Kim Skovbye Biography
Kim Skovbye is a composer, songwriter and poet. He was born in 1955, and grew up in an artist´s environment in central Copenhagen.
Kim began to play guitar at an early age, he has grown into a multi instrumentalist that plays numerous instruments such as violin, bouzouki, mandolin, flutes, cello, keyboards and the celtic harp, that has become his chosen instrument.
In 1970 Kim began his professional career in the Danish group Utopia, and was an active member of the lively Copenhagen folkmusic environment, they had at the time, performing in the most popular clubs and venues.
In 1971 he formed a trio with the singer and performer Herman, together with the late harmonica virtuoso Egon Ågård. They performed in the walking streets and toured all over Denmark for several years. In 1978 they released the album ”The Road Out”, they broke up shortly after. However, 16 years later, in 1994, they met again and recorded the children’s album ”Circus Millipede”.
In the 80´s Kim travels frequently to Ireland, Wales and Brittany; the old Celtic countries. Here he finds a very vibrant musical tradition, that later has become a never ending source of inspiration. However, Kim does not play Celtic music, he says; ”The Celts are better at that”. He makes music in the Scandinavian tradition, where especially the light and the landscape help form the colour of his compositions.
Back home Kim is involved with drama and children`s theater. Besides this he works as a music and drama teacher. In 1986 he releases his first soloalbum, ”Shadowboxer”, that is a mixture of modern and traditional instruments. Kim also records the Danish rockalbum ” Eje Veje Væk Med Barsebaek”. Profits from this album support the newly established ”Next Stop Nevada” project.
In 1988 Kim was offered several filmprojects and these projects were the beginning of a close relationship with the syntheziser musician Klaus Schønning. The result of their partnership can be heard on the albums ”Scandinavia” and ”Heartland”, where Kim had the possibility of using his skills on a variety of unusual string instruments. Together with Klaus Schønning´s beautiful arrangements a very special musical universe is created. It sound stretches from the Middle Ages up to the visionary music of the present and reaches into the future.
Another two instrumental albums are released the following years, ”Aftermath”, that features the singer Annisette from Savage Rose and ”Wayfarer”, that is solely an acoustic album with two Celtic harps. On this album Kim plays with the German harpplayer Gabrielle Reger.
In 1994 he records the children’s album ”Ask and Riana”, that is a collaboration with Thorstein Thomsen, the author of children´s books. It is a musical drama based on an old Celtic tale, that includes singing, music and dialogue.
In 1998 the fairytale is re-released on CD.
In 1994 Kim begins working with Ida Kleeman. She was the lead singer of the famous Danish band ”Bifrost”.
In 1995 ”Mountains of Fire” is released. It is a single CD in support of children caught in the war in ex-Jugoslavia.
”Heart`s Friend” is the title of their next album, that is released in 1996.
In connection with ”Culture City 1996” in Copenhagen the duo is asked to write a new carneval song, this is presented at a big carneval party at The National Museum of Copenhagen. The title is ”I am
The Carneval” and the song is released on cassette and CD.
The harp is the instrument of fairytales and in 1997 Kim releases the CD ”Here and Back Again”. Being the subtitle of Tolkien`s book The Hobitt, the album is of course inspired by the book with the same title.
The music follows the plot in the book; Bilbo the Hobitt, who reluctantly sets out into the world together with the wizard Gandalf, the company of dwarfs, elves and trolls who all grow with the task.
In 1997, after 15 years of playing with different musical partners. Klaus Schønning, Peter Brander and Skovbye decide to form a trio ”The North”. The trio works together writing, composing, recording and producing. ”The North” begin as a hobby project, all the members were deeply involved in their own careers. After intensive demo recordings the trio is signed by Warner Music in 1998 and in 1999 they release the album ”The North”. The CD contains a number of songs and 3 instrumentals ones. A highlight for the band came soon after, they were chosen to perform at the official opening of the new bridge to Sweden. They played 107m over sea level, while acrobats were swinging in the wires of the bridge. Both the Swedish and Danish royal family took part in the offical opening.
