”— Sofia Karlsson expands the Swedish folkmusic/songtradition, in the same way as she brings Dan Andersson in to the present. — An incomparable live artiste.” (PM Jönsson in GP)
She gathers bouquets of glowing reviews for her magnificent interpretation of Dan Andersson´s poems on the album “Svarta ballader” (Black ballads) which is released in the year of 2005. She tours all around Sweden from the south to the north. Today “Svarta ballader” has sold about 75 000 copies, at the same time both a fantastic and gratifying figure in the genre. The prizes shine like stars: a Swedish Grammy award as well as a Danish Grammy for Best foreign album, and the alternative folk music prize of Manifest.
The rich musical soil was there from the very start. Sofia Karlsson was born in the year of 1975 at the Södersjukhuset near by Årstaviken in Stockholm – a kind of Southern chick. In a family where mum often sang at home, grandma played the pump organ and granddad the single row accordion, and vinyl albums turned the music of Fred Åkerström, Cornelis Vreeswijk and Thorstein Bergman, the ballad and troubadour music planted its seeds.
It is true that Sofia Karlsson is influenced by Åkerström, Vreeswijk and Bergman, but other artists who made lasting impressions on her are Dolly Parton, Tracy Chapman, Gillian Welch, Alison Krauss, Kirsten Bråten-Berg, Shawn Colvin and Lena Willemark. Of course, also Monika Zettterlund is part of the Stockholm she grew up in. Even Annalisa Ericson influenced her and, of course, Sofia Karlsson´s mentor in song and maestro Rogelio de Bada Joz gave character to her way of singing and creating.
Sofia Karlsson has cultivated her talent through many years of studies. First at the Municipal music school, the Church choir of Kärrtorp, different Youth Theatres. Later on in the music classes of Adolf Fredrik, by her own art studies, Ingesund folk high-school and the professionalism of the Royal College of Music.
Between the years of 1998-2002 Sofia makes real life her stage, she becomes a member of the pioneering and innovative folk music act Groupa which plays all over Europe, in Canada and in the USA. A new world of improvisation and playing tunes opens up. The flutist Jonas Simonsson is a bearer of tradition and has inspired Sofia in her flute playing.
Her curiosity for the magic of the scene adds to Sofia Karlsson´s ways of expressing herself as an artist. She enters the world of theatre. On the church hill of Järvsö in 2002, she is casted for the role as the Wicked Witch in the production of “The Wizard of Oz” (2003) by the creative and inspiring theatre director Peter Oskarson. She continues to cooperate with Oskarson at Folkteatern in Gävleborg and at Hälsingslands Träteater. Sofia participates as an actress, musicians as well as a song soloist in Molière´s “Äktenskapsskolan” (The School for wives, 2003), Brecht´s “Galilelo Galilei” (Life of Galileo) and “Allt rör sig!” (2004).
Her first solo album “Folksongs” is released in 2002. It carries Sofia Karlsson´s favourites among the traditional material from Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Here she meets Esbjörn Hazelius, the string virtuoso who participates in the creation of the sound & timbre on this and the following two albums.
In the spring of 2005 “Svarta ballader” (Black ballads), produced by Sofia and Göran Peterson, sweeps through the country like a whirlwind. And in the midst of energetic touring, the third solo album “Visor från vinden” (Songs from the loft) is being recorded, once again in collaboration with Göran Peterson. The album is released in 2007 and Sofia Karlsson is awarded a Swedish Grammy in the category Folk music/Song. Once more, she receives the Manifest Prize and the Danish Grammy for Best foreign album.
New shoots appear on the boughs of her art as she grows. A popular guest duet with Rikard Wolff, “Älskar dig alltid” (Love you always), composed by Lisa Ekdahl, is released as well as “904 steg” (904 steps) exclusively composed by Rebecka Törnqvist for Sofia Karlsson and Svante Thuresson. She performs with several of the foremost Swedish folk music artists in “Jul i folkton” (Folk Music Christmas) and is a reoccurring guest in the very popular television programme and show “Allsång på Skansen”.
The Success-story continues and the touring goes on with travels to Denmark, Norway, Germany and Japan. In the height of summer in 2008, Sofia is awarded the prestigious Dan Andersson Prize. Her summer tour draws full houses and the audience has opened a very special room in their hearts for her, just as she has one for her dear audience. She ends the summer by taking part as an opening act in Lars Winnerbäck´s highly praised tour.
In the spring of 2008 she starts a new and fruitful cooperation with the musician and producer Gustaf Ljunggren. Sofia Karlsson´s courageous approach to music and her inner compass point out a new direction and toward new songs. A new album is recorded during the autumn and winter. The recordings are made in many different locations; Stockholm, Gothenburg, Storulvån, Berlin and Nashville. The album is released in March 2009. And in the fields of song the blue anemone blossoms again, and our longing for the unique, intensely personal, Sofia Karlssonesque beauty can be partially appeased.
The future is a sunrise, with many unwritten scores and fairytales.
It is all there in her voice.
Biography written by: