Bella Union

A plethora of female singer-songwriters populate the world today but Sumie — another girl and a guitar — stands apart from the rest. This Swedish songstress whose background is as much Japanese as Scandinavian writes achingly beautiful songs that draw from the folk-music traditions she grew up with and the experience of motherhood.

Her music resembles the bold and delicate art that shares her name. The mature and strong presence she exudes on the album has been constructed with a delicate and trained hand. The strokes she draws with plucked guitar drift like feathers on wind. Her voice is steady and deep but sounds fragile and ephemeral with her soft inflections.

Harmonies are used sparsely. Subtle whispery noises creep in when appropriate. Her incredibly talented producers Nils Frahm and Dustin O’Halloran provide their own touches (like piano) here and there. These adornments are never overdone; they appear when necessary to elicit a mood but never get tired out.

Sumie’s self-titled debut LP is an embrace. You can hear the careful washes of ink that a new mother and gifted songstress penned. It offers a supremely mature and well-crafted journey through songs of the sea and metaphors for love — beauty in the truest sense.

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