Trond Kallevåg – Fengselsfugl CD/LP


Release: 04.09.2021


Trond Kallevåg – Fengselsfugl

1. Til fengselet jeg vandrer (5:02)
2. Amerikabåten (3:50)
3. Brevet (4:17)
4. Desember (4:52)
5. Sentralen (2:11)
6. Cowboy og Indianer (4:39)
7. Porten (2:15)
8. Bodskirken (3:08)
9. Levnedsløp (3:11)
10. Fengselsfugl (8:28

Trond Kallevåg: acoustic and electric guitar, electronics and field recordings
Adrian Løseth Waade: violin
Geir Sundstøl: electric guitar, pedal steel and harmonica
David Wallumrød: upright piano, Wurlitzer, Arp Solus, Clavinet, Minimoog og Logan Strings
Alexander Hoholm: double bass
Ivar Myrset Asheim: drums, chimes, percussion, musical saw and glass


Trond Kallevåg’s “Fengselsfugl” (prison bird in english) might well be the soundtrack of the prison-movie that director Wim Wenders never made, closely related to the musical landscapes of Ry Cooder and Bill Frisell. Once again joined by fellow Hubro-artist, the great Geir Sundstøl. Composed during lockdown and partially inside the walls of Oslo Prison Trond conveys something personal yet fragile and beautiful.

“Fengselsfugl” is the long-awaited follow-up to his critically acclaimed album and Hubro debut “Bedehus & Hawaii” (Prayer house and Hawaii) from 2019 which was highlighted as one of the 15 best jazz albums in 2019 by Bandcamp – one of the world’s largest websites for selling music: “Kallevåg has created one of the most gorgeous recordings to hit the shelves in 2019!” Trond has also by numerous reviewers been compared to guitarists like Ry Cooder and Bill Frisell. “Bedehus & Hawaii” locates Trond Kallevag Hansen at the right height on the heels of Ry Cooder and Bill Frisell.” – Jazzaroundmag.

Old Norwegian prison ballads and years of work with inmates in Oslo Prison are a few ingredients the young Norwegian guitarist and composer Trond Kallevåg has put in his distinct lyrical and instrumental guitar-based sound of his newest album “Fengselsfugl”. Instrumental front porch picking, folk, experimental lyrical soundscapes and field recordings combined with nontraditional instruments such as musical glass and saw are some of the ingredients that make up the musical stew of Trond’s music. Some may call it «cinematic nordicana».

Trond portrayes something personal through his music. As with his previous record “Bedehus & Hawaii”, that was inspired by his deeply religious grandparents and their strange prayer house music, “Fengselsfugl” draws inspiration from Trond’s several years of work with inmates in Oslo prison. This job gave him a unique insight into a part of society few get to see:

«Inside Oslo Prison I composed a lot of the music for the record. As on my previous album, “Bedehus & Hawaii”, I wanted to portray self-experienced moods in my encounter with societies next to the “normal” and established. There are also several musical similarities between the prayer house music and the old prison songs, which makes “Fengselsfugl” a natural sequel to “Bedehus & Hawaii.”

“There is a strange and interesting atmosphere inside Oslo prison. Moving past the prison walls is like entering an unknown world, only separated by half a meter of concrete. During the corona pandemic, it feels like we have all been in prison, and the mental prison walls have turned transparent during the pandemic. As the inmates, we become more insecure through isolation and we try to understand what is happening and why – we get a lot of time to ponder. It is easy to be drawn to the irrational, you try to find simple explanations for complicated events. From the music room in Oslo Prison, I composed a lot of the music on the record. I wanted as on my previous record, “Bedehus & Hawaii”, to portray self-experienced moods in my encounter with environments that are a bit side of the established.”

Trond is originally from the small rain-filled west coast town of Haugesund which he thinks has inspired his distinct lyrical sound. “For me personally, I think my music is very much inspried by my hometown. I think it has something to do with the rain, the coastal landskape and the people living there, which conveys a kind of somber mood. My music also has that somberness, I prefer the sound, melodies and form over individual virtuosity. »

As with his previous record, Trond composed the music and mixed the record himself, which is a big part of his creative work. The recording was also this time recorded in three days in Studio Intim which is owned by the legendary Norwegian guitar player, and fellow Hubro-artist, Geir Sundstøl. On both albums Geir has contributed with his sublime steel guitar playing that perfectly matches Kallevåg’s obvious affection for atmospheric film music and broadside ballads. In the sextet you also find one of Scandinavia’s foremost keyboardist David Wallumrød who tastefully complements the lyrical songs.

When composing “Fengselsfugl” Trond examined the prison songs or broadside ballads written by some famous Norwegian prison birds from the 1800-s who were national celebrities at their time. A broadside (also known as a broadsheet) is a single sheet of inexpensive paper printed on one side, often with a ballad, rhyme, news and sometimes with woodcut illustrations. They were one of the most common forms of printed material between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, particularly in Britain, Ireland and North America. They were also popular in Norway. They were often about famous people, stories and legends and often served as the social media of the time and often “Fake News”. The famous prison birds of Norway served the entire Norwegian people with self-composed ballads, they created myths about their heroic and exciting lives. Many of the titles on the record are the same as some of the prison broadside ballads. Trond uses his guitar as a tool for conveying his musical ideas that often has a strong melodic foundation and storytelling quality to them but still open enough for his fellow musicians to express themselves effortlessly. Everything seems to fall quite naturally into place, sounding intimately poised and at home with itself. “I wanted the musicians to express themselves without feeling limited by the music, but I also wanted to tell stories and have a cinematic quality”, he says.

The music draws in expressions from folk music, American folk / blues where one can mention Ry Cooder and the eccentric composer and folk musician Kenneth Sivertsen from his hometown. Hawaiian Slack Key tradition inspired by Joseph Spence and Ray Kane. In addition to classical music and modern improvisation, in combination with electroacoustic musical directions inspired by Arne Nordheim and Helge Sten, among others.