Songs in Danish, German, French, Greek, Spanish, Icelandic, English and Arabic. Plus a Japanese title.
“Kokoro” is an outstanding experiment by Danish singer-songwriter Per Bloch accompanied by 30 collaborators from 16 countries.
“The project didn’t start out as multiculturally as it finished. To have over 30 collaborators from more than 16 countries wasn’t a part of my plan,” Per told us. “It just happened, and when I realised what was happening I was really encouraged – because my original, quite simple idea, of recording in multiple languages had suddenly become something much bigger. I love it when something meaningful evolves from something unplanned.”
“I am basically quite a shy person. I spend most of my time, happily, alone at home, surrounded by piles of books and music, brewing Japanese tea, scribbling in note books, and experimenting with soundscapes. So, to see and hear, that in the creation of Kokoro I have collaborated with over 30 people from more than 16 countries, is reassuring proof that I am not as socially amputated as I sometimes think I am.”
“Augnsamband”, or “Eye contact” in Icelandic:
“I have no musical education – I write, compose and create solely by heart and ears – and I am by no means able to analyse or copy the characteristics of musical tradition. So my intention was not to mimic, for example, Arabic music with its characteristic half tone intervals etc., but to create an Arabic song made and performed by a Dane. However, I found that my choice of language influenced the compositions – like in ‘Augnsamband’ or ‘Hipocampo’ – they actually sound a bit Icelandic and Spanish.”
“What I wanted to do with ‘Kokoro’, was to get rid of my usual tools, break my usual habits, and find some new colours for my musical palette. I had the basic ideas, chords and lyrics for each song, but I asked the musicians to add and enhance my initial ingredients. I gave Troels Abrahamsen (Veto, Exec etc.), who produced the album, complete freedom to do whatever he found necessary. I handed him all the recorded studio tracks and told him that no idea was too radical and that his only focus should be the music.”
“My working title for the project was Babel which I never really liked. For many reasons, but mainly because an English word indicates ‘English album’. So I started searching for a sound, more than a word. Via the Japanese tea I came across the Japanese sign for heart and when I heard it pronounced I knew that was my title.”
“Månestøv”, or “Moon Dust” in Danish:
“I have always had a strong urge to challenge genre boundaries and musical limitations, and from that perspective I’m very proud of Kokoro. The fusion of classical, electronic and rhythmical ingredients really turned out well. I think this is because I didn’t have a strict idea of what I wanted the end result to be, and this opened me to input from all of the musicians and allowed the songs to grow in the direction they needed.”
“Travelling has also played its part. For the recording of the Danish song, ‘Månestøv’, in the National Cathedral of Denmark, I invited a Greek friend that I met in Athens, to play the guitar. And for the Arabic song, I invited three French girls that I met in Lyon – The Ménilmontant Trio – to record in Denmark.”
“These cultural, musical, and personal crossings have become the core of the project, and this is reflected in the Kokoro book, which is a limited edition, completely handmade, with photographs, lyrics and translations of the songs.”