The Norwegian duo Bye Lila consists of young vocalist-lyricist Lisbeth-Anita Grimsø Olsen (a disciple of Sidsel Endresen, who plays in the Oslo14 Vokalensemble) and pianist Liv Andrea Hauge, who leads her ensemble and plays in Kongle Trio and OJKOS (Orchestra for Jazz Composers in Oslo). Their original plan was to call the duo Lila after the first letters of Lisbeth and Liv names but there was already a band by that name, so they added the Bye to the duo name. Olsen and Hauge began working together in 2016 during their studies at the Norwegian Academy of Music, and have been playing together in different projects and constellations, including the jazz sextet Ladybird Orchestra (Fly, Jazzland, 2021).
Olsen and Hauge, under the moniker Bye Lila, completed in 2022 their debut album And Then Summer Came focusing on intimate and personal lyrics, and melodious compositions with enough room for improvisation that highlights the close and immediate, long-lasting dynamics of these gifted musicians-composers. Olsen wrote most of the lyrics and most of the pieces were composed by the duo, except two instrumental pieces by Hauge, accompanied by the wordless vocals of Olsen.
The ten short pieces reflect on the journey Olsen and Hauge have shared over the years, exploring emotions, experiences and memories through the music, with a reserved sense of melancholy and captivating elegance. The warm, crystalline vocals of Olsen and her straightforward, thoughtful but almost unassuming delivery of Olsen are beautifully ornamented by Hauge, who adds a playful dimension and depth to Olsen’s vulnerable, moving emotional stories. The two improvisations offer a more liberated and adventurous side of Bye Lila. One of the most beautiful songs of And Then Summer Came, «The quiet breath of winter», is reprised as a bonus piece as a haunting collaboration with the Arctic Philharmonic, located in Olsen’s hometown Tromsø (and Bodø), with the string arrangement written by Aleksander Waaktaar.
A beautiful and promising statement.
Lisbeth-Anita Grimsø Olsen (vocals), Liv Andrea Hauge (piano), Arctic Philharmonic