“For years, I have been talking about writing a continuous piece of music with a beginning, a development and an end, in which vocals are a prominent feature and with a narrative sequence to bind it together. I planned to work with a lyricist and then set the text to music. But as soon as I sat down at the piano the songs just poured forth. Music and text just came to me. I simply gathered it all and wrote it down. It was an emotional experience. There were times when I didn’t dare to go near the piano, because as soon as I sat down time stopped and the hours just flew past.
In the end I had a vast amount of material, but no idea what it was all about. When I went through it to try and make some sense of it, I noticed there were three characters, three voices with three different personalities, hopes and weaknesses – Faith, Hope and Love. While they are all following the Path, each is closer or further away from their destination. The ultimate goal is to be close to God, to be true and to trust what their heart tells them, the difficulty of finding and then following the Inner Path, and infinite love; this is what The Inner Path is all about.
Malou Berg, autumn 1994
About the recording
It really could have started better. Everything was prepared well in advance. The sound engineer was booked in the autumn, and recording was to begin the following spring. The sound engineer had chosen and booked the studio. I had never seen it, unfortunately, as it turned out to be in a terrible state.
But let us take one thing at a time. The sound engineer received an offer he could not refuse, so he left the project, leaving me without a substitute.
The producer, Bosse Westman, and I had to get on the phone and start calling round. We rang and we rang and we rang in an attempt to synchronize people’s schedules so we could find a sound engineer who could record the soundtrack. It was very short notice, so everyone was of course already booked. After a great deal of persuasion, we managed to get technicians who could cover the first two days. Then we had no one.
When we arrived at the studio on the first day of recording, we were met by a muttering piano technician who was trying to mend the broken grand piano, so we had to wait. When we eventually entered the studio and tried to sort out the wobbly sound and the low-quality monitoring equipment, Anders Ekdahl turned to me and told me that we would not be able to use the piano for the recording. Anders is the kind of person I never hear complain about anything. When he says it will not work, it simply will not work. What should I do? There I was, without a technician in a studio booked for two weeks that we could not use, four musicians, a string quartet, soloists and a producer, just watching my money trickling through my fingers, and there was nothing I could do. Why I did not suffer a heart attack is still a mystery to me. Fortunately, Bosse was my producer. That man walks around with a sunbeam inside. He kept everyone happy. We phoned round to different studios, and in the end we managed to get hold of one that just happened to be free that day. After half a day had passed, we came to Polar and were able to begin recording. Polar was booked the next day, but OAL was not, so we could transfer there.
Bosse and I spent the evenings on the phone, looking for a technician for the next day and a studio to record in. The uncertainty of not knowing where we would be the following day and who would be recording was frustrating. I was, after all, a one woman record label, artist and composer/songwriter. I had to deal with everything. Working at Polar was a godsend, but an expensive one. We had access to knowledgeable, friendly staff, their calm and professionalism was balm to my somewhat tattered soul. On the third day we were back at Polar, and after that I did not want to go anywhere else, so we stayed. At Polar I met Bernard Löhr, the technician who was to assume responsibility for the recording of Den inre vägen. Now we could focus on the recording …
Producing Den inre vägen turned out to be much more expensive than I had planned, but at least I didn’t have to pay for the two weeks I had booked at the studio we were not able to use, I had after all booked it. It is to their credit that they waived the rent.
ON FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE
Faith represents trust, tranquillity of mind and security, but also righteousness. Faith has found the Path, and likes to talk about it a lot, but sometimes Faith forgets to follow the Path. When you do not walk the talk, your words become hollow and cold.
Hope represents longing and the search for answers, but also doubt and worry. Hope is more devoted to her quest than God. Her search is so intense that she is unable to find the answer that is closer to her than her own heart, because she is looking outside herself, and she has failed to open her ears to the serene little voice that resides deep inside her.
Love is the answer, it is God, Christ, the divine within each human being. Love is full of compassion for Faith and Hope, and through them to all. Love’s weakness, if you can call it a weakness, is that he is not complete without Faith and Hope. When they turn away from him, he grieves with them, rejoices with them, weeps with them. His love is so great that he shares everything with them. Love longs for them to turn to him so he can give them everything.
Öppna ditt hjärtas dörr (Open the Door to Your Heart)
Love’s greeting to us all, an invitation to sweep away all the debris that has accumulated in front of the door so it can be opened, and the treasures of the heart will be revealed.
