Music was always present in Tove Jansson’s life and creative process. Tove devoted herself to the art of lyric writing already as a child, and she continued writing song lyrics throughout her life. With time, her repertoire grew extensively, consisting of love songs, songs devoted to nature and the sea, songs for friends, songs for the Moomin valley, vulgar songs, songs for theatre plays, and songs for herself to play on the island of Klovharun when the wind was whining and the accordion felt more appealing than the canvas.
Emma about how the project was born:
“Haven’t we already turned every stone on Tove Jansson’s island?”
In spring 2018, I set out to create a concert based on Tove Jansson’s lyrics when I realized that the material for the concert was surprisingly hard to find. The information was scattered and the sources not exactly reliable. The origin of a song was often described insufficiently and in different ways. I decided to look into it and, while creating my concert, set the record straight and make an overview. Later that spring, upon receiving one of Tove’s notebooks entitled “Revues and songs” and after studying the comprehensive contents, I realized that the premiere of the concert would have to be postponed.
For the last 18 months, besides working as an actress, I have been studying Tove Jansson’s song lyrics and the music in her life. I have been fortunate enough to have access to Tove’s home and studio in Ullanlinna in Helsinki and been able to go through the preserved material (of which there is quite a lot!). I have also had the opportunity to examine the archive of theatre manager Vivica Bandler, a close friend of Tove’s, browse through the music by Erna Tauro in the National Archives of Finland and go through the repertoires and documents of theatre plays at Lilla Teatern that Tove was a part of. I have called, emailed and met a whole bunch of helpful people all over the Nordics who have searched through letters in their attics, shared memories and sent me invaluable material by mail. I have read letter correspondences, diary notes, and written down all that has anything to do with the music in Tove’s life.
I was convinced that we already knew everything there was to know about Tove Jansson, that everything had been written down and analyzed, that every stone on her island had been turned, examined in both twilight and sunshine. Now I know better. One of the most beautiful stones may yet be washed ashore right where you step your foot. I look forward to showing it to you.
Are you in Japan? Don’t miss the Tove Jansson museum “Kokemus” in Moomin Valley located in the city of Hanno right outside Tokyo. Emma Klingenberg has produced and recorded two songs by Tove that are part of the exhibition. You can watch a video clip of the recording session at the bottom of this page.
Many interesting collaborations are coming shortly, so be sure to follow the project by liking Emma Klingenberg’s official Facebook page and be the first to get the latest news! You can also read more about the project on the Moomin Characters’ official homepage.
Welcome to a journey in the musical landscape of Tove Jansson!