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Bubbles & Bones

Vera’s second album, Bubbles & Bones, will be released in September 2011. Bubbles & Bones succeeds her well-received 2009 debut, Leave a Line. The new album confidently reflects Vera’s personal growth in the two years following her debut, as a musician, a singer and a songwriter. This resulted in a collection of richly arranged and melodious songs that at times seem to dance like a floating soap bubble, but were never written without any reason or deeper meaning.

‘A soap bubble is not as simple as you would think at first glance. It contains water and air and shows all colors imaginable.’

Vera is 28 year old Vera Jessen Jührend from Rotterdam. Once she started singing and playing guitar at the tender age of 16, it wasn’t long before her first, very personal songs came to be. Three band members of the Rotterdam band Raskolnikov, who she met in 2003, stimulated her to further develop her skills as a songwriter, and to take those skills seriously. This trio, consisting of fellow singer/songwriter Mark Ritsema, classically trained bass player Peter Jessen and drummer Ron de Bruijn, soon afterwards joined her as her backing band. That is how Leave a Line was recorded, the album that could be considered a compilation of the best songs that Vera had written in these early years. Leave a Line does not only represent her learning curve (growing from adolescence into womanhood), but also her first, very educational, experience in the studio, to which producer Dirk Polak made an important contribution.

‘From a very early age I knew I wanted to go on stage with self written songs. For a long time I was afraid to actually be on stage, it felt safer not to.’

Many gigs followed after the release of Leave a Line, either with the band or as a duo with her now husband Peter. Vera immediately took up writing again, strikingly cheerful songs like Cruelest Judge, Your Call and Lullaby. On stage these songs stood out from the more introspective Leave a Line material. These songs found their way to Bubbles & Bones, alongside ballads like Lazy People and the title song, that are enriched with dreamy strings. Peter Jessen is responsible for the string arrangements that dominate the record, for instance sounding like gathering dark clouds over the darkest song of the album, the claustrophobical Locked Up. What makes this varied palette of songs even more extraordinary is the way Vera uses her warm and expressive voice to the fullest, working her way through many registers while expressing her stories.

‘I found my voice, and for the first time I am not afraid to use it. That may well be the biggest difference with Leave a Line’.

Bubbles & Bones was produced by the Utrecht based producer Erik Spanjers, who gave the album a transparent sound, averted from trends and with a lot of emphasis on Vera’s voice. During preproduction, Spanjers’ Utrecht studio burnt down which forced them to continue recording using mobile gear, at locations like theater studio Fort B Studios and Bonte Koe, the rehearsal space of experimental chamber orchestra the Rosa Ensemble. The band was joined by guest musicians like multi-instrumentalist Jan van Bijnen and pianist Roel Spanjers.

The title Bubbles & Bones originated in a poem by Amsterdam artist, writer and musician Dirk Polak, which was, in turn, inspired by a piece of art by Danish artist Martha Hjorth Jessen (who also happens to be Vera’s sister in law). The song Bubbles & Bones is a love song at its purest that reveals this new album’scredo:This balloon only can fly when given air.

‘If you want to develop anything, in love, in life and in music, you will have to fill your balloon with warmth and then let it go. You have to dare to let it rise above all other things.’


Leave a Line- debut album- 2009
Bubbles&Bones- Dying giraffe-2011