Sidsel Walstad released her debut album, Sidsel, on Oct. 12, 2018. An experimental record, the album features Walstad on electric harp, Arild Torvik on percussion, and Marcus Lewin on drums. “I am a classical harpist who has always listened to pop music,” says Walstad. “I love rhythms and groovy beats, and I have always been attracted to drums and percussion. I like the way the harp is used as a percussion instrument, not just in pop music, but in the classical world as well.” Walstad cites the Ginastera harp concerto as one such example, and mentions that she will be releasing a recording of the work the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and their chief conductor Miguel Harth–Bedoya later this year.
In addition to percussion, the album uses only layers of harp tracks and synthesizers. Norwegian guitar player Hallgrim Bratberg helped create the harp effects, using a guitar pedalboard, a vocoder for Walstad’s voice, and loop machines. The eight tracks on the album were written by Ingrid Kindem, Eirik–André Rydningen, Sindre Hotvedt, and Hallvard Valland, who also produced the album. “I worked closely with these composers. Sometimes I came up with small motives or effects to use in the music. The songwriters would then write music around. Other times, the composers would write the main sketch for the song, and when it was almost ready, I would add harp ideas into the music.”
Walstad is currently the principal harpist with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, a position she held with the Norwegian National Opera Orchestra until 2003. In addition to her work on both electric and acoustic harp, Walstad collaborated with ice–musician Terje Isungset to develop the largest ice–harp in the world, on which she performed at the Ice Music Festival in Geilo, Norway in 2009. She holds degrees from the Norwegian Academy of Music, Indiana University, and the Royal Danish Academy of Music.
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