Some reviews of Sun & Rain
Lira magasin april 2013
With a number of albums behind them has Sofi Hellborg almost become veterans in its compartment. On the new album, one is struck anew by which a roll band gets up. The interaction is sublime and syncopations so well-oiled that it's easy to miss the details of the whole. A great dose of jazz can be heard on the new album, mainly of soloists but also part of the horn arrangements.
There are currently no remarks, the disc is full of sunny music of varying tempo and intensity. So if you have not become acquainted with Sophie before, Sun & Rain is a great introduction.
I often talk about the musician's touch, and the importance of just a good one confirmed by the "Sun & Rain". In Hellborg music it does not feels like the African elements are tacked as they sometimes do in other non-African musician who moves to an area like Hellborg´s. The lush rhythms and fresh melodies are a natural part of her songs. Hellborg also sings, but in contrast to the troubling plurality of Swedish jazz singers she is released from both the self-assertion and pretentious mannerisms. She is disarmingly unpretentious; focus is on the music and not on her own. To listen Sofi Hellborg is not being forced into a clinch with the artist's need to constantly prove their self-image and excellence. She has no such manners. I need hardly point out that it is refreshing!
Saxophonist and singer Sofi Hellborg, one of the few women in the industry, with her eighth cd done, is best so far.
That she lived in Paris, London and particularly in Cameroon, you do not doubt, after a few beats boiling pot with jazz and funk, sharply spiced with African music.
Singers and musicians with roots from Nigeria and Gambia naturally contributes to the sound. Sofi Hellborg Gang as the band called are playing some really fair mean solos. Sofi solos are probably the best thing I heard from her, a little rougher and freer.
Ystad Jazz festival 6 aug. 2011
Ystad Allehanda by Bengt Eriksson
To give 5 stars the band has to hold a world class standard. Tell me a band outside Africa that plays better afro than Sofi Hellborg Gang!! (5 stars to Sofi hellborg Gang!)
Some reviews of Drumming is calling
Orkester Journalen, Swedish jazz magazine; April, 2008
Drumming is calling is in many ways an album that keeps you longing for more. It is not exactly a jazz record, but it delivers enough jazz feel and fine improvisations by Sofi, mainly on the soprano saxophone, Ola Åkerman on the trombone and Ola Hedén on the piano (Cannot stop to play). Mats Ingvarsson delivers a fresh, heavily pumping bass line and the tightness of the band actually reminds me a little of Sonny Rollins and Cliff Anderson.
Swedish daily paper
April 9, 2008
No matter how much funk or jazz Sofi adds to her music, the African sound is always prominent. The rhythms are rough but soft – like they are in afrobeat. Although Sofi has been criticized for her weak voice, she insists on singing. Which is a good thing. Her small but distinctive voice makes the music even more personal. And she has never had such a tight and great sounding band.
the daily paper of Gothenburg
April 1, 2008
Once you get over Sofi Hellborg’s somewhat fragile voice (or is it in fact just the English language standing in her way?), you realize that she is actually one of Sweden’s main international artists. The music she creates! On her last album, Tony Allen and Swedish artist Timbuktu helped her out. This time she stands on her own two feet, backed up by her band, and she is more infallible and confident than ever. Afrofunk and jazz merge with Caribbean flavors and each and every song on the album is of the highest quality.
Lira Musiktidning, Swedish music magazine
May 10, 2008
Her current band is so tight and play so well together that I doubt there is a more swinging band in all of Sweden. With his importance, not only to African music, but to groove-based music in general, Fela Kuti is of course a key influence for Sofi Hellborg, but the music does not rest there. Because, even though the musical framework, without a doubt, is built on different kinds of African pop, she adds several other styles to the blend. The fact that there are no more than two horn players on most of the tracks is impressing – the horn arrangements are tight and viral all the way through. The rhythmical drive of base, drums, and percussion carries the music like an onrushing train. With a bunch of excellent songs and plenty of inspiring solos, especially from Sofi Hellborg’s saxophones, Drumming is calling is practically a consummate album.
Sofi Hellborg "To give is to get"
Groove Magazine – March 2006
By Gary Landström
This is how life should be. A musical journey with Sofi´s horn arrangements and intimate singing is a sacred experience. The record is like a smiling summer night at the end of a long and cold winter.
Sydsvenskan – March 2006, By Alexander Agrell
Sofi´s first record in 5 years sounds better than those in the past. Partly it is because of the king of afrobeat drumming, Tony Allen. He plays perfect cooking, nervy and boiling drums. Mr Allen plays on only four songs but the ordinary drummer Jean Francois Ludovicus is also a very good drummer. The proof of his skills is on the track "Jungle in my livingroom". Sofi writes effective riffs and melodies and her sax works nicely together with trombonist Ola Åkerman. Both of them understand how to play short, soulful solos. Sofi burns brightest in the above mentioned "Jungle in my livingroom".
