Agnes Obel, born Agnes Caroline Thaarup Obel October 28, 1980, took up the piano at a very young age, honing her craft amidst the strains of Bartok and Chopin emanating from the fingers of her musician mother. She later drew inspiration from the work of Swedish jazz pianist Jan Johansson, and it was between those two worlds that her own sound began to emerge. Citing influences as diverse as PJ Harvey and Claude Debussy, and drawing comparisons to the likes Ane Brun, Eva Cassidy and Joni Mitchell.
Obel's 2010 debut, 'Philharmonics', was written (with the exception of a cover of John Cale's 'I Keep a Close Watch'), performed and produced by the artist herself. Pure, austere and remarkably poised, the pristine mix of instrumentals and atmospheric, melancholy balladry, was both a critical and commercial success, especially in her native Denmark, where the record went double Platinum. It became a quiet phenomenon, selling almost half a million copies to date.
'Philharmonics' received a Gold award in Holland, Platinum awards in Belgium and France, and went quintuple Platinum in her native state of Denmark, where Agnes won five Danish Music Awards (the Danish BRITS) in 2011.
Her second album, 'Aventine' was a chance for Obel to show how her music was going to evolve, and after its release her fans were more than satisfied. 'Aventine' consists mainly of piano, vocals (played and sung by Agnes Obel) and cello (Anne Müller also played on 'Philharmonics' and has been a member of the live band since 2009). Three tracks feature violin and viola by Mika Posen from Canadian band Timber Timbre. 'Pass Them By' features guitar by Robert Kondorossi, who also played on 'Philharmonics', and 'Fuel to Fire' introduces the Scottish harp (played by Gillian Fleetwood).