Like a whirling, many-armed Hindu goddess, multi-instrumentalist Theresa Andersson swirls among a dulcimer, drums, a violin, microphones and a dizzying array of electronic foot pedals in her New Orleans kitchen. Like a whirling, many-armed Hindu goddess, multi-instrumentalist Theresa Andersson swirls among a dulcimer, drums, a violin, microphones and a dizzying array of electronic foot pedals in her New Orleans kitchen. Barefoot and with a classical guitar strapped across her shoulder, the Swedish-born musician builds an intoxicating pop song, "Na Na Na," from the ground up, laying a drum foundation and buttressing her soaring backing vocals by plucking a bass line on the guitar, strumming chords on the guitar and the dulcimer and shingling the production with a beautiful voice. It is amazing.
Andersson's use of digital looping technology isn't on the vanguard - the coffee house set stumbled on it years ago. But the precision with which she uses the technology and the degree to which she layers it set her apart from other loopsters.
"At first it was challenging to figure out how to work the setup," Anderson admits. "I had to learn how to operate pedals with my feet while jumping from the drums to the dulcimer, the guitar and the violin - all this happening in real time while singing the song. In the beginning I would often lose my balance, but now it feels fluid and natural."
You can view Andersson performing "Na Na Na" on YouTube. Better yet, head to Vermilionville this Friday, Feb. 26 or the Sliman in New Iberia the next night, for a live performance as part of the Louisiana Crossroads concert series.
Andersson has performed and recorded with the royalty of New Orleans music including Dr. John, the Neville Brothers, Allen Toussaint and members of the Meters. Her latest album on Basin Street Records, Hummingbird, Go!, encapsulates her world of influences, including her childhood in Sweden.
And make no mistake: What Theresa Andersson does during live performances is completely live. One missed tap, one bad note, and a loop can become an oops. "The crowd are as excited as I am," she admits in her bio. "There is definitely that feeling of, Oh my God, is it all going to fall apart?'"