One of Norway’s most acclaimed and vital artists, Hanne Hukkelberg grew up surrounded by music and first started to strum and tap on instruments at the age of three. At high school she was discovered by doom-metalers Funeral, for whom she sang from 1999-2003, as she immersed herself in improvisation, jazz, metal, classical, electronica, rock and pop, establishing herself as a vocalist, composer and multi-instrumentalist.
In 2003, at the Norwegian University College of Music in Oslo, she met Kåre Chr. Vestrheim; a tutor who was to become a friend and producer as they began a musical relationship which saw Vestrheim set up Propeller Recordings to release her EP ‘Cast Anchor’, followed by debut album ‘Little Things’, unveiling Hanne’s atypical approach to pop, and her effortless ability to combine myriad genres with unusual arrangements, and her non-traditional instrumentation such as kitchen implements, flagpoles and bicycle wheels had many reaching for the thesaurus with one hand and the ‘repeat’ button with the other.
In 2005, The Leaf Label (UK) released ‘Cast Anchor’, followed by ‘Little Things’. By then, the international press weren’t so much sitting up and taking notice, as standing up and applauding. The Sunday Times recognized the album as one of their ten best of the year and New York’s Plug Independent Music Awards nominated her in the category Female Artist of the Year.
Where ‘Little Things’ fed on her jazz schooling and a great understanding of pop, second album ‘Rykestrasse 68’ took a delicate side-step, utilizing elements of classical music and rock, and a continued playful experimentation, including on a distinctive interpretation of ‘Break My Body’ by Pixies, which immediately caught the attention of their manager Ken Goes; “Of the dozens and dozens of covers over the years, Hanne’s is my favorite.”
At the beginning of 2007, Hanne received the Spellemannsprisen (the Norwegian Grammy) for ‘Rykestrasse 68’, which was released in Europe and North America on the Nettwerk label to a fanfare of press plaudits.
As 2008 awoke, Hanne retreated to the small village of Skaland in the far-Northern territory of Troms for seven months to begin working on her third album. She returned to Oslo later that year and by the time February 2009 rolled around she was ready to unveil ‘Blood From a Stone’. This revealed itself to be Hanne’s darkest, most intimate work, but there were many places where the light reached and where her jazz schooling and pop nous bubbled to the surface. As ever, an array of odds-and-ends were deployed, and the liner notes credit her with vocals, guitar, piano, synthesizer, rocks, a box of Vaseline, a bag of sweets, bicycle spokes, table-tops and a train door, while and the now-customary array of Norwegian musical luminaries heeded her call-to-arms. ‘Blood From a Stone’ was released in Norway on Propeller on April 20 and the rest of the world via Nettwerk, to great acclaim.
In March of 2010 she relocated to New York to begin work on her fourth album, and embarked on a series of solo concerts; a ‘band in a box’ as she calls it, adding another weapon to this singular talent’s already-formidable arsenal.