Sep 25, 2009

Sofi Hellborg - To Give Is To Get


Sofi Hellborg - a music biography 1979 - 1981 Sofi started playing music seriously at the age of seventeen in the music jazzschool in south of Sweden with the saxophone as her main instrument. 1982 From early on, Sofi was always drawn towards African music and decides with a friend to travel to Cameroon. Five months of playing with both modern and traditional musicians. 1983 - 1985 She returns to Sweden but only to stay for a short while until moving to London where she joined the London African based band Orchestra Jazira, and recorded with them the album "Nomadic Activities" (which features one of her tracks.) 1985 - 1991 Sofi left Jazira and moved to Paris, where she joined Guinean singer and Kora player Mory Kante, toured all over the world and played on the two albums "10 Kola Nuts" and "Akwaba Beach" which included the international hit "Ye Ke Ye Ke". 1991 - 1993 She played with the french star Charlelie Couture and recorded on the live album "Souvenir Live". 1993 - 1994 In -93,Sofi realesed her first album "Travel & See" and started touring with her own group Sofi Hellborg Gang. Her music is a reflection of the journey Sofi has travelled and is a mixture of African, jazz and funk music. 1995 - 1996 She moved her whole band to Sweden where she recorded and produced her second album "Hey Now" on the label Gazell Music. Apart from her own group, Sofi has also started two other projects; Klaxon Five, a lively brass band and Smadj & So, a drum..n..bass outfit with Rai and jazzy influences. 1997 She released with Smadj a vinyl called "Bon Voyage" on the english label Freerange. 1998 Sofi puts out her third cd "Time will tell". The music is still her own mixture of afro, funk and jazz but adds in some drum..n..bass influence. She still plays the alto and soprano saxophone as her main instruments, but she also sings, plays the Thumb piano, composes and produces. With Smadj they put out their cd "Equilibriste" on the label Melt. 1999 - 2000 Sofi moves back to Sweden after 16 years! And prepares her fourth cd. 2001 With lots of new inspiration she puts out her fourth cd "Go Open", with some musicians from the Paris gang and two new swedish musicians. A live recording in Sweden and a mature and groovy cd, still in her own style. This time with a more instrumental touch. The words "Go Open" comes from pidgin english "One way go close another one go open". 2002-2008 Touring and working with different projects as well as teaching music she records a new cd and invite this time Tony Allen, drummer and the master of afrobeat( Fela Kuti) on four songs. She also collaborates with the Swedish rapper Timbuktu for an interesting meeting in the afrosound on a swedish song. Still in her own stile of afrosound she records with the rest of the Gang this cd called “To Give is to Get”. Mixed by Jens Lodén it has a more modern sound to it. Cd out februari 2006. In march 2008 she releases her 6 th album "Drumming is calling" still with the afrogroove feeling and the same Gang of musicians.



Groove Magazine – March 2006

By Gary Landström

This is how life should be. A musical journey with Sofi´s horn arrangements and intimate singing is a sacred experience. The record is like a smiling summer night at the end of a long and cold winter.

Sydsvenskan – March 2006

By Alexander Agrell

Sofi´s first record in 5 years sounds better than those in the past. Partly it is because of the king of afrobeat drumming, Tony Allen. He plays perfect cooking, nervy and boiling drums. Mr Allen plays on only four songs but the ordinary drummer Jean Francois Ludovicus is also a very good drummer. The proof of his skills is on the track “Jungle in my livingroom”. Sofi writes effective riffs and melodies and her sax works nicely together with trombonist Ola Åkerman. Both of them understand how to play short, soulful solos. Sofi burns brightest in the above mentioned “Jungle in my livingroom”.


Dagens Nyheter – 11/3 2006

By Johannes Cornel

There are not many Swedish musicians who have as big experience of African music as Sofi Hellborg. She heads her band with natural self-assurance and warmth. The music is funk, jazz, afrobeat which lay emphasis on on dance and groove. At the same time she sends out a sensitivity that’s completely honest. As a saxophone player she draws towards the funky side. As a singer she is weaker but on the other hand controls a way of singing that is typical African. The singing is an expression of the music and the band rather than of her own personality. And as such it is very convincing. – May 2006

By Bengt Eriksson

After Fela Kuti and Tony Allen, Sofi Hellborg is the one who best preserves the afrobeat. Then it fits well that Tony Allen is a part of this album. Afro-rhythms, jazz and funk mixes and filtrates through Sofi. The result is a more warm and kind – should I say female – brand of Afro beat. Sofi plays humble, beautiful saxophone tones and her open attitude towards the music, the people and the world makes Sofi Hellborgs afromusic her own, special and good.


01. Wouldn't That Be Fun
02. My Dream
03. To Give Is to Get
04. Har du Hört
05. If You Ever
06. Jungle in My Livingroom
07. Bring It on Through
08. Light
09. My Heart Is My Home
10. We Want No More War

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