"Lovely tone, relaxed breathing, great intonation, wonderful arrangement, nice voicings, musical rubato, ethereal yet personal."
"Svenska psalmer - Swedish Hymns" is a fresh and organic crossover album; the Christian message meets new harmonies and jazz improvisation, not to forget influences from the Swedish choir tradition.
Johanna Grüssner interprets the lyrics with her well-known articulation and jazz feel. Four of the hymns have been arranged for a cappella voice where Grüssner sings all voices. On the remaining nine hymns, she is accompanied by a trio led by pianist Mika Pohjola, who is also credited as the arranger of the album, with bassist Fernando Huergo and drummer Roberto Dani. As a whole this is an album of style and creativity, where the lyrics and message are given the attention they deserve. In spite of the vocal characteristics of the album, it is the arrangements which make these hymns exciting and creative.
Pohjola has earlier worked on several albums with Scandinavian themes as a prolific arranger : The Moomin Voices fairy-tale album was released with Grüssner in 2003, Scandinavian Yuletide Voices - Christmas album in 2005 and Nu blir sommar - Swedish Traditional Songs, another Pohjola-Grüssner duo cooperation, in 2006. Otherwise Pohjola's discography contains jazz albums with his several New York based groups, free improvisations, not to forget Tango albums and duo albums with several vocalists.