Susanne Sundfør is deservedly a huge star in her native Norway, but in the UK she is largely an unknown entity. That could be about to change with this tour, as she brings her astonishing musical talent to Glasgow for the first time.
Sundfør released her eponymous debut album a decade ago, a collection of achingly beautiful love songs with a predominantly folk influence. She has since scored four number 1 albums in Norway, and has recently favoured a pop sound that mostly recalls her fellow Scandinavians, ABBA.
This evening, however, Sundfør brings just a piano and a guitar to Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts, showcasing her lavish gifts as both a musician and as a singer. Her unique voice is both powerful and fragile as she performs ‘Mantra’ from her 2015 album Music For People In Trouble and ‘Dear John’ from her 2007 debut. ‘Walls’, one of her biggest hits, is a thing of wonder; it is a swooning, gorgeous ode to vulnerability, and Sundfør’s voice is imbued with emotion.
The crowd is so spellbound that when Sundfør pauses to tune her guitar for her next song, the popping sound from someone stepping on an empty plastic cup at the back of the room is enough to make her jump. She performs ‘The Sound of War’, an eerie warning of an imminent conflict, before returning to the piano, where she confirms her effortless musicianship. ‘Undercover’ is a stand-out moment, and she also plays a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘American Tune’ on guitar.
“This is my first time in Scotland” she tells the crowd. “You have a beautiful country!” The crowd cheers in approval: they are on Sundfør’s side, as if they weren’t already. “Please come back, Susanne!” someone calls out, and she replies that she will; hopefully, it won’t be in another ten years.