TWO of the world’s deadliest storms have barrelled through the Lofoten Islands, a wild archipelago high in the Norwegian Arctic.

Indeed, Edgar Allen Poe’s short story, A Descent into a Maelstrom, tells the tale of a man who survived his ship being drawn into the violent waters of a giant whirlpool in Lofoten Sound.

It is why Bugge Wesseltoft, one of the headliners of next month’s Ribble Valley International Jazz Festival, chose the island’s rugged beauty and the largest wooden church in Norway to record Everybody Loves Angels, his dazzling solo piano album

“Over the years,” he says, “nature has become an increasingly important source of inspiration for me.

“In this faraway place I experienced the feeling of being part of something much bigger and there was no place which could have felt more natural to do this work.

“The area is beautiful but also harsh, as life is there, and just as it was for my great-grandfather, who was born in Lofoten.

“To make a recording in the unbelievable Lofokatedralan (wooden church) brought all these things together for me.”

In his interpretations of songs by Lennon and McCartney (Let it Be), Cat Stevens (Morning has Broken), Jimi Hendrix (Angel) and Bruno Mars (Locked out of Heaven), Wesseltoft has a way of shaping the sounds of notes and chords.

“The title is a metaphor for the kind of weightless ease which the music conveys,” he explains.

“We are surrounded by a non-stop flow of virtual data, and ever more complex things govern people’s lives.

“It is a world in which the loudest often comes out on top.

“So, more than ever, people long for a place of sanctuary where they can just have the chance to slow down.”

Everybody Loves Angels is a universe away from Wesseltoft’s New Conception of Jazz album, first released 20 years ago.

A spitting cauldron of white noise, weaving Electronica and heavy grooves, it was not for the faint-hearted.

Even so, Wesseltoft needed precious time to establish himself as an international composer and producer.

“I could play the piano as a two-year-old, and when I was 16 I was in a punk band, but it shocked me to see people surviving off playing their own music in public,” added Bugge.

“That might sound a bit strange now, but I didn’t really believe that I could do that because I’m always searching for the perfect sound.

“I’m quite hard on myself in that respect, but when I decided to take the plunge and do it, at 20, then it all happened fairly quickly and I’ve played professionally since then.

“Norway is such a small country that I could almost shake hands with everybody now, but when I go to Germany and the UK, and people have picked up on my music, then that is extra special.”

He continued: “You need to keep your mind open, because if you live in a tunnel of jazz then you lose perspective of real life.

“However, jazz is at the centre of what I do and a very valuable and exceptional part of my life.”

Bugge Wesseltoft, Clitheroe Grand, Saturday, May 5. Details from 01200 421599 or