The next couple of months the band held several concerts both in concert halls and in open air. One of the latter in one of the bigger parks in Copenhagen, was recorded and released as the bands second album ”The Fullmoon Concert”, which was a co-operation between Warner Music and The Danish National Radio. The concert was broadcasted live nationwide on The Danish National Radio. The album was released in the Autumn of year 2000.
Besides all the activities with ”The North”, Kim takes time off to record ”Eventide” – Lullabies for all ages. A project where Kim chooses to be in the quiet mood in a new project for a solo harp. It is an idea he has had for many years and it is the first album where he plays on his new special harp with metallic strings. The harp is made specially for him by Camac Harps in France. On this album stillnes and music melt together – a bridge between night and day. A large part of the music is composed in Pilion, Greece with the blue Aegean Sea as his only musical companion. The CD is released in April 2000.
”Songs do not stop
life just goes on
dreams may become clearer
and get wingspan”
With these notes on the cover, the duo Kleeman and Skovbye release the album ”White as Wide”, in 2001. The duo goes against the normal trend and records in Danish. In the months prior to the release Kim writes the music for the dance theater performance ”Blote” by Camilla Stage, insprired by the Nordic mytholygi.The Swedish nyckelharp virtuoso, Olov Johansson, plays with Kim Skovbye at these performances. The partnership is a happy one and Olov Johansson ends up playing on ”White as Wide” adding a refined Scandinavian tone to the music. The album is well received by the press and the radio.
The same year ”Heartland” is re-released, digitally remastered with a new cover, a new tracklisting and a new remix of the song ”Planisphere” featuring the fantastic voice of Cy Nicklin. In the meantime the album has been released in 25 countries, where the interest for Kim`s harpplaying is steadily growing.
Tolkien is in the signs of the times; there is a renewed interest for the album ” There and Back Again” from 1997. In the autumn of 2001 Kim once again enters into the universe of Tolkien and ”The Ring vol. 1” is released in November 2002. The album covers the first half of the trilogy ”Lord Of The Rings” and is a return to Skovbye`s more acoustic side filled with flutes, dulcimers, mandolins, bouzoukies and a variety of harps. Apart from Kim Skovbye himself, Klaus Schønning, Ida Kleeman, Olov Johansson and others appear on this album that receives 5 star reviews in the press.
Referring to his interest in Tolkien, Kim is interviewed by The Danish National radio, where he says: ” Tolkin is with his books the spokesman for the good in all people. It will always win over the dark powers we all possess. He gives us so many parts to play: Elves, Hobitts, Wizards etc. He inspires you to think differently and think big. I am a very happy man, if I in the same way with my music can inspire people and bring a little more magic into their lives”.
In November 2003 ”The Ring vol. 2” is published. At the same time the last film in the trilogy ”The King Returns” has its opening night. Kim is invited to perform at Tivoli’s concert hall where the opening takes place. The illuminated Tivoli gardens twinkle just like a fairy tale as the royal family together with the actors and the director Peter Jackson walk through Tivoli on this first night.
A few days prior to this event Kim could be seen on the national television where he performed for freezing Tolkien fans, some had camped in tents outside for up to a month to be the first to get tickets for the opening night. The show was sent 6 times due to the huge interest from the media. The interest for the music and its story is enormous and Kim is interviewed in the largest daily papers, telling about his visits to the Tolkien family and their accept of his music.
In January 2004 the journalist Erik Kramshøj from Denmarks National Radio makes a series of programmes about Kim and his musical career. Going back to the early seventies where Kim had his musical début at the concert hall of the national radio with his band called Utopia. The concert is played on air in its full length. In the Spring of 2004 an old wish comes true, Kim is asked to write the music for the first Danish produced Omnimax film together with ”The North”. The film is called ”On the Way to Mars”, the opening night is June 2004 at the Tycho Brahe Planetarium in Copenhagen.
The band performs surrounded by planets, moons and stars and receives a standing ovation from the board of directors and the audience. It is a happy reunion of a band that have not performed for 2 years. The film is a success and is on show for over a year. The music is available on www.the-north.dk www.the-north.dk, ”A suite for Mars” duration18 min. and is a ”must” for North fans. 2005 is a year of concerts for Kim. He plays in numerous churches giving moving musical performances based on his Tolkien production. During the year ”The North” perfom with the legendary rock group ”Procul Harum” at a fully packed concert hall.