The Canteen | 12th April

Growing up in a small town in Denmark, Ida Wenoe began her musical journey listening to Nordic folk songs – a strong feature of Danish culture, and very much a part of the communities she lived within. As a teenager, aged fifteen, Ida was taken to her first concert in Aarhus – a moment that would act as a catalyst to everything she would become, and inspire her to follow the path towards becoming a musician in her own right.
And she has definitely proved her own talent, as her debut solo album, Time of Ghosts, can testify.

“Patti (Smith) just showed me the way, showed me how it’s not about pleasing others or putting on a mask that fits society. She showed me how beautiful the ugly can be. How all those things that exist inside of us, the light and the darkness, all need to be there. That day, I truly knew that music was my path. Patti gave me the power to pursue it.” Recalls Ida.

Formerly a member of Boho Dancer, Ida pours every drop of pain, of loneliness and loss into her songs – lyrics that fall like gentle rain, as we cup our hands and wait for the storm. Ida explores the mental prisons we make for ourselves, the self-sabotage and the desperate need for escape – in ‘Death Wish (Of Nicholas Urfe)’, a story unfolds, too raw and too close to home, to ever be a fable.

Folk music in Denmark has been defined over time, its immediacy unbound, fostered in the local communities, and much still waiting to be found. Ida has been a part of this, inherently absorbing and reflecting the conflicting emotions that many would be too afraid to confront.

“Time of Ghosts is a welcoming of the darkness just as much as the light. It’s an invitation to go deeper and not be afraid of what you might find. To be able to grow as a human being, we need to face ourselves in the unmasked version.” Ida explains.

Working alongside musicians Anders Mathiasen, and Katrine Stocholm, and produced by Jonas Tranberg, Time of Ghosts contains definite nods towards Ida’s own muses, including Lou Reed, Eva Cassidy and Sandy Denny. Among the vulnerabilities lies a strong force of defiance – to be free, in a world that wants to dictate who we should become. “I did listen to Eva Cassidy a lot as a teenager, and it’s funny you mention her. I’ve written a journal for most of my life and when I needed comfort and guidance I liked to imagine that she was my guardian spirit and I would speak to her through my journal. I didn’t care if it was real or not, since it served the purpose and thereby was real to me.” Ida recalls.

Tender arrangements, especially in ‘How Cold the Winter’, make way for primal moments that appear to claw for a release, emerging from the very core of Ida’s being as she becomes the sound, and the sound becomes her. With a voice ranging from elfish, barely-there footsteps in a frozen wilderness, to extreme exorcism of polar emotions, it is easy to see why Ida Wenoe has earned comparisons with Martha Wainwright, Kate Bush and Tanya Donelly.

Ida took part in Klaksvik Music Camp, a songwriting programme, based on the Faroe Islands, which gave her the space to develop her voice and sketch the songs that would become the emotionally rich ‘Time of Ghosts’.

“Being on the road a lot of the time, I’m used to not depending on a place or total isolation. Mostly I write alone, but I also write with others or on international co-writing camps. It’s fun sharing ideas with other songwriters. It’s not only about the songs, it’s also about the sharing of inspiration and seeing things through a different perspective.” Ida says.

Touring with Gareth Bonello of The Gentle Good in support, Ida Wenoe plays The Canteen in Bristol, tonight. Tickets are available. In Danish we have this expression, “Ånden kom over ham” – which translates to “The spirit came over him”, and that to me explains this feeling when it’s working best. When you forget about you and it’s all about a moment of expression and feeling among everyone in that particular room you are playing in.” Ida says.

Check out ‘How Cold the Winter’ below.