Dagens Nyheter – 11/3 2006 , By Johannes Cornel
There are not many Swedish musicians who have as big experience of African music as Sofi Hellborg. She heads her band with natural self-assurance and warmth. The music is funk, jazz, afrobeat which lay emphasis on on dance and groove. At the same time she sends out a sensitivity that's completely honest. As a saxophone player she draws towards the funky side. As a singer she is weaker but on the other hand controls a way of singing that is typical African. The singing is an expression of the music and the band rather than of her own personality. And as such it is very convincing.
Rootsy.nu – May 2006
By Bengt Eriksson
After Fela Kuti and Tony Allen, Sofi Hellborg is the one who best preserves the afrobeat. Then it fits well that Tony Allen is a part of this album. Afro-rhythms, jazz and funk mixes and filtrates through Sofi. The result is a more warm and kind – should I say female – brand of Afro beat. Sofi plays humble, beautiful saxophone tones and her open attitude towards the music, the people and the world makes Sofi Hellborgs afromusic her own, special and good.
Concert in Sweden 18.08.98
Two talented women hornplayers in the frontline dominates the show.
Sofi Hellborg´s funky and danceable afropop is easy to take in because of its
positive energy, overwhelming the audience. And ofcourse because of this elastic heavy groove
that all of the six musicians controls in many different forms of variarities.
We discovered also what a soulful and pushy saxplayer Sofi is.
Sydsvenska Dagbladet Alexander Agrell
Concert in Sweden 12.08.96
Groovy, funny and good, Sofi
Kvällsposten Marlene Lövgren
Concert in Paris may. -99
It's live you have to listen to Sofi. On the peniche boat
the musicians laid out a carpet of rocky groovy sound,
and Sofi put her sensible, crispy voice and intensive saxophone on top.
Gränslöst Christer Carlbäck
Concert in Saint-Gilles, La Reunion 28.11.94
Born from the country far in the north,
the blond saxophonist has showed us with talent
that she vibrates of African rhythms. She hit us all!
Thierry Barra La Reunion
PRESS from first cd "TRAVEL AND SEE"
Svenska Dagbladet 23.03.93
Sofi hellborg 's first solo cd includes of course
Afromusic but Sofi´s modern afro sound which is as
much swedish as it is african.
But it doesn´t sound like any african music that I have heard before !
Each tone from her saxophone is a tone of solidarity...
Dagens Nyheter 02.04.93
On her own this swedish musician makes
uplifting pop music with african influences.
The rhythms and the words are aimed at the feet.
Nya Wermlands Tidningen 06.09.93
I have been waiting for Sofi´s solo Lp
since I heard her play with Mory Kante.
On this cd Sofi is better on saxophone than on vocals
But in overall I give it full marks
Press from second cd "Hey Now"
Cool groove with lots of warmth,
joyfulness in words and melodies
- this is Sofi´s second CD "Hey Now".
The music is characterised by a pureness that feels honest.
The band is tight and groovy.
It is exiting to hear odd instrument like the Thumb piano.
Sofi est une pleine de talent qui souffle le feu dans son alto,
chenu et sensuel. "Hey Now" est un album robuste,
plein d´énergie, Finement construit, baigné de vibrations africaines,
de funk et d´afro beat.Tout cool,t out groove. Exitant.
Funk Magazine dec.96
"Hey Now" reflète une culture musicale approndie,
loin des clichés acid jazz raccoler.
L´Afrique est l´âme de cette musique et lui a donné ses rondeurs rythmique.
Le swing naturel qui Sofi est son Gang a su utiliser avec grace sans lourdeur.
Press from third cd "Time Will Tell"
Dagens Nyheter 15.05.98
Natural like water running in the
river flows this third cd of
Sofi Hellborg "Time will Tell".
A mixed pot of afrofunk, a bit of Highlife
and some really nice drum´n´bass.
A swallow of happiness.
Orkester Jornalen sept..98
The record "Time will Tell" is a well produced
record with very competitive musicians.
She dare to be sensual, she plays beautifully.
Very warm music!
Helsingborgs Dagblad spring 98
The third production "Time will Tell"
and the strongest so far makes Sofi one
of the hottest player right now
in the category of women players.
Not one track resembles.
The groove of her is soft and unconvensual
and with inspiration from Africa gives the music a
From this she creates exiting stories
from one of her saxophones or her voice.