Hör min bön (Hear My Prayer)
The choir sings a prayer that Hope has not yet formulated or that she cannot say. Hope’s sense of longing is strong, but she is not sure whether God is there for her, because in her roller coaster life he disappears when she suffers.
Se dig om (Look Around You)
Faith is full of confidence and trust, and she can see how close Hope has come. She is only a prayer away from the Answer.
Jag tror, längtar och vill (I Believe, I Long, I Desire)
Hope is struggling with the simple, fundamental questions, how do you listen to your heart? Which of all the voices inside is the right one?
To Faith, this is as easy as swimming for a person who knows how to swim, while to a person who cannot, it is nothing short of a miracle that the person who can swim does not sink like a stone. Hope twists and turns every question in search of the Truth.
Vila på en bädd av kärlek (Rest on a Bed of Love)
Love and Faith are singing about how wonderful it is to be near the divine, while Hope is only okay if she is cared for completely.
Du är hos mig (You Are With Me)
Faith is not afraid of hardship or adversity. She knows that she is looked after and protected.
Leva för dig (Living for You)
Hope is thrown between joy and despair, from incredible intimacy to exhilaration to abandonment and a sense of being a total failure. She asks for being filled with love (instead of asking for help to see the Light that offers strength and guidance in the darkest moments).
Stanna hos mig (Stay with Me)
Love answers Hope that things are not the way she thinks they are. He is always by her side even when she turns away. Hope can’t hear him. This shows a new aspect of Love.
Gud vill ge dig allt (God Wants to Give You Everything)
The choir are unable to restrain themselves. Away with all this doubt! They ask the fundamental question: Do you want it all?
Jag ropar på dig (I Am Calling You)
Love’s pain is that Hope does not hear him, that Faith does not listen to him. He, who is prepared to give them everything, is standing there with his gifts, longing for them to come to him. Because of Love’s immense love, he shares everything with them, even when they turn away. He cannot leave them; they are part of him. Until now Faith has seemed like the one who made it, the one who is full of trust and confidence. Love reveals another side of Faith.
Benådade ögonblick (Moments of Grace)
Oh, these golden, wonderful moments when we travel within the Light! But most of the time we are more or less far away. The problem is that we insist on pretending that we are surrounded by Light. Without its redeeming, loving influence life is lived from the outside in, instead of from the inside out. Perhaps all that which appears to be fulfilled and self-evident, as it is for Faith, is nothing but an empty façade.
Saliga (The Blessed)
Faith’s self-righteousness comes to the fore. But she is unaware of it. She is only happy to be among the saved, chosen people, a servant of the Lord, who will communicate the word of God among the heathens. And the elite that Faith claims to belong to presumes to know what God wants. Not only have they found and followed the Inner Path, they know which are the RIGHT steps to take and they walk at a STEADY pace! Faith mentions those who belong in Heaven (she is absolutely certain about who they are) and, naturally, she is one of them. But whom are Faith talking about? Do these people actually exist? Who are included among these chosen people?
Men jag då? (What About Me?)
Hope realizes that she is not among the chosen, so what happens to her? Is she not His child too? Would he shut her out? Now Hope calls from the bottom of her soul, “It cannot be so! Or is it so?” What IF it is so, what is left for Hope?
Himmelriket (The Kingdom of Heaven)
Love embraces all. Hope longs for the other side of Life, because this side is so hard for her. Faith, who has been upset by Hope’s despair, hears Love’s plea and repeats it thoughtfully. These words remind her about how simple it is to be close to God and listen to His voice. Everyone is equally wonderful there. No one is better or less worthy.
Hjälp mig! (Help Me!)
Hope breaks down. If Love is so certain he must help her! Love, who has remained at Hope’s side since time immemorial, who has supported her when the burden is too heavy, gives her the key, the words she has been waiting for.
Underbar i nåd (Wonderful Grace)
Joy blossoms and gratefulness take flight.
Hitta hem (Finding the Way Home)
Hope describes the miracle: When she finally reached out, hesitatingly and timidly, the other hand was already there. She realised that His hand had been waiting for a long, long time to take hers.
I ljus i mörker (In Light in Darkness)
Love speaks to Faith and Hope, and through them to us all. We have come full circle; the homecoming is secured. There is a Path, an inner Path that leads to Heaven. It is hard to find, and walking along it is not easy, but it is the only choice for those who have once been close. The Path begins in and leads through your heart. Open the door to your heart and follow Love along the Inner Path.
