Early February sees the launch of Conexions - a brand new concert series curated by Fiona Talkington that celebrates Norwegian & British musical partnerships with performances in both countries.

Conexions, a concert series conceived and curated by Fiona Talkington, perhaps best known as presenter of BBC Radio 3's music programme ‘Late Junction’, is a celebration of Norwegian & British musical partnerships that features brand new constellations alongside long-lasting existing ones.

-> Read Talkington's introduction to the Conexion series.

UK/Norwegian outfit Spin Marvel kick-starts the Conexions series with their Feb 4th gig at Oslo’s Victoria venue. The inaugural concert features some true high profile guest performers: Led Zeppelin legend John Paul Jones and trumpet icon Nils Petter Molvær.

The rest of the Conexions series features equally impressive partnerships: Sidsel Endresen & Philip Jeck, Christian Wallumrød & Garth Knox, In The Country with BJ Cole, Food with Eivind Aarset and Prakash Sontakke and last but not least Jaga Jazzist teaming up with Britten Sinfonia.

Some of the Conexions concerts pay tribute to long-standing work, some concerts put new partnerships together - listeners are welcome to them all to explore the many things Norwegian and British jazz enthusiasts share and also what makes them different, to have fun, to listen to great music and to make sure that the cultural alliance goes on for many years to come!

When she was asked to curate a series at Victoria Fiona immediately knew what she wanted to do – a celebration of some of the fantastic partnerships which already exist between Norwegian and British musicians, and to create some new ones. “People like Martin France and Iain Ballamy have been amazing at flying the British flag in Norway for years and deserve real appreciation for what they do”, says Fiona. “They’ve formed outstanding musical relationships in Spin Marvel and Food and are a real example of persistence and creativity”.

“Bringing Christian Wallumrød and Garth Knox together was one of those ideas you wake up with at 3 am – two brilliant musicians who had never met but whose individual careers take them into the world of contemporary classical, jazz, experimental and traditional. They first made music together in November 2011 for my BBC Radio show Late Junction and now they continue to develop the partnership in Oslo.”

“Like many people I was incredibly moved when there was the briefest of encounters between Sidsel Endresen and legendary British turntablist Philip Jeck at the Punkt Festival in Kristiansand in 2011, at David Sylvian’s installation. Neither had heard of the other before so I became a musical Cupid and invited them to get to know each other better in this series!”

“I’m very excited about bringing together In The Country and the great pedal steel guitarist BJ Cole. All the musicians have this real classical sensibility, with a jazz-like sense of adventure, mixed with enormous respect for fellow musicians and great humility and artistic generosity. After the gig in Oslo we’re taking them straight to London to play at the fabulous Pizza Express in Soho for a night hosted by one of our finest DJs Nick Luscombe”

“The series wouldn’t be complete without Food, the long-standing Anglo-Norwegian partnership which is now the duo of Iain Ballamy and Thomas Strønen. Together their creativity is boundless and their guests Eivind Aarset and an Indian Slide Guitarist I can’t wait to hear, Prakash Sontakke, promise beautiful and inspiring music.”

And if all this Anglo-Norwegian music making has whet your appetite for more, head to London’s Barbican on 16 June when Jaga Jazzist will perform with the the UK’s brilliant orchestra Britten Sinfonia. They’ll all get together in Oslo under the Conexions flag later in 2012 at Oslo’s Ultima Contemporary Music Festival.

In addition to the many musical encounters, Conexions also features a strong literary element; novelist Lars Saabye Christensen teams up with Spin Marvel to read excerpts from his award-winning novel ‘Beatles’, Karl Seglem – musician and lyricist reads his poems at the Christian Wallumrød/Garth Knox duo concert while celebrated novelist and journalist Frode Grytten teams up with In The Country and BJ Cole.

For the Conexions concert series, MIC Norway has created a comprehensive printed Listen to Norway magazine with artist interviews, background articles and much more. The main contents of the magazine, which features interviews written by Fiona, MIC staff as well as journalists from and The Guardian can be found below in the Conexions concert overview:

-> Read MIC's Listen to Norway Magazine - Conexion special in PDF

Conexions concert overview 2012:

Saturday 4 February, Victoria Nasjonal Jazzscene
Spin Marvel & guests including John Paul Jones, Nils Petter Molvær and Lars Saabye Christensen
Fiona Talkington talks to Martin France and Terje Evensen of Spin Marvel. Bios: John Paul Jones, Lars Saabye Christensen and Nils Petter Molvær.

Wednesday 29 February, Victoria, Oslo
Sidsel Endresen & Philip Jeck
Sidsel Endresen interview by MIC, and Philip Jeck profiled by Mike Harding of Touch Music.

Thursday 22 March, Victoria, Oslo
Christian Wallumrød & Garth Knox with poetry by Karl Seglem
Christian Wallumrød interviewed by MIC. Bios: Garth Knox, Karl Seglem

Wednesday 11 April, Victoria, Oslo
(Also at Pizza Express London Saturday 14 April)
In The Country with BJ Cole
The Guardian, The Independent, The Times & journalist Marcus O' Dair profiles In The Country. Bios: BJ Cole. and Frode Grytten

Thursday 3 May, Victoria, Oslo
(Also at the Bath International MusicFest in May)
Food with Eivind Aarset and Prakash Sontakke's Adriana Carcu talks to Thomas Strønen. Bios: Iain Ballamy, Eivind Aarset and Prakash Sontakke.

16 June, Barbican, London
(Also 15 September, at the Ultima Festival, Oslo)
Jaga Jazzist and Britten Sinfonia.
Martin Revheim on Jaga Jazzist. Bio: Britten Sinfonia.

10 July, LSO St Luke's, London
Christian Wallumrød & Garth Knox with poetry by Karl Seglem
Christian Wallumrød interviewed by MIC. Bios: Garth Knox, Karl Seglem

15 September, Rockefeller Music Hall, Oslo
(Ultima Festival)
Jaga Jazzist and Britten Sinfonia.
Martin Revheim on Jaga Jazzist. Bio: Britten Sinfonia.

Conexions is supported by Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is staged in a partnership between Nasjonal Jazzscene (Victoria), Ultima, MIC, the Norwegian Embassy in London and the British Embassy in Oslo.

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