Recording Time!!!

Elsa_FluxStudios_EmailRESTonight my band and I head up to Woodstock for 3 days of uninterrupted music making at Applehead Studios. I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am! This record is the culmination of three years of building an artistic vision for my instrument that takes the flute out of its usual boxes. With the help of the fantastic fellows in my band I have been exploring new avenues for expression as well as combining new and old influences. We will be recording original jazz and arrangements of Swedish traditionals with influences ranging from Brazil to Syria. I can honestly say that the music sounds exactly how I want it to and I cannot wait to put it to tape (quite literally, we will be using some straight to 2 track tape) and share it with you.

Speaking of sharing, I would love to invite you along to share the experience of music making in real time from the studio. I will be posting lots to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! Feel free to follow and comment, it makes it seem like you are there with us. There will even be some live streams, Facebook permitting. The studio has goats. There will be pictures of the goats.

It is immensely humbling to have an artistic vision and have so many talented people come together to make it happen. I feel so lucky! 

Stay in touch, I want you along for the ride!

Up Next: Making A Record

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What a trip! After this tour I feel like I am building a movement and connecting with people through music. Everything I am doing is about the music and what I can bring to the world and heal through it. I am grateful for every moment of connection and to every one of you for opening up to me and letting me share what I think can bring us all together. Morten, Jesper, Anders and Kristoffer are all fantastic people and musicians. They worked so hard and brought magic to my music. We even got filmed for Copenhagen Jazz TV at Christiania Jazz Club on our last night in Denmark. I will be sharing a link to that on as soon as it is up! I am also immensely grateful to Trevor James Flutes for their sponsorship of the events at The Vibe in London, it was such a blast and without their support this tour would not have been possible.

Now, on to the next thing. I am beyond thrilled to announce that ENQ is making a record in June! We have two great performances in May to share the music with you before we head into the studio. The process of rehearsing and recording will be shared on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Those in attendance at either the May 13th or May 29th performances will be getting a secret link to exclusive behind the scenes content from our time at Applehead Recording Studios in Woodstock, NY.

May 13th, 6-7 pm we will be at Silvana in Harlem. It is our first time at this venue and I am thrilled to get to share my music there. If you are in the area, please stop by! There is great food and drinks to be had. The performance will also be Live Streamed at http://livamp.com/silvana.

I am very excited to premiere a new band and new music at Nublu on May 26th, 9 pm. The band is called “The Matedors” and consists of myself, Jeff McLaughlin (guitar), Amanda Ruzza (bass) and Lautaro Burgos (drums). For this performance at Nublu we will be premiering a suite of music I wrote for Tobbe Erikssons series of paintings entitled “F*ck The World, Let’s Dance.” It’s a series of six birds in different dance positions, and the music reflects the character of each pose. At 10 pm The Matedors will perform music by Amanda Ruzza, and at 11 pm Fine Wino will take the stage. It will be a night to remember, don’t miss out!

May 29th, 9 pm the Elsa Nilsson Quartet will be doing an intimate showcase of the music to be recorded at Rockwood Music Hall, stage 3. Tickets can be pre-purchased here. I love stage 3 at Rockwood. It is the most intimate of the Rockwood stages and I hope you can join us for this special evening so we can bring the love and good vibes into the studio.

See you out there!

With love and music,
Elsa

European Tour

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I am about to embark on my first tour as a band leader! I leave two weeks from tomorrow. I can’t tell you how exciting this is! The process of making this tour happen began in October 2015, and it has been hugely rewarding to watch all the pieces fall into place. I will be presenting my music with my favorite musicians I met in Denmark this summer while on tour with Cassia DeMayo. As much as I will miss my New York band, I am excited to see what these amazing musicians will bring to the music. You can follow the whole trip on my social media- there will be lots of behind the scenes tidbits!

Along with the concerts I will also do a series of master classes. Some are open to the public, so if you are in the area, stop by and let’s talk about rhythm! Or flute playing for doublers! All of the events are listed in one convenient location on my Calendar.

This whole trip is made possible by the sponsorship of Trevor James Flutes for the master classes I am teaching at the Vibe in London on May 3rd. UK friends: please stop by, say hi, and participate in a class!

Nature Recharge

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I’ve always loved nature, and especially forests. When I’m in the woods I get struck with the timelessness of it all. How these living things have been there since way before I was born and, if humanity doesn’t mess it up, will be there long after I am gone. It makes me feel insignificant in the best possible way and reminds me that we are all here for a very limited time and to enjoy the ride. I got to take a much needed break in nature to recharge over New Years and sincerely hope you found time and space to recharge as well!

There are quite a few exciting things coming up in January, but first off I want to convey my most heartfelt gratitude to those who made it out the the Rockwood Music Hall Lucia Celebration! It was such a blast. The show was recorded and I will be releasing it as a live record in the near future. Please keep an eye on my social media pages for that!

