Norwegian Voices

The mini-festival Norwegian Voices in London is the climax of a year that celebrates the Norwegian centenary of independence, exploring the rich vein of music that has emerged from this most surprising and individual of countries during the past 50 years

Supersilent (Foto: Ellen Ane Eggen)

Norwegian Voices is the climax of a year that celebrates the Norwegian centenary of independence, exploring the rich vein of music that has emerged from this most surprising and individual of countries during the past 50 years. The event’s roster is impressive and diverse: Arild Andersen, Ketil Bjørnstad, Mari Boine, Brazz Brothers, Sidsel Endresen, Arve Henriksen, Terje Isungset, Berit Opheim, Terje Rypdal, Karl Seglem, Thomas Strønen and Supersilent are set to perform on the 8th of December.

Norwegian Voices is staged at London’s Barbican Hall on Thursday 8 December from 7:30pm.

The concert takes its inspiration from Norway’s resonant sense of landscape and tradition – deeply rooted culture of folk music and evocative song, fused with a sophisticated and ground-breaking use of electronics and improvisation and a fascinating approach to the way that the human voice can encompass both acoustic and electronic sound. This is music that transcends familiar genres, and inspires musicians and audiences worldwide.

Norwegian Voices will be kaleidoscopic and dramatic, incorporating a specially commissioned visual backdrop, incorporating prepared images and live VJ-ing created by London-based film-makers Yeast.

Performers at Norwegian Voices:

Guitarist/composer Terje Rypdal’s career stretches back some five decades. A pivotal figure in a generation that also produced Jan Garbarek and Jon Christensen, his music uniquely spans the raw energy of rock, eerily spaced-out electronics and delicately-textured chamber and orchestral composition.

Rypdal will perform in duo with Sami singer Mari Boine, whose forthright and emotional voice evokes a centuries-old culture from the far North alongside an edgy, contemporary feel – one of Europe’s most individual singers.

Sidsel Endresen occupies a crucial space at the core of contemporary Norwegian vocalists, an improvisor and composer of real substance – she has been commissioned to create a new piece for multiple voices for this concert.

Supersilent are possibly the most influential and innovative creators of exploratory electronic sound on the planet, capable of creating the most minimal and abstract sounds as well as rocking out with washes of devastating noise and powerhouse rhythms that have influenced a whole movement of club moves and grooves. Supersilent include Helge Sten aka Deathprod, Jarle Vespestad, Ståle Storløkken and the extra-terrestrial voice and trumpet of Arve Henriksen.

The Brazz Brothers hail from the small island of Sula on the West coast of Norway, and come from a century-old tradition of brass and wind ensembles. Taking traditional music and jazz-inspired improvisation in equal measures, the Brothers will also lead an education project linked to 'Norwegian Voices'.

Saxophonist Karl Seglem has successfully managed to fuse improvisation with traditional Norwegian folk music as evidenced by his highly successful two last albums ‘Femstein’ and ‘Reik’. Seglem has carved out a niche of his own both as a performer, composer and director of the influential NORCD label. Recently, Seglem has toured Europe frequently, building up a loyal following through a number of well received appearances.

Ketil Bjørnstad is a major cultural icon in today’s Norway – composer, pianist, lyricist, author (most recently of an imagined autobiography of artist Edvard Munch). He plays here as leader of a new quartet including British saxophonist Andy Sheppard.

Other artists expected to participate include percussionist Terje Isungset, whose music incorporates elemental materials – wood and stone – derived from the Norwegian landscape; the duet of accordionist Stian Carstensen and percussionist Thomas Strønen; and the soaring voice of Berit Opheim.

The event is produced by Serious

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