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Knut Reiersrud & Iver Kleive

Bluesgitar meets Churchorgan. Prominent musicians Knut Reiersrud and Iver Kleiven digs deep into the roots of music, far beyond the normal limitation of styles and tecnique. Iver, classically educated and one of Norways most famous church organists, also with background from rock and jazz, and Knut Reiersrud, a true guitar hero dedicated to blues and its history, also with a deep passion for traditional music, puts their talents together in this uniqe collaboration.

Iver Kleive

Iver Kleive is born in Skien, Norway in 1949.
In 1972 he graduated as cantor at the Musical conservatoire in Oslo. From 1973-76 he studied organ play at Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in München, and submitted german exam (Solistenprüfung) in the soloist class for organ players.

Iver Kleive was organ player in Frogner church, Oslo 1976-81, In Røyken church, Akershus 1982-85 and in Helgerud church, Bærum from 1987.

His background for working with choirs comes from the legendary
Münchener Bachchor, with conductor Karl Richter, where he sang 1st tenor for 3 years.

Iver Kleive made his debut as organ player in Oslo in 1978, and has since then had several solo concerts. He has been soloist with Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and was pianist in the Kringkastingsorkesteret (orchestra for Norwegian broadcasting) for ten years. Iver Kleive has also been organ soloist at all our chirch music festivals. He has been soloist with Kringkastingsorkesteret, Stavanger symphony orhcestra and Trondheim symphony orchestra.
In 1992 he was hired as synthesizer soloist with Oslo Philharmonic Orkestra and conductor Mariss Janson in a weeks Tour in Great Britain.

Iver Kleive has in addition to his work as organ player also worked in many different genres.
From 1972 until today he has contributed in about 200 recordings as studio musician, composer and arranger.
Kleive describes himself as an improvising musician who likes to change between classical and pop, folk music and Jazz. The organ and church are his main instrument and fundament, though.

Iver Kleive har been a member of the jury at several award ceremonys for the Spellemann award (norwegian ”Grammy”). He also has made a significant contribute to enlighten our national folk music tradition. The last ten years he has recorded several albums with the Norwegian folk singer Sondre Bratland. He has also cooperated with the the Brazilian percussion player Nana Vasconcelos.

Several of our leading soloists have been accompanied by Iver Kleive: i.e. Arve Tellefsen, Arve Tellefsen, Karin Krog, Jan Garbarek, Terje Rypdal. In 1990 he made a tour covering all USA together with Ole Edvard Antonsen.
He has played with Carola in Sweden, Bjørn Eidsvåg in Moscow, Ytre Suløen Jassensemble in New Orleans,
Sigmund Groven in Scotland, USA and the Caribbiean Ilands, with Knut Reiersrud in India, Pakistan and South-Afrika.


Knut Reiersrud

Reiersrud's unique talent shines out through all this versatility. In some inexplicable way, he creates an aura around the notes that is pure Reiersrud, whether he is playing African, Indian, Norwegian or American folk music, whether he dwells sobbingly, dances with cat's paw virtuosity over the strings or is downright noisy. It sometimes sounds as though he is giving birth to the notes right there and then, possibly as a result of his never using a plectrum because he wants to be close to the strings. His playing seems to find the essence; it evidences fundamentality, understanding and a sense of origin. All this is due to his insatiable curiosity and enviable openness. On the other hand, he can also be surprisingly conventional, as when he maintains that modern blues consists of good and less good copies of the great masters.

The blues were his entrée to an unusually varied career, difficult to define but undoubtedly that of an innovative stylist. With the Four Roosters, he recorded Rooster Blues in '82. The following year he jammed with several of his idols in the immortal Chess Studios in Chicago. That was the beginning of the Chicago Blues Meeting group, which released Snake in My Bedroom in '88. During that period, Knut Reiersrud was a concert attraction and a public favourite. In beret, check jacket and extra long guitar wire, he spent much of his time at overheated concerts dancing with the audience while impeccably performing solo after solo on guitar or harmonica. In actual fact, he was a down-to-earth student who financed his studies by playing the clubs. When he discovered that he was a member of six different bands at the same time and was due to take an exam in Kant's moral philosophy, he finally realized that he was a musician.

The advantage and disadvantage of being such a specialized musician in such a small environment as Norway is that you have to go out and play to make a living. Reiersrud became, and still is, a favourite studio musician and has always spent a lot of time on the road. He believes he is lucky to be able to play with so many good guitarists better than himself and will never stop learning. He has worked with many different stylists, such as Buddy Guy, Dr. John, Joe Cocker, Rick Danko, Sultan Kahn, Stevie Ray Vaughn, David Lindley, the Five Blind Boys of Alabama and El Subramanian. He has also delved into Norwegian folk music in an unusual combination with Iver Kleive's church organ.

Their cooperation resulted in Blå koral (Blue Chorale, '91) and Himmelskip (Heavenly Ship, '92), both of them milestones and works of reference in terms of genre, musical potential and recording technique. Blå koral contains Norwegian folk music and hymns recorded directly on a master tape in St. Knud's Cathedral in Odense, Denmark, at dead of night to avoid background noise. They also had to stop playing before the church bells rang every hour.

On the follow-up record in the same place, also at night five years later, they further developed the interface between European church music and folk music in cooperation with Danish folk singer Povl Dissing. Neither Christians nor non-Christians had ever heard hymns and folk songs performed like that before. When the guitarist and organist toured the churches, they caused mass migrations the like of which had only previously been seen at Christmas and Easter. Music was suddenly back in its origins, practical church music reinforcing a message and providing solace and strength for the congregation.

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