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|Genres||Dream pop, synthpop, new-age|
Columbia/SME Records (France)
|Past members||Geir Jenssen|
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
- White-Out Conditions (1987)
- Birds of Passage (1989)
- Shimmering, Warm and Bright (1992)
- Magic Box (1996)
- Rush (French release titled Images) (1998)
- Dorothy's Victory (2002)
- Retrospect - compilation album (2001)
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|1988||"Blank Sheets"||—||—||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|
|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
- Elliot, R.W.; Elswick, J.R. (2003). "Bel Canto: Interview". Musical Discoveries. Retrieved 22 September 2023.
- Bel Canto Store norske leksikon
- "World-music project for Bel Canto musician and more". Side-line.com. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
- "Previously unreleased Bel Canto track to appear on Norwegian rarities double CD compilation 'Maskindans: Norsk synth 1980-1988'". Side-line.com. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
- Bel Canto live review and Anneli Drecker interview Side-line.com 16 August 2017
- "Norwegian chart - Bel Canto". Norwegiancharts.com. 30 December 2014.
- "US Dance Club Play Chart - Bel Canto". Billboard.com. Archived from the original on 29 December 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2014.