Bel Canto (band)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bel Canto
Background information
OriginTromsø, Norway
GenresDream pop, synthpop, new-age
Years active1985–present
LabelsCrammed Discs
Nettwerk Records
IRS/MCA Records
Columbia/SME Records (France)
Dali/Chameleon/Elektra Records
Lava/Atlantic Records
EMI Records
MembersAnneli Drecker
Nils Johansen
Past membersGeir Jenssen

Bel Canto is a Norwegian music duo, originally a trio, fronted by vocalist Anneli Drecker, and signed originally to Crammed Discs.


Bel Canto was formed in 1985 in Tromsø by Geir Jenssen (synthesizer, programming), Nils Johansen (synthesizer, violin, bass guitar, guitar) and vocalist Anneli Drecker. Asked about the band's influences, Drecker mentioned Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), David Bowie, Kate Bush, Laurie Anderson, David Sylvian, Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO), Depeche Mode and the Blue Nile, among others.[1]

Bel Canto was one of the first Norwegian bands to sign a record contract abroad. The trio moved to Brussels in 1986 and had their debut album White-Out Conditions released by Crammed Discs the following year. After a second album, Birds of Passage (1990), Jenssen left the band for a solo career as Biosphere. The group had a commercial breakthrough with Shimmering, Warm and Bright in 1992, and won the Spellemannprisen award twice, in 1992 and 1996. Their style evolved over time from an ethereal dream pop sound to synth-based pop influenced by world music.[2]

The group's first two records were licensed to Nettwerk Records Records in Canada and its second album was licensed to IRS/MCA Records.

During the years from 1985 to 2009, Bel Canto occasionally took breaks in order for Anneli Drecker to pursue a solo career and to perform with other bands and artists, as well as performing in films and theater plays. Nils Johansen composed music for film and television as well as working and performing with his other band, Vajas.

In 2007 Bel Canto continued to work together, both by writing new material and by doing more gigs. At the same time, both Drecker and Johansen continued on other projects, Johansen with Vajas and Drecker on her solo work. Side-Line reported in March 2007 that Bel Canto would start work on a new album.[3]

On 6 February 2009, Side-Line reported about a planned double album package called Maskindans: Norsk synth 1980–1988 that was to be released on Hommage Records.[4] This release holds 158 minutes of music, 41 tracks, of which only one song was released on CD before. Included is also one previously unheard Bel Canto song, "Flowerbeds," which dates from 1988.

In 2017 Bel Canto performed at Øyafestivalen in Oslo, playing some of their careers best known songs in a near hour long set. In an interview Anneli Drecker said that the band was keen to do more live work and possibly record new songs.[5]




Year Single Peak chart positions Album
US Dance
1988 "Blank Sheets" White-Out Conditions
"White-Out Conditions"
1989 "Dreaming Girl" (CAN only)
1990 "Oskoreï" (FRA only) single only
"Birds Of Passage" Birds Of Passage
1991 "A Shoulder To The Wheel"
1992 "Shimmering, Warm & Bright" Shimmering, Warm & Bright
1996 "Rumour" 19 8 Magic Box
1998 "Images" (FRA only) Rush
2002 "Feels Like I'm Already Flying" (NOR only) Dorothy's Victory
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.

Drecker's solo albums[edit]

  • Tundra (2000)
  • Frolic (2005)
  • Rocks and Straws (2015)
  • Revelation For Personal Use (2017)


  1. ^ Elliot, R.W.; Elswick, J.R. (2003). "Bel Canto: Interview". Musical Discoveries. Retrieved 22 September 2023.
  2. ^ Bel Canto Store norske leksikon
  3. ^ "World-music project for Bel Canto musician and more". Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  4. ^ "Previously unreleased Bel Canto track to appear on Norwegian rarities double CD compilation 'Maskindans: Norsk synth 1980-1988'". Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  5. ^ Bel Canto live review and Anneli Drecker interview 16 August 2017
  6. ^ "Norwegian chart - Bel Canto". 30 December 2014.
  7. ^ "US Dance Club Play Chart - Bel Canto". Archived from the original on 29 December 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2014.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Recipient of the Pop Spellemannprisen
Succeeded by
Preceded by Recipient of the Pop Band Spellemannprisen
Succeeded by