• Bertus Elings

Sounds | Anneke van Giersbergen, My Promise



Half november maakte Anneke van Giersbergen bekend dat er een nieuw album op komst is, genaamd The Darkest Skies are the Brightest. Dat zal 26 februari a.s. het levenslicht zien. Afgelopen vrijdag kwam van dat album de eerste single uit, een voorproefje op wat komen gaat: My Promise. Na verschillende hardere dingen in de afgelopen jaren, lijkt mevrouw Van Giersbergen zich weer iets meer te focussen op rustiger muziek.


We hebben Anneke natuurlijk in het verleden leren kennen als zangeres bij The Gathering. In 2007 stopte ze daarmee en ging eigen dingen doen. Zo ging ze diverse soloprojecten aan en werkte ze in 2015 samen met Arjen Lucassen in The Gentle Storm. In 2017 bracht Anneke met haar nieuwe metalband VUUR een album uit. Daar waar menig fan inmiddels reikhalzend uitkeek naar nieuw werk van VUUR, waren er redenen voor Anneke om de andere kant uit te gaan. Op haar Facebook zegt ze daar zelf over: "A while ago, my belief in VUUR saw me spend all my savings on recording our debut album, and taking the band on the road. After completing our first touring cycle, I realized that more VUUR would mean yet more, huge financial risks. To make matters worse, my long-lasting marriage unexpectedly saw a storm approaching. I instantly knew I needed to write music about fixing my life.

With just my acoustic guitar and basic recording gear, I regularly retreated to a small house near the woods, just outside my hometown of Eindhoven. I let go of the pressures of what VUUR's future might be, and also devoted time to try and save my marriage."


lees:

The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest' is Anneke van Giersbergen’s 23rd career album and will be released on February 26, 2021. Lyrically, and musically, the award-winning Dutch artist lays her soul bare with the most evocative record of her career – captivating song-stories told with acoustic guitars, strings, horns, percussion, and Anneke's hypnotic vocal harmonies. The 11-track record has all the intimacy of Anneke serenading an audience of one, combined with surprising departures into swampier, foot-stomping grooves. It proves, once again, that the singer and songwriter defies being pigeonholed by any genre.


The new album's title, 'The Darkest Skies Are The Brightest', refers to the idea that, when facing personal challenges, we are forced to find answers to life's biggest questions. But, at this point in her near-three-decade-long music career, this solo album – and, crucially, the heartbreak that inspired it – was not something Anneke van Giersbergen ever anticipated writing.


In 2018, Anneke began working on new material for her metal band, VUUR. Although their debut album, 'In This Moment We Are Free - Cities', was met with a mixed reception, fans were warming up to their heavy, progressive sound. Therefore, a rapid follow-up album would surely establish Anneke's return to fronting a metal band. However, behind the scenes, these were troubled times.


Anneke shares, ”My belief in VUUR saw me spend all my savings on recording VUUR's debut album and taking the band on the road. After completing our first touring cycle, I realized that more VUUR would mean yet more, huge financial risks.”


To make matters worse, in 2018, her long-lasting marriage, which had always been wonderful, unexpectedly saw a storm approaching.

Anneke adds, “I instantly knew I needed to write music about fixing my life. This creative endeavour would be far too personal for a VUUR album. And it would also require solitude.”


With just her acoustic guitar and basic recording gear, Anneke retreated to a small house near the woods, just outside her hometown of Eindhoven. She let go of the pressures of what VUUR's future might be, and fell into the meditative process of writing a solo album. In 2019, work continued on the new songs. In 2020, Anneke asked her friend and producer, Gijs Coolen, to help finish the album.


The Japanese art of kintsugi has inspired Anneke to use a repaired heart as the album's symbol. Kintsugi teaches that bringing together the pieces of a broken object – with the use of a precious metal – adds value and uniqueness to it. And, instead of giving up on their marriage, Anneke and her husband decided to take the time to mend their bond. They now cherish the repaired heartbreak as something profoundly valuable.


Their journey through this personal storm, and the album that Anneke created in the eye of it, proves that the darkest skies truly are the brightest.


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