are more than happy for Britney to rule the airwaves!

18. Hanson – Shout It Out

Hanson have been written off by many as a one-hit wonder. Though ‘MMMBop’ is without doubt their biggest chart hit to date, the Tulsa based trio have to their name an impressive catalogue of Blues and Soul influenced records. However, 2011 saw Hanson return to the pop domain which saw them hit the top spot some 15 years ago and boy can they still make those booties shake!

17. Darren Hayes – Secret Codes & Battleships

Former Savage Garden frontman Darren Hayes may have confused his loyal fan base slightly with his more experimental 2007 release ‘This Delicate Thing We’ve Made’, prompting a break from his solo career. Having spent time writing for an array of other acts, Hayes noted that he was simultaneously compiling a set of songs for a solo return. The result is the sublime “Secret Codes & Battleships”. The perfect fusion of Savage Garden-esque questioning ballads and Darren Hayes experimentation, “Secret Codes & Battleships” is Hayes’ best release to date.

16. Melanie C – The Sea

Former Sporty Spice Melanie C is the most successful solo spice. Her debut album still tops the poll of solo records from one of the world’s biggest girl bands ever. Yet despite consistently strong releases, Melanie C’s albums have failed to capture the public imagination in the same way. Post 2007’s “This Time”, Chisholm headed to the West End and it seemed like the solo dream was over. But Chisholm was simply biding her time and her 2011 comeback record “The Sea” warrants celebrating.

15. Ane Brun – It All Starts With One

Ane Brun decided to postpone her solo career when Peter Gabriel asked her to be his backing singer on tour. While she was keen to follow-up 2008’s “Changing Of The Seasons”, she felt uninspired and needed time to collect her thoughts. The time off has clearly worked wonders as 2011 saw her return with this deliciously delicate collection.

14.  Kelly Rowland – Here I Am

Kelly Rowland’s solo career has been somewhat tumultuous. While her 2002 debut album “Simply Deep” was both a commercial and critical success, her 2007 follow-up “Ms. Kelly” was largely overlooked. With Rowland written off by many, she focussed her energies on profile sustaining guest vocals while working hard on ensuring her third release “Here I Am” was able to hit the mark. And boy, it does far more than just that…

13. Frankie & The Heartstrings – Hunger

Sunderland’s Frankie & The Heartstrings have spent the past couple of years building up a reputation on the live circuit. With the distinctive on stage presence proving increasingly popular, the boys finally bit the bullet and unleashed their irrepressible debut album “Hunger” at the start of 2011. With their riotous rawk perfectly captured in album’s 10 tracks, this record is just brief appetite warmer for a band that may just be Britain’s biggest export in years to come.

12. Clare Maguire – Light After Dark

Birmingham’s Clare Maguire was selected by the BBC as one of the acts to watch in 2011. The honour is seemingly a curse, with the pressure piled up the selected acts to deliver commercially and critically. The praise lauded prematurely upon Clare Maguire saw many a critic slam her album upon release somewhat unfairly. With one of the most powerful and distinctive vocals of 2011, “Light After Dark” reveals more of its beauty with each listen. This may be a slow burner, but there is nothing wrong with a lack of radio friendly immediacy.

11. Adele – 21

By rights “21” should be at number 1 on our list. Londoner Adele is without any question the real star of 2011, however, with the record released at the start of the year, here at The Kaje its sheer over exposure has caused us to put it to the back of our shelf for a while. Though it may have very temporarily lost its sheen, there is no denying the innate artistry in Adele’s heartbreak. Seemingly effortlessly Adele manages to capture the  devastating beauty of break-up blues. Magically chilblain inducing.

1o. Kami Thompson – Love Lies

The daughter of folk legends Richard and Linda Thompson has spent most her adult years running away from the inevitable – that she is a musician to the core. Having tried an array of careers, Thompson finally faced up to her genetic disposition and set about work on her own material, a move which the whole world will soon be thankful for. “Love Lies” is at times tender at others playful debut effort, but its real beauty lies not in its diversity but the charm of its dexterous vocalist.

