Norwegian Christmas at Union Station has become an annual event where Washingtonians can enjoy some of the best musician, movies, and food from Norway throughout December. This year, the Royal Norwegian Embassy presents singer Sondre Lerche, pianist Håvard Gimse and trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær to the Americans.
As lights were lit on the Norwegian Christmas three, Sondre Lerche song a new song from his upcoming record in front of 500 attentive listeners at the railway station in Washington DC. This week, the young singer-songwriter from Bergen concluded his fifth (!) tour in the United States this year after rave reviews from American music press.
His debut album “Faces Down” was named the 6th best debut album last year, according to Rolling Stone, who declared that Lerche “is a Norwegian versed in cheeky folk rock - he coughs up enough charming melodies to make Thom Yorke crack a smile”. Music Box stated that "Norway’s finest musical export since A-ha is a young singer-songwriter named Sondre Lerche." Now, the 21-year-old is flying back to Bergen to work on his upcoming record, “Two Way Monologue”, due out in February 2004, according to his web site.
Reciting Geirr Tveitt and Jean Sibelius
Håvard Gimse amused a different, but equally engaged audience with recitals of compositions by Geirr Tveitt and Jean Sibelius at the Finnish Embassy on Wednesday. Gimse is one of Norway's leading international pianists, and has performed with major orchestras and at festivals throughout Europe, South America and the United States. His 1994 Lincoln Center debut earned a New York Times rave review. Gimse is the recipient of a number of Norwegian and international music awards including the prestigious Grieg Prize in 1996; the 1995 Steinway Prize in Berlin; and top honor in the famed European piano competition "Jugend Musizert" held in Frankfurt in 1987.
The gift of Khmer
The last musical Christmas gift from the Embassy is jazz trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær. His “Khmer” album spread his name world wide to experimental jazz fans. His follow up recordings of "Solid Ether" and "NP3" further challenge the boundaries between jazz and electronica. He and his band, consisting of DJ Strangefruit, turntables, Jan Bang, live sampling, Rune Arnesen, drums, Morten Qvenild, piano will perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington 11 December.