Tord Gustavsen w/ Simin Tander and Jarle Vespestad

What Was Said

The internationally acclaimed Norwegian pianist and Afghan-German vocalist Simin Tander met in 2014, and their collaboration has developed since then. Together with Afghan poet B. Hamsaaya, they translated and re-worked the lyrics of a selection of Norwegian traditional hymns into Pashto, the mother-tongue of Simin’s late father. Through this process of dialogue, translation and interpretation, the hymnal content became more and more ‘Sufi-like’ and spiritually open, although still clearly showing its roots. The resulting collection of lyrics is a testimonial to Simin’s and Tord’s equal passion for the constitutive interplay of foundation and freedom – roots and openness – in music, spirituality and cultural identity. 

Together with Jarle Vespestad on drums, the trio has toured extensively, playing around 100 concerts in the UK, Germany, France, USA, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Scandinavia and elsewhere, including major festival appearances at the London Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, SF Jazz Festival in San Francisco. Their album „What was said“ has been awarded with the „Annual German Critics Award“ („Jahrespreis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik“).

Simin and Tord as well occasionally play duo concerts and have performed their music with other musicians such as Arve Henriksen on trumpet or the WDR Rundfunkchor Cologne among others.


More about the Project

Foto: Øyvind Hjelmen

„ein Wunder an Ausdruckskraft und musikalischer Delikatesse.“ 
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

„Lyrical and emotionally potent, „What was said“ taps into the essence of devotional music and poetry with quietly mesmeric results.“
All About Jazz / USA

„stark, reflective new album. .. a beguiling new Gustavsen collaboration“
The Guardian, UK

„Arresting and hypnotic .. a genuine and profound listening experience ..“
Jazzwise, UK