sat 18/05/2024

Nordic music

Vossa Jazz 2024 review - Norwegian festival embraces William Parker’s spaciness, Karin Krog’s classicism and much more

“The name of this group is Mayan Space Station.” In spite of the billing as The William Parker Trio, their bassist – coolly introducing himself as “William Parker, bass” – is firm about the designation under which the three musicians on stage are...

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Albums of the Year 2023: Cécile McLorin Salvant - Mélusine

If Mélusine is encountered without knowing its background or themes it would still be remarkable. There is no need to know anything about what frames this journey through Chanson Française, electronica, jazz and show-tune sensibilities with lyrics...

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Music Reissues Weekly: Osmo Lindeman - Electronic Works

For Finnish composer Osmo Lindeman, the decision to pursue electronic music was made in 1968 during a visit to Poland. He had recently started using graphical notation for the scores of his compositions and was having problems getting conductors and...

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Hardanger Musikkfest 2023 review - fertility, folk music and the supernatural unite along Norway’s fjords

The cows are scattered across the mountains. Without scrambling up the slopes, the only way to summon them is to call. Unni Løvlid is beckoning them. Instead of standing outdoors she is in the medieval Ullensvang Church, in the Norwegian village of...

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Julie Byrne, Juni Habel, Kings Place review - finely tuned evening balancing dark with light

It’s probably an unconscious action. Sat on a stage-centre chair, Julie Byrne sings. The two acoustic guitars she plays for about half the set are beside her, on their racks. One hand is above the other, palms down. Each moves side-to-side in a...

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Album: Susanna - Baudelaire & Orchestra

After his death in 1867, it didn’t take long for Charles Baudelaire’s poems to be set to music. Composer Henri Duparc did so in 1870, but Claude Debussy’s late 1880s framing of five of the Symbolist pioneer’s verses confirmed this as more than a one...

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Album: Sigur Rós - ÁTTA

It’s easy to take Sigur Rós’s emotive force for granted. So ubiquitous has their 2005 “Hoppípolla” been on everything from talent shows to apocalyptic environmental collapse documentaries to lyrical scenes of birds in flight that it became the...

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theartsdesk in Denmark - celebrating Nielsen in high style

Eight years ago I was privileged to be in Denmark on the 150th anniversary of Carl Nielsen’s birth, experiencing for the first time live his masterly Saul and David. The return visit was too brief and unexpectedly fraught, including a complicated...

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theartsdesk Q&A: musician Susanne Sundfør - ‘Blómi is a message of hope for whoever might need it’

With the release this week of Blómi, her sixth studio album, Norway’s Susanne Sundfør discloses more about herself than she previously has through her music – but nothing is made obvious. As she says during this interview, the driving concept...

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Album: Susanne Sundfør - Blómi

From Icelandic, blómi translates as “bloom” or “flower”. Other song titles from the new album by Norway's Susanne Sundfør also look Icelandic. Actually, it’s Old Norse, which informs modern Icelandic. Although one track is recited in German the...

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theartsdesk on Vinyl 76: Elton John, Pharoah Sanders, Hellripper, Jah Wobble, T-Rex and more

There will be two theartsdesk on Vinyls this week. The first is here, an epic 11,000 words on a multitude of new releases in every genre, from reissues of classics to spanking new strangeness. There’s something for everyone. On Thursday we’ll have a...

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Vossa Jazz 2023 review: Norwegian festival’s 50th-anniversary edition keeps traditional music close

Two drummers are drumming. One held the beat on ABBA’s “Super Trouper”. He is Sweden’s Per Lindvall, more usually associated with jazz. The other is Norway’s Rune Arnesen, whose recording credits are also stylistically varied. Locked-in tight...

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