Sunniva Brynnel is an accordionist, vocalist and composer within jazz, improvised music and folk music. In 2017, she was awarded Albin Hagström Minnesfonds scholarship for accordionists through the Royal Academy in Stockholm.
Sunniva comes from a lineage of seven generations of female musicians, and her mother – a Swedish folk singer – is one of her major influences. She was born in Uddevalla on the Swedish west coast and started to play the piano at the age of 5. From the age of ten, she went to a primary school which had a special focus on music – especially choir singing. A large repertoire of Swedish christmas songs is most of all what remains with her from these years.
Aged 18, Sunniva studied world and pop music full time at Ljungskile FHSK, Sweden.
She then went on to study Irish/Gaelic singing and music at DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama in Dublin. Her vocal teacher at DIT was Seosaimhin Ni Bheaglaoich.
After a year spent in Dublin, she moved on to study jazz performance at Birka FHSK outside Östersund, Sweden. This year; living in the Swedish snowy midlands by beautiful lake Storsjön, and having both inspiring teachers as well as brilliant fellow students, made a big impact on Sunniva’s playing and composing.
At Birka FHSK, Sunniva met guitarist Calle Jönsson, who insisted that every folk pianist should also play the accordion. And sure enough – she got herself an accordion and never looked back.
To be able to immerse herself in both jazz and the music of the British Isles, Sunniva then went on to study a BA jazz at Leeds College of Music, England, with composition as her major subject. Within her degree at LCoM she composed everything from small sized ensemble works to big band pieces. Her teachers at LCoM were, amongst others Jamil Sheriff, Rob Mitchell, Russ Van Den Berg and Dave Kane.
While in the UK, Sunniva was also fortunate to study with accordionists such as Karen Tweed, Piero Tucci, Ian Lowthian and Murray Grainger.
Sunniva graduated from Leeds College of Music in July 2012 (BA Jazz 1st class honours). She also has a Swedish music teaching degree from Gothenburg University (2016).
She has shared the stage with amongst others Timo Alakotila, Neil Yates, Praful, Peruquois, Dave Douglas, Dónal Clancy and many others.
Sunniva is currently based in Boston, US, where she graduated with a Masters of Music in Contemporary Improvisation (Academic Honours) from The New England Conservatory in May 2018.
Her teachers at The New England Conservatory include: Ran Blake, Jason Moran, Jerry Bergonzi, Hankus Netsky, Dominique Eade and Frank Carlberg.
Her current musical projects include:
Sunniva Brynnel Group – jazz quartet based in Boston, US
Sunniva Brynnel & Timo Alakotila Duo – the duo released their debut album in July 2016.
Night Tree – folk sextet based in Boston, US (www.nighttreemusic.com)
Blå Dager – folk music quartet from the Swedish West Coast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qE3Fa1anRfg
Druids and Androids – Danish/Swedish/Czech sextet playing mantras, bhajans freely improvised trance/dance music, plant music and much more.
Blue Ejder – originals duo with Sunniva Brynnel & English guitarist Aubin Vanns
Wingård/Bäckman/Brynnel – Swedish folk group playing traditional music and originals: https://www.facebook.com/wingardbackmanbrynnel
Mareld –Swedish folk group playing traditional music and originals
Sunniva writes music for theatre and dance, past projects include:
What Transpires – contact improvisation dance work by Neige Christenson, Boston 2017
Kollisionskurs – by Ulf G Eriksson, Uddevalla January 2013 (theatre)
How I helped put an end to communism – The Lowry, Manchester, May 2012 (theatre)
The Crossing – Leeds, October 2010 (theatre)
Sunniva’s original music and recordings has been broadcast on for example Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Irish and American radio stations.