Upcoming:

January 13th, 7.30 pm @ Bowery Electric, Map Room: The Elsa Nilsson Quartet will be playing our arrangements of Swedish traditionals and original jazz. It’s a free show so stop by and have a drink with us!

January 15th, 9 pm @ Nublu: I will be performing as part of a collective project that I am very excited about with Marcos Varela on bass and Cody Rahn on drums. We will be featuring very special guest all the way from Denmark; guitarist Morten Haugshøj.

January 18th, 7pm @ Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 3: Morten and I will also be playing a different set of music with bassist Tom DiCarlo and drummer Mareike Wiening.

Then I am off to Los Angeles for a few days to showcase the wonderful Trevor James Flutes at the world’s largest musical instrument trade show, NAMM and go hiking (nature recharge day!).

January 29th, 10 pm @ Nublu: The Elsa Nilsson Quartet will be playing at Nublu. We love this spot- please come join us!

Follow me on my various social channels:
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter (New! More frequent updates/general thoughts)

I hope to see you at one or all of these shows! Whoever makes it out to at least 3 gets a free CD! 🙂

Special Lucia Performance

I always loved December because of all the little celebrations. Growing up we would celebrate Advent every Sunday with candles, oranges, tea and cookies with friends, family and pumpkin pie. It took my mind off the damp, cold and dark December nights to have these little celebrations to look forward to.

My favorite December holiday is Lucia. It celebrates the ancient mythical character of Lucia, the catholic patron saint of the blind and also bringer of light. It is a celebration to spread light in dark places with candles and music. You can find more information on her here.

The way Lucia worked when I was a child was that I spent the day singing these traditional songs with various choirs throughout the day in churches, concert halls, old age homes, hospitals, schools and so on. This year, I am playing arrangements of these songs at Rockwood Music Hall, stage 2, on December 12th at 7 pm. With everything that is going on in the world right now I think it is important to spread some light in the darkness. I have mixed in music from Syria, Brazil, South Africa, Bulgaria and Brazil with Jazz and the traditional melodies sung on this celebration. I will also be bringing enough Pepparkakor (swedish ginger bread cookies) for everyone.

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Far Cry Flutes

Far Cry Flutes at the Firehouse Space
Far Cry Flutes at the Firehouse Space

I enjoy setting silly goals for myself. When I’m biking home from teaching I will race bus B48 if it’s right behind me. I will not allow myself to take a break until I’ve finished the exercise I’m working on, or my cup of tea. When I practice I will limit myself to only playing certain notes when improvising and it feels like trying to have a conversation without using the letter “e”. I love setting these musical challenges for myself as it takes me out of my comfort zone and allows me to approach things in a different way.

One of these challenges I set for myself was writing music with improvised sections for flute quartet and today Far Cry Flutes released our first video! It is a piece I wrote for the group entitled “Radar Working”. I can’t tell you what an amazing feeling it is to have the sounds inside my head become music played by these world class flutists. Please head over to www.facebook.com/FarCryFlutes, like our page and check out the video! There are more to come, and I would love to hear your thoughts.

“Radar Working” with Far Cry Flutes.

Tonight at 9 pm I am playing with the amazing Eleanor Dubinsky at The Bitter End with some absolutely fabulous musicians! I will be playing all three of my flutes and singing some backup vocals, Wesley Amorim will play guitar, Fernando Saci Percussion and Drums and Special Guest Tim Ries (from the Rolling Stones horn section) will be joining on Saxophone and Hungarian Folk Flute. Seriously, you gotta come out and hear this!

This month has some other very exciting shows as well. On November 22nd at 10.30 pm the collective that had our first show at Rockwood stage 1 last month will be returning to play a set at Rockwood Music Hall, stage 3. We will play some new music and some old, and hope you can join us for the continued development of this exciting project. The evening will feature music by myself, Jon Cowherd (piano), Marcos Varela (bass) and Mareike Wiening (drums).

The night after, November 23rd at 10 pm, Scando Jazz has its debut show downstairs at Bowery Electric. This group is the joint brainchild of myself, Oskar Stenmark (trumpet, Sweden), Odd Albrigtsen (guitar, Norway), Lars Ekman (bass, Sweden) and Mareike Wiening (drums Norway/Germany). We play arrangements of Scandinavian music with jazz flavors. Guaranteed good times, and very different from my usual approach to arranging scandinavian music. Tickets are $10 at the door or $8 of you get them in advance here: http://tinyurl.com/ScandoJazzBowery

Copenhagen and Aarhus Jazz Festivals

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There are so many things I love about music. I love how no matter how I feel, if I raise to flute to my face, I’m transformed. I love the feeling of freedom when improvising by myself. I love sitting up with my friends late into the night and listening to records and nerding out about music. But most of all, I love the real human connections that grow out of the relationships I have that are based around music. These last few weeks at the Aero, Copenhagen and Aarhus Jazz Festivals have been full of that. The feeling when you meet someone new and you just know you are going to be friends and create beautiful music together. That first time you play with someone and everything just clicks. These moments are why I keep going in music even in the moments when it is tough, and I won’t sugar coat it- there are quite a few of those as well.

