Nive & The Deer Children

Nive Sings!

Release Date: 04/05/2012 · Format: CD/LP · Catalog-No: GRCD/LP – 747

Eskimo folk, anyone?
Well, maybe you prefer Arctic pop. Or Inuk indie...
The truth is Nive Nielsen’s music is hard to pigeonhole. And that, quite literally in this case, goes with the territory. Nive is a ukulele wielding Inuit artist hailing from Greenland and one of the first in her country to try and do things the indie way. That is no mean feat, since her hometown, the capital city of Nuuk, does not boast any record stores, let alone underground ethics. It is so remote there aren’t even any roads connecting the towns. Go figure.

Nive never dreamed of becoming a singer songwriter or a recording artist. It just happened. Well, just about. At some point she did some acting in Hollywood, where she shared a few scenes with Colin Farrell. Pretty cool, huh? But I guess you could say everything is kind of cool in Greenland. Nive Nielsen is not the seal hunting type, mind. As a matter of fact she graduated as a visual anthropologist from the University of London and, among other things, directed a documentary about traditional Greenlandic kayaks.

Some years ago, Nive left her native country to study abroad, first in Canada and later in the UK. As she was about to board the plane, a friend gave her a little red ukulele. After a while she was getting so bored, lonely and homesick that she started strumming it and all of a sudden songs were spilling out: heartfelt stories about missing her friends and family, put to simple but catchy chord structures.
The songs, usually adorned with folk or alt. country colorings, tend to come to her intuitively. They may be happy or scary, somewhat odd or downright silly, but they are always imaginative and just a tad different from anybody else’s. This makes her stand out in a world already replete with acoustic guitar strumming girl singers. As a songwriter, more often than not Nive Nielsen has her tongue stuck firmly in her cheek. Her musical vignettes are immersed with a quirky sense of humor and a positive life view.

Nive’s multi-instrumentalist Jan De Vroede helped her to knock the tunes into shape and to flesh out the arrangements during the harsh Greenlandic winter of 2008. While snowstorms were raging around their wooden house, they finished an impressive bunch of songs. The fifteen best ones would eventually end up on their self released debut album ‘Nive Sings!’ `

In order to cut the songs, Nive and Jan started travelling all over the world and called upon an impressive array of musician friends. The album was partly recorded and produced in Bristol (UK) by the great John Parish, who had worked with PJ Harvey, eels, 16 Horsepower and Tracy Chapman before. In ‘Pirate Song’ and ‘Done & Gone’ you can hear Nive Nielsen duetting with Howe Gelb of desert rock band Giant Sand. Among the North-American musicians taking part in the studio sessions were reed player Ralph Carney (Tom Waits), banjo man Matt Bauer (Alela Diane), the drummers Eric Craven (A Silver Mount Zion) and Patrick Carney (The Black Keys), saw player Lisa Gamble (HRSTA), bass and guitar player Giselle Webber (Hot Springs) and many more.
Nive has toured with various groups on various continents as a means of keeping her music versatile and exciting. The ever rotating cast of collaborators that constitutes The Deer Children, both on stage and in the studio actually feels more like a family than like a real band. Nive and her friends almost immediately made their way to prestigious showcase festivals in the US and Europe, getting rave reviews at SXSW, NXNE, Pop Montréal, The Green Man Festival, EuroSonic, Iceland Airwaves and the like. The artist even picked up an IMA, an American Independent Music Award, along the way as the public voted her ‘Pirate song’ the best tune in the singer songwriter category.

Nive Nielsen cites Americana artists, mountain balladeers, blues musicians and old dusty 78’s as her key influences. But what makes ‘Nive Sings!’ such an unforgettable listening experience are of course the songs about ghosts, naughty reindeer, a boyfriend with a caffeine addiction or killing bugs with a vacuum cleaner. As this subject matter suggests, Nive Nielsen does not take herself too seriously, even though she is just as capable of writing songs that keep pulling your heart strings. ‘Room’ is a case in point: it was released as a seven-inch single by Rough Trade in Britain and was also turned into a wonderfully animated video.

Most of the songs on ‘Nive Sings!’ were written in English, but the singer also incorporated her ethnic background through singing both ‘Aqqusernit’, ‘Tuttukasik’ and ‘Uulia’ in her native language and occasionally using rhythms from traditional Greenlandic drum dances. In ‘Good for You’ Nive Nielsen even collaborated with Greenlandic pop singer Angu Motzfelt. Since then, she also wrote the theme song for ‘Nuummioq’, her country’s first ever feature film, for which boyfriend Jan came up with the score. The movie was shown at the Sundance festival and got nominated for an Academy Award.

Nive may very well be on the way to establish an international career, but she definitely has not lost track of her roots and uses her position as an artist to try and raise a little awareness about the Arctic and its people. So when Nive sings, you are taken on a fascinating but entertaining journey, both in an musical and cultural sense, and are bound to end up with a big smile upon your face. Wanna bet?

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1 Room
2 Good For You
3 Aqqusernit
4 Autoharps
5 Pirate Song
6 Dear Leopold
7 My Coffee Boy
8 Circumstances
9 Rock `N` Roll (For Abner Jay)
10 Vaccuum Cleaner Killer
11 Done & Gone
12 Winter Song
13 Uulia
14 Tuttukasik

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