Danish singer and composer Astrid Nora, who performs and records under the name Where Did Nora Go, released her fifth EP in April, marking ten years of WDNG. Entitled Undivided, the five songs were all written and recorded during lock down, with a working title of Songs of Solace and are united by feelings of being uplifting and of hope. Astrid says
“I started writing the songs in the beginning of the first lock down – trying to carve out spaces of time when I wasn’t suddenly full time mom to my girls (6yr old twins). Somehow – in the middle of this surreal insanity with all the despair and insecurity of what was to come – where would this all end? – this calmness came to me – this unbelievable trust, insisting that this whole transformative experience would lead us to a better place.”
The title track leads us off with a sound that is indeed full of solace and hope, a song that unfurls naturally like a dream, encompassing the unbreakable spirit that lives within us. Astrid’s ethereal vocals lend themselves perfectly to the melody and celestial notes that surround the lyrics. The lyrics mention messages from the other side and Astrid says that this is indicative of the intuitive way in which she works:
“I make lots of preparations and then when the time is ready the songs flow through me. Like messages from the other side. Bold statements that I would not have had the courage to maybe state myself. It feels like I become some kind of channel. And if it feels strong and pure it’s my calling to pass it on. The melodies and lyrics are like visions projected onto the vast canvas of ambient warm soundscapes.”
‘Returning‘ embraces a pulsing beat whilst also retaining that ethereal yet warm melodic vision. A longing for connection, losing and returning are the themes here and the song leaves you with an uplifted feel that all things are possible. In contrast, ‘It Will Come in Time’ is a gentler, more fluid feel that emanates a sense of calm and serenity. As we have learnt in the last couple of years, everything doesn’t last forever and sometimes, things come in their own time.
The EP ends with two songs of love, or love visions, in ‘Rising Sea of Love‘ and ‘Love, My Love‘. In a world where physical divisions have been enforced, the feeling of love making us stronger together has become apparent to much of humanity – we choose to remain undivided in many aspects of life. From the individual bonds of love that hold us to the ineffable amounts of love that humanity is capable of showing, love is something with the capacity to unite us so that we stay undivided.
Astrid’s advice to aspiring musicians concentrates on the process of making music itself:
“Dive deeply into yourself – and deeper still. Discover your own world and your uniqueness and what it is you have to bring to the world. Everybody’s got something special. Discover what it is for you and stay true to that. Be brave. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Have your own back and just keep going. Perseverance is key as well as learning how to enjoy the process.”
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Photo credit: Martine Gastineau