Two Norwegians will be contributing at this year’s Womex Conference Sessions: Lars Are Nedland and Gisle Johnsen. Nedland, aka Lazare, is best known as a member of the acclaimed avant-garde metal band Solefald. He has also been involved with several other Norwegian metal projects, as composer, instrumentalist, vocalist and not least producer.
At Womex he will make a presentation on how traditional folk music has been incorporated into Norwegian metal, and how this has contributed to the creation of a strong global brand. “The Norwegian model has created precedence”, says Nedland. “Now bands from different countries, with hugely diverse music traditions, are making use of the same formula; incorporating local musical traditions and creating innovative and exciting expressions”.
The experience from Norway is that metal has boosted interest in folk music, and produced a whole new base of recruitment for traditional music and culture as such. And conversely, metal has seen influx of people from the folk music establishment who also share the sense of common ground. The dynamic of mutual interest and recruitment has especially been a surprise to the traditional establishment, and this lesson is something of potentially great interest for other countries since traditional music is often struggling to address and recruit the younger generations.
Gisle Johnsen is a leading figure in the field of making music available as a pedagogical tool. His company, Grieg Music Education has developed systems for interactive musical education. At Womex he will give a presentation on how traditional musical expressions and recordings can be incorporated into the educational systems and into academia. “Womex has expressed interest in starting a Womex education program” relates Johnsen, “and we are starting up a collaboration which aims at giving traditional music a functional platform that makes it broadly accessible in terms of education and research.”