Slå hjärta slå (Beat My Heart, Beat)
Never stop in bitterness and barricade your heart. Leave the past behind, and allow hope and the joy of life to prevail.
Olle Persson – Kärlek (Love)
Malou Berg – Hopp (Hope)
Lena Maria Klingwall – Tro (Faith)
Anders Ekdahl, Grand piano
Lars Danielsson, contrabass
Johan Mannerstedt, percussion
Per Ekdahl, perkussion
Bo Westman, keyboards
Sacré Chouer, choir
Ingemar Braennstroem, dirigent
Leila Forstén, violin
Gunilla Markström, violin
AlmNils Ersson, viola
Per-Ola Claesson, cello
Arrangements: Anders Ekdahl
Choir arrangements: Malou Berg
Producer: Bo Westman
Sound technician: Bernard Löhr, Robert Wellerfors, Erik Olhester, Gunnar Silins
Recorded in Polar studio and studio OAL spring 1994
Master Mix at Polar studio. engineer Bernard Löhr
“Malou Berg has produced a real knockout.”
“The music and the vocals are beautiful … it is the work of an accomplished composer and lyricist.”
“Den inre vägen is a magnificent album that among other things features a choir and a string quartet.”
Norrländska Social Demokraten
“I have gone from indifferent, almost sceptical, to becoming deeply moved by the serenity of the vocals and the music. I felt warm inside … I had to give in!”
“I’m already looking forward to listening to this album again.”
“Sincerity and warmth. A wonderful experience.”
Uppsala Nya Tidning
“The Inner Path touches the soul.”
“Gripping and wonderful.”
“One important question I ask myself when encountering a monumental religious work such as this, is whether a hardened non-believer such as me can get anything out of it. There is no doubt that this is an important work among people of faith. What interests me is whether the quality of the music and its cultural bearing is strong enough for it to gain a wider audience.
After listening to the album, I succumb to its power. The strong conviction in combination with great skill has resulted in an overwhelming experience. Spiritual or not – this surging musical suite leaves no one unmoved.”
“Many of the songs are almost unbearably beautiful. As a hardened major consumer of music, I am both moved and amazed.
“Brilliant, soulful music.”
“Malou’s song lyrics speak more about the spiritual quest of ordinary people. You can take it in. You can see yourself in them.”
“I strongly recommend this album.”
“A wilful magnum opus.”
“The music and the lyrics are really very well matched.”
“I am overawed. I am happy to say so. And why shouldn’t I be? It is not often that a new CD with new sacred music makes such an impact.”
“First class all the way through! A precious album.”
“Malou Berg reflects a seeker’s path towards God.”
“Den inre vägen reflects a longing for faith, a longing that encounters problems along the way. How can you hear the voice of God? How can you get answers?”
“A new piece of music about humankind’s longing for God.”
“A piece of sacred music of great persuasion.”
“The soloists are brilliant, and the use of the, choir orchestra and string quartet is sophisticated.”
“A magnum opus.”
”It is beautiful. It is elegant.”
“Malou chronicles humankind’s search and longing in three parts: Faith, Hope and Love.”
“We need Den inre vägen at a time when many are looking for something that brings down the pace and offers comfort.”
“The music and vocals are of a very high standard.”
“This is something I would like to experience live!”
Den inre vägen received excellent reviews by all media, except one. Bergslagsposten hated it. We do not want to keep this monumental slashing from you, so here comes their complete review. Food for thought:
Bergslagsposten: Depressing album by Malou Berg
”About a week ago, a letter arrived at our desk. It turned out to contain a CD entitled Den inre vägen. Clearly a record with sacred music, and one asks oneself who would be interested in reading a review about this kind of music. I reluctantly listened to the album, with lyrics by Malou Berg, and I found it unbearably depressing.
Sure, the voices of the four people who recorded the album were beautiful, and Malou has certainly been one of our foremost gospel singers. The lyrics tell us, among other things, to open the door to our hearts and let god in, and everything will be just fine, and everyone who believes in god will be so very happy. I just got immensely depressed listening to the album. I almost wept, and for a moment I thought I was at a funeral where god was the guest of honour.
I can imagine recommending this album. So, those of you who are members of Livets Ord, Jehova’s Witnesses or some other cosy Christian sect, by all means, buy Den inre vägen. You will regret ever having been born on this godforsaken planet. Sorry Malou, your record is so bad that we will not even give it a single troll.