Kristina (Stina) Ulrika Nordenstam is (was) a Swedish singer, musician and song writer. Her early albums were light jazz, although some of her later work was more experimental. She collaborated with David Sylvian and Vangelis. She also worked in video direction and photography.
Much of her work is characterised by her ethereal vocals, she sings in English, however due to her strong Swedish accent, and the delivery the lyrics are often very hard to decipher. This however adds to the “little girlishness” charm of the recordings, and most of her albums are perfect for late evening listening, with the lights turned down low.
I first came across her work when I picked up a copy of her 1994 Album “And She Closed Her Eyes” and eventually collected all the albums up to her final release in 2004 “The World Is Saved”. In 1998 she released a covers album “People Are Strange” with the most original versions of Purple Rain and Sailing that you are ever likely to hear.
Stina was always an enigma. She almost never played live, and apparently would normally disguise herself for publicity and album cover photographs. A mystique grew up around her that no one really knew what she looked like or who she was.
She vanished completely from the scene in the middle of the last decade after working on a collaboration with a Danish group and some theatre music and the promise of a new album that never materialised.
What brings me to Stina now is this. I was tidying up internet bookmarks on my computer last night, and found a long disused link to a Stina Nordenstam fan forum. I must have belonged to it at some time in the distant past, though I cannot remember my user name or password. What amazed me, however, (and probably I shouldn’t have been amazed, because the world is full of loyal fans), but was that the forum is still active. There are several posts made in the last week, as a group of fans continue to keep the site alive, to muse on where she may be, to constantly scour the internet and the press for signs that Stina is still living somewhere, still working somewhere and even maybe working on that elusive new album.
It is a testament to their devotion, I suppose, that they have continued for so long, seven years since the last release, and particularly that they have continued without any encouragement from the woman herself, she seems to ignore attempts to contact her, and never communicates with this little surviving fan base. I’m sure that it is quite reasonable to assume that she herself has moved on, and that her recording career may well be a part of a past life that she feels is closed and THUS has no reason to retain any links with.
It reminds me very much of the traditional candle kept lit in the cottage window, a candle lit in memory of a departed loved one, and a candle burning to show, should they ever choose to venture home, the route to the door. I read this website, and listened to a few tracks from her debut “Memories of a Colour” album. She is a beautiful singer, and whatever she is doing now, if those people can keep the candle burning long enough I hope that one day she may respond.
So this is about my respect for these fans whether they are so devoted and so inspired by a particular artist, or, who knows, just so foolish and unwilling to move on that can keep a flame burning for so long. To be fair to them, I think most appear to realise it’s almost a lost cause, they can joke about themselves and their persistence, but still they remain there eternally hopeful.