The healing power of music never ceases to amaze me. From the opening lyrics of ‘lavender and heaven’, by Norwegian singer songwriter iris, I knew this track was something much more than another guitar backed ballad.
25-year-old Vilde Iris Hartveit Kolltveit, or iris, hails from Bergen in Norway. ‘lavender and heaven’ is the first track to be released from her debut album love and other disasters, which is due in 2021. These songs were all conceived within the darkness of the pandemic, which forced iris to quarantine at her parent’s house. Here, late night walks and music became the outlets for her frustration.
Surprisingly, ‘lavender and heaven’ does not feel like music born as a release from pandemic fatigue. From the opening strums of acoustic guitar to the fragile vocals, this track exudes honesty and emotion. “The song is me trying to reach out to me” the singer explains, adding to its spine tingling beauty.
“The song is me trying to reach out to me”
At times, the vocals remind me of ‘Little Star’ by Stina Nordenstam and have echoes of Sigrid. Yet, for all the comparisons, words cannot covey the way this song seeps into your pores and touches your core. “It breaks my heart that you think it’s true that everything wrong is something wrong with you” iris sings. These are words that touch upon the self doubt in all of us, especially in a year when we have all had too much time to reflect.
The song is so intimate and heartfelt; at times the track induces the feeling that the rich guitar chords and iris’ breathy vocals are all that exists. The verses are woven with such fragility it is impossible not to connect with the words. However, it is the chorus that sweeps you up, with the perfect uplifting harmony of guitar and vocals. Subtle strings join the arrangement, towards the end of the track , and the emotion envelops you.
As this pandemic drags on and mental health issues grow, iris is reminding us to be kind to ourselves. “I will build a palace, make you happier than ever / It’s just around the corner between lavender and heaven.” The song helps you connect with your own inner voice and teases out optimism. Both cathartic and magical.
Words by Andrew Butcher
Check out Andrew’s blog here.