The trio found each other during their Bachelor’s and Master’s studies in traditional Swedish folk singing at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. During their studies, they came in contact with old recordings of folk songs from the USA and Georgia, among other places. Captivated by the fragility and power of the songs and fascinated by the different timbres of the recorded voices, they hit on the idea of devising a singing style enriched by material representing different traditions. This was the starting point for their work together as a team.
Plans were forged under the rooftops in Stockholm's Old Town, Gamla Stan, and the trio began to prepare their repertoire. After several hours of experimenting, playing and studying, the trio had developed their unique timbre.
What would they call themselves now? Many names were suggested, but on a stormy November evening, among glowing candles and empty teacups, the idea for the name occurred to them. The sound created when the three singers’ voices come together would be a new voice, called Vanja from the letters of the singers’ first names and Modigh, meaning breve in Swedish, as a key word for what they want to be when they sing and choose their performance pieces. When they sing together they are Vanja Modigh.
The trio's vision is to take advantage of each voice's unique tone and character, and to let each song have its own expression and timbre through an exploration of the potential and possibilities of the three voices. There are no limits to what songs and traditions the trio can tackle in the future.
The members of the vocal trio Vanja Modigh are:
Vilja-Louise is a singer of haunting vocal beauty. Her work is grounded in Swedish folk music and is enriched with her passion for international vocal styles. A captivating performer, both as a soloist and in various collaborations and projects, she freely crosses genres to embrace a diversity of musical forms.
During her Masters studies at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Vilja-Louise examined the expressive clarity that moves and touches her in certain performances and recordings. Her phrase ’Singing from the Source’ describes that quality: an unmasked, authentic style of interpretation which avoids staged mannerisms and lets the music flow through the true feeling in the moment.
Katarina Söderlund was born and lives in Stockholm. She was trained in traditional folk singing with a focus on Swedish folk music at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. Katarina has many years of experience performing solo as well as in various groups. Apart from being a singer with Vanja Modigh, she is also working with the duo "Söderlund & Gawell", the singer Eva Rune's Master’s project "Stormsvalan" and as an occasional member of the vocal trio Irmelin.
Anna Larsson is a singer and guitarist from Hammarö, Värmland. After studying at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, she now participates in various projects such as the vocal quartet Kongero, the jazz folk group Närproducerat, the folk music quartet Panna Mot Panna and the duo Duo Anna. She also teaches singing at Vocal Devotion in Stockholm.