I SANG is a new way to look at the high school songbook.
Jacob Anderskov – Piano; Kasper Tranberg – Trumpet; Jakob Hoyer – Drums; Soffie Viemose – Vocals, Effects; Jakob Munch – Vocals, Tuba, Trombone; Hospitalskoret Cartilago – Communal Singing (faellessang) (track 5 only)
Hojskolesanbogen, or, high school songbook is a hallowed Danish tradition. The very first Hojskolesanbogen came out in 1894. The nineteenth edition of this collection of folk songs and hymns was published in 2022.
A friend from Slagelse, Denmark told me if marooned on a desert island she’d like to have a copy of Hojskolesanbogen handy. Besides having a bunch of songs to sing she said the songbook’s hopeful lyrics might help her figure out a way to get off the island.
Jacob Anderskov is audaciously reimagining this revered songbook with his album I SANG. Growing up in the American midwest we didn’t have anything like Hojiskolesangbogen so I didn’t have those Scandinavian connections to group singing. Anderskov may have taken an unorthodox approach to the high school songbook but I think the end result is lovely.
Trumpeter Kasper Tranberg is a big part of I SANG. His muted trumpet on the children’s song,‘Jeg ved en lærkered’, is beautiful. Anderskov’s elegant but subtle piano make this the perfect lullaby. Drummer Jakob Hoyer’s delicate stick work is ideal.
There are captivating vocals on ‘Du danske sommer, jeg elsker dig ’a song about loving the Danish summer. Soffie Viemose has a delicately feminine quiver of a voice that sounds capable of breaking if pushed. Jakob Munch may have Tom Wait’s rumble and rasp but he’s more theatrical in a spoken Shakespearean sort of way.
Anderskov said I SANG is as much about the memory and the dream of the songs on Hojskolesangbogen. ‘Denmark, nu blunder den lyse nat ’is like a dreamscape. After a bittersweet piano intro there’s a mournful choir that sounds farther away, like they’re on a passing ship. Drums are there but you can barely hear them. The music gets louder and it’s trying to be optimistic. Tranberg’s clarion trumpet calls an end to the ‘lyse nat ’or bright night.
’Sommersolhvervsssang ’is spoken/sung by Jakob Munch. I love his big growly voice. It might give a child nightmares. Soffie Viemose’s voice is barely heard but it’s a nice contrast to what Munch is doing. Tranberg’s muted trumpet help make this spooky tune sublime.
Anderskov is by himself on ‘I sne star urt og busk i skul.’ His piano beautifully captures the bird in the song singing at the frozen window.
Every time there’s a new edition of Hojskolesangbogen new songs get added and some get removed. I SANG is a new way to look at the high school songbook. It made me want to dive into YouTube and explore Hojskolesangbogen.