9. Charlie Simpson – Young Pilgrim

Charlie Simpson left boy band Busted while they were going from commercial strength to strength. There was little the pop trio could do wrong, but Simpson felt he was being disloyal to his musical roots and instead launched the rock heavy Fightstar. The move built his credibility and proved his diversity, therefore few eyebrows were raised when Simpson took his baby steps to solo success with 2010’s “When We Were Lions” EP. Rather than rushing a record, Simpson bided his time as he crafted his debut album “Young Pilgrim”, a wise move, as it supersedes all his other musical outings to date.

8. Oh Mercy – Great Barrier Grief

2011 marked the return of Oh Mercy minus founding member Thom Savage. However, the subtle charm of frontman Alexander Gow ensured that “Great Barrier Grief” topped 2009’s “Privileged Woes”. Sincere, sturdy, clean-cut and minimalist, “Great Barrier Grief” is a romantically charged effort.

7. Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Make A Scene

Sophie Ellis-Bextor has always been a star in our eyes. With Theaudience’s only record to date still a regular feature on our stereo, we simply cannot get enough of Janet Ellis’ stunning daughter. With Ellis-Bextor having focussed her attentions on motherhood in recent years, “Make A Scene” packs a sophisticated punch and builds on Ellis-Bextor’s distinct sound.

6. Will Young – Echoes

Will Young has come so far from his Pop Idol days that he is barely recognisable from his early recordings. Having taken time to return to tread the boards, Will Young’s “Echoes” is an understated Richard X soulful dance influenced effort that easily walks over his past efforts. Will Young is back and better than ever.

5. Kimbra – Vows

Kiwi Kimbra may be best known globally for her Gotye collaboration “Somebody That I Used To Know”, but her debut album “Vows” shows that she can more than hold her own away from an established partner. Playfully innovative, Kimbra is an artist who understands how to create no-nonsense pop music that oozes credibility.

4. Nicola Roberts – Cinderella’s Eyes

Nicola Roberts is not Cheryl Cole, nor does she want to be. While Cole may have dominated the post Girls Aloud solo output with her conventional auto-tuned pop slices, Roberts has relished in her lesser profile allowing her creative freedom. Far from a typical pop record, Roberts has pushed the boundaries and the raised the bar with this humour filled, synth pop treat.

3. Little Comets – In Search Of Elusive Comets

Little Comets should be one of the biggest things since sliced bread. Having more than proved their ingenuity on stage, the Newcastle troupe came the attention of Columbia Records way back in 2009. They hit the studio and crafted what they felt best represented their appeal, to find that the big label bosses wanted them to be something they weren’t. Rather than sell their soul for success, the lads stood their ground and finally released the ingeniously crafted “In Search Of Elusive Comets” at the turn of 2011.

2. Georgia Fair – All Through Winter

School pals Jordan Wilson and Ben Riley have never believed in rush releases. Though they have been playing together since their early teens, the duo never felt they had quite the right set of songs to record a full length record. Rather than force their creativity, the focussed on honing their skills on the live circuit and releasing a set of stellar EPs. With their profile steadily rising, the pair finally bit the bullet and headed Stateside to work with Band of Horses’ Bill Reynolds. The result is a no-nonsense,vocally centred record that ensures Georgia Fair are at the forefront of the indie-folk movement.

1. Dionne Bromfield – Good For The Soul

Dionne Bromfield first came to public attention as the child prodigy God-daughter of the much-missed super talent Amy Winehouse, but she grown into an artist who is so much more than a ‘by-association’ act. “Good For The Soul” leaves you breathless. Bromfield boasts a classic soul vocal and it is clear she has learnt more than a trick or two from Winehouse.With 60 and 70s soul vocals applied to contemporary urban pop, Bromfield ensures she is a step ahead of the pack. Aged just 15, Bromfield is still at the beginner’s block career wise, but “Good For The Soul” is light years ahead of many artists twice her age.

WIN!!!! Many of our Top 20 Album acts have been kind enough to donate signed copies of their releases for a big bumper prize pack! To get your hands one of the mix bags then simply tell us the title of Dionne Bromfield’s debut album… Answers by email to jeremy@the-kaje.com by January 15.

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