Laleh: Music in three languages

Laleh Pourkarim, better known by her stage name Laleh, is a Swedish musician who earlier this year released her fourth album, entitled Sjung (which translates to “Sing”). Laleh came to Sweden at a young age after her family fled from Iran and in high school she studied music. After a short acting career she decided to focus fully on her music and in 2005 her first single “Invisible (My Song)” was released. Later that same year her first majorly successful single “Live Tomorrow” came out, a song that topped the Swedish singles list for many weeks. In 2005 she also won three Swedish Grammy awards: female artist of the year, new artist of the year and producer of the year. She also won female artist of the year and new artist of the year at P3 Guld, another prestigious Swedish music award where the public gets to vote on who should win each category.

She followed up her successful debut in 2006 with her second album Prinsessor (“Princesses”) and a year after that she recorded the song “Snö” (“Snow”) for major Swedish film “Arn.” In 2009 she released her third album, Me and Simon.

Laleh’s diverse background quickly becomes apparent simply by looking at the track-listings on her albums. Every album includes a mix of songs in Swedish, English and in some cases Persian. It makes listening to her music quite a unique experience and you certainly don’t have to understand or speak all the languages to be able to enjoy her music. Her talent becomes obvious instantly and when you consider that she does not only write and sing her own music, she also plays and records all the instruments and produces it it’s even more impressive. Calling her multitalented is an understatement. She names the Police and Sting as big sources of inspiration for her, especially in her English songs, whereas her Swedish songs are more reminiscent of folk songs. You could say that her music is not only a mix of languages but a mix of styles but it works wonderfully together. You may not like all the songs on her album but there’s certainly something there for everyone and if you haven’t already you should definitely look up her music (all four albums are available on Spotify to listen to for free).

Laleh also took part in a Swedish tv-series called Så mycket bättre (“So much better”) where a number of artists cover each other’s songs and Laleh was given a lot of praise for her versions of many of the songs. In the show she talked about her background and what it was like fleeing her home country, the tragedy of her father drowning while trying to save a woman and also about her love for animals and why she’s chosen to be vegetarian. She always comes across as very clever, and with a clear understanding of the issues the world is facing today and what she as a musician can do to help. For example, part of the proceeds from her first album are donated to charity and she’s regularly been involved with and supported “Muskhjälpen” (“Music Aid”) an annual Swedish charity that uses music to collect money for a different cause every year, most recently women’s right for education.

At only 29 Laleh has already accomplished a lot but she still appears to be bursting with creativity so we can probably expect more from her in the future.

 

Image copyright Lost Army.


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