Music to me is about communication. It’s about connection. Both between the musicians and the audience. It feels strange to be writing this on a computer, the least human mode of communication, but if you are reading this I want you to know that my biggest goal with every note I play is to connect to you.

Let’s greet the challenges we face together with open hearts. The journey is more fun if we go together.

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Jimi Hendrix Tribute Show

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Every chance I get to share music with you is such a treat, but this Saturday’s showgoes a step beyond. I will be performing arrangements of Jimi Hendrix’s music with the incredible Jon Cowherd on June 13th at Rockwood Music Hall, stage 3, 7 pm, as well as some original music by both Jon and myself.

When I told a dear friend about this show she expressed surprise that I was so into Hendrix’s music. “It just doesn’t seem like you” she said. I wanted to share the story of how I got introduced to this music and why I love it so.

When I was a teenager visiting California with my family I would always take time to visit my friends up in Humboldt and Mendocino. I used to take the greyhound bus up from San Francisco, and most visits my godfather John Norris would give me a ride back down. We used to talk about art, music and life and he showed me all sorts of music I had never heard before in these five hour drives. Honestly, it was one of my favorite parts of the visits up north. On one trip John asked if I’d heard Jimi’s music. I was 16 years old and had not. John only had “Axis: Bold as Love” in the car and we listened to it over and over for the whole drive. I fell in love. “Little Wing” was my favorite. This was the year I got my hummingbird tattoo on my back, and at that time only the wing was completed. John called me “Little Wing” from then on.

These talks with John are a big reason why I became a musician. I remember one conversation especially vividly where we discussed the human spirit. John said that everybody’s spirit hides inside a shell. Sometimes, when we don’t expect it, they peek out through our eyes. That’s why we can have instant connections with strangers when we haven’t said a word to each other and eyes lock. Our spirits just happened to peek out at the same time and connect and that is beautiful, even if we never speak. John suggested that art has the ability to bring people’s spirits to the surface and coax them out of hiding for a moment. I agree with this. As a musician (and a teacher), I make it my mission to hang myself out there and be vulnerable in hopes that you can connect. I won’t lie, it can be terrifying. But I find that every great musician does it, no matter what style, and that is what allows me to connect to their music.

Jimi Hendrix was one of the first artists that I felt that way about. It has been such a treat to pour over his music and pick tunes to play with Jon, and I can’t wait to share them with you.
I hope you join us for this very special evening of music. Advance tickets can be purchased here: http://www.ticketfly.com/event/782123

elsa and jon

Joining the Trevor James Flute Family

 

 

The first time I played a Trevor James Alto flute was in high school. It just fit.  It was one of those love at first note moments. When I moved to Seattle I got one for my own and have played it every day since. I am exceedingly thrilled to announce that today I have been officially added to the Trevor James Flute family. Check out their Facebook Post!

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Also for your enjoyment, here is a video of my band and I playing Gläns Över sjö och Strand form the EP “Växer”. Sign up for the email list to get a free download of the whole EP!

Växer EP Release

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Spring is in the air. I can’t wait! It’s making me want to play all the spring music I know again. Such as my stack of Brazilian choro music and “Vårvindar Friska” from “Already There Yet”. This winter has been rough for everybody, and I am ready to not have to bike in snow covered bike lanes any longer. I love seeing the beginning of things growing. Seeing greenery breaking out into the world after being covered in snow and ice gives me hope. There is something about the resilience of seeds that inspire me to keep growing.

For me, sharing my music with you is not unlike watching a seed grow. It is immensely rewarding, but its also not an exaggeration to say I spend hours on every detail of the process. Over the last few months I have been working on an EP of 5 of my favorite songs to play with my band. We recorded them in December, and now they are ready to share with you. Two of the songs are originals and three are Swedish traditionals I arranged. Two of the songs have vocals. The band poured their thoughtful ideas into this as well and this resulted in a recording I am very happy with and oh so excited to share with you!

The EP will be released this Saturday, March 14th. It will be available for sale on CD Baby- keep an eye on Facebook for the link. More to the point, we are doing a release party at Rockwood Music Hall, stage 2. Everyone who comes will receive a free download of the EP. The party is on at 7 pm, March 14th. I hope to see you there!