Blind Geese

"Swedish soul is good, even better than American soul." This rather bold statement is a view espoused by one of Swedens major soul front figures, Titiyo. Neither the view nor the statement surprise me. What is ironic is that the statement also embodies a zealous effort to cover up an inferiority complex. It is a syndrome which plagues the Nordic soul scene, and whose cure is like a nearsighted stubborn gander that refuses to wear corrective eyewear, just so he can join the swans. It is a scene that lacks a strong foundation in culture, which makes it an expression with no heart in it, a sewer system of spurious claims to vocal finesse, tinges of racism and exotica where true talent has to wade through the slime to keep artistic integrity pure.

After listening and witnessing minor tantrums on the part of many, one could just question... How is that Titiyo, after only one album under her belt had managed to claim rights to the throne that usually takes a lifetime to even be considered for?
    Why is it that when Robyn was to be launched in the States, the minor had to be trained and tutored in everything from speech to vocal gymnastics to sound more "black"?
    Jennifer Brown has decided to change direction with her latest release. Wasnt soul/rnb lucrative enough, or her love for soul genuine?
    Kaah, another singer left in the backwaters of the contemporary scene, was once asked why he doesnt sing in English. The language dilemma has not befallen blue-eyed soul icon Eric Gadd.
    Swedish-Grammy award winning Eagle - Eye Cherry, our cause clbre for the moment, has been asked why he chose to enter the pop-rock market rather than joining the long line of soul/rnb acts. Implied in the reasoning is that Cherry, as an artist should be restricted to the jazz and rnb influences his family has become famous for.

The malaise of the record industry isnt confined nor unique to Sweden but Ill leave that for another column. Particularity lies in the inability to foster and nurture the soul vibes and thereby behold and support a vibrant, expressive scene reminiscent of its predecessors.
    Stephen Simmonds work with British soul diva is emblematic of those diamonds in the rough vying to float in the adverbial system of refuse. With the straining lack of innovation, a continued failure to find grounding in other manifestations of culture (literature, theater etc) and the exercising of double standards, where not all artists are afforded the integrity to realize their visions, ghettoization will inevitably become the hallmark of the scene.


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