Swedish jazz vocalist-songwriter Anna Lundqvist fell in love with Portugal during a short vacation in 2008 and since 2016 adapted Portugal, and especially Lisbon, as her second home with the aim of splitting her career between Stockholm and Lisbon. The next step was to form a band made of Lisbon-based musicians, the Lisboa Cinco, which was formed right before the Covid-19 pandemic but got together again in January 2022, Sou Anna, I’m Anna, is the debut album of Lindqvist Lisboa Cinco, recorded at Slow Music Studio in Vale de lobos, Portugal, in February 2023, after the new band performed with the new songs in Portugal and Sweden.
Lundqvist Lisboa Cinco features young jazz musicians from the local scene of Lisbon – sax player Desidério Lázaro, co-founder of the local jazz label Sintoma Records, pianist Daniel Bernardes, who recorded before with Lázaro and released an homage album to Olivier Messiaen on Clean Feed (Liturgy Of The Birds, 2019), double bass player André Carvalho, who released this year on Clean Feed the album Lost in Translation Vol. II (that was inspired by untranslatable words such as the Swedish one Mångata), and drummer Joel Silva, who produced the album with Lundqvist and released two albums on the Sintoma label. Lundqvist wrote all the music and most of the lyrics, and all tell about Lundqvist who is in love with Portugal and how she «went with it». The music is rooted in the jazz legacy, on both sides of the Atlantic, with elements of Swedish hymns, pop and rock.
Lundqvist uses her voice as an instrument that can color any melody with nuanced emotions, with a remarkable interplay with Lázaro, and can be a suggestive, rhythmic device that can set the dynamics, timbre and pulse of any piece. She does so beautifully on the opening «To Gösta», dedicated to the late Swedish jazz pianist Gösta Rundqvist (and father of drummer Fredrik Rundqvist), and later on «One Life, But Thousands of Me» and «Where Ever You Go». The energetic band expands her intuitive, melodic ideas in a natural, sensual and playful way and already sounds like a band with its own sound. Lundqvist articulates her passionate, free spirit persona in the song «Fragile Power»: «Fragile. Power. No regrets and no tomorrow. / Like a hero in the night, I own the sky … Ice-faced to be sure but fire walks with me. / A survivor, longing for someone / who wants to run along». The songs and ballads sketch more complex and elusive emotional states of mind, with lyrics contributions from fellow Swedish Anna Einarsson and Anders von Hofsten. Einarsson’s lyrics for the ballad «Leaving Gravity» captures best the spirit of Lundqvist’s new journey: «Never weak, never frail. / All they ever taught me was that you mustn’t fail. / Didn’t see the price I paid, / I compromised my soul. / Now a new beginning may unfold». Indeed, a fascinating beginning.
Anna Lundqvist (vocals), Desidério Lázaro (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone), Daniel Bernardes (piano), André Carvalho (double bass), Joel Silva (drums)