Just like last year, Norway is making itself heard at the UK’s Bath International Music Festival with artists such as Mari Boine, Hanne Hukkelberg, Tord Gustavsen Trio and Trio Mediaeval taking part.
Over the last 60 years the Bath International Music Festival has been host to many internationally acclaimed artists and has showcased many spectacular events. For 17 days in May the city’s many venues come alive with the sounds of classical music, international jazz, world and contemporary music, and free-to-the-public events. Like last year, a number of Norwegian artists will perform during the festival which has been sponsored by the Norwegian Embassy and Music Information Centre Norway.
Iain Ballamy & Stian Carstensen
Fri 25 May, 7.30pm
Writhlington School, Radstock
Come and hear this lively jazz duo perform their exciting genre-crossing repertoire.
Iain Ballamy saxophone
Stian Carstensen accordion
Two of Europe’s most creative and entertaining jazz musicians come together to create a magical world where Chopin writes sea shanties and 30’s jazz is twisted into break-neck Balkan dances. Captivating, witty and unforgettable.
In the Country & Hanne Hukkelberg
Sat 26 May, 2pm
A wonderful double bill of hauntingly beautiful Norwegian Jazz
In The Country:
Morten Qvenild piano
Roger Arntzen double bass
Pål Hausken drums
Over the past ten years, Norway has attracted the international jazz scene’s attention for its wealth of highly talented young musicians. Finding enticing new sounds through electronics and home-made instruments as well as orthodox ones, and drawing on the influence of folk, indie and pop, the current wave of young bands are finding huge success in the UK’s clubs. This double bill features two of the most exciting young groups emerging from Norway. In the Country is a superb piano trio led by composer Morten Qvenild who first came to fame with funky nu-jazz big band Jaga Jazzist. He’s gone on to create the brilliant Susanna and the Magical Orchestra and to be a key member of Solveig Slettahjell’s Slow Motion Quintet. In the Country refresh the traditional jazz piano trio with swaggering, youthful style.
Hanne Hukkelberg vocals
Kåre Vestrheim keyboard, accordion
Line Horntveth flute, vocals, glockenspiel
Eirik Øyen bass, guitar
Jonas Sjøvaig drums
Hanne Hukkelberg is a mesmerising singer whose kooky instrumentation – including bicycle spokes – and naïve voice belie a highly skilled talent. Her delicate heartrending voice has captured fans across the music scenes; leftfield electronica, indie and jazz. Together with her superb five piece band – on accordion, drums, keyboards and guitars – they produce absorbing and delightful performances.
'Hukkelberg’s soothing and emotive voice…threads into a universe that we defy you to label. Gloriously leftfield and strangely intimate.’ DJ Magazine
Stefano Bollani & Stian Carstensen
Sat 26 May, 5pm
A new collaboration between two stunning performers.
Stefano Bollani piano
Stian Carstensen accordion
Two stunning performers return to the Festival in a new collaboration. Pianist Bollani is an effortless, supremely classy player, with an innate love of performing that makes him a captivating live musician (think Harpo Marx meets Oscar Peterson!). He meets his match in Norwegian accordionist Stian Carstensen who treats his musical pyrotechnics as second nature and carries off his virtuosity with ironic, surreal humour.
Christian Wallumrød Ensemble
Sun 27 May, 12.00noon
Brooding evocative jazz from Norway.
Nils Økland Hardanger fiddle
Arve Henriksen trumpet
Christian Wallumrød piano
Per Oddvar Johansen drums
Comprising four of Norway’s finest contemporary musicians, Christian Wallumrød Ensemble harnesses the possibilities of acoustic musicians to create hypnotic performances. Wallumrød’s music conjures the brooding expanse of Norway’s dramatic landscape, using the evocative sound of Nils Økland’s Hardanger fiddle and the delicate but penetrating trumpet of Arve Henriksen. Wallumrød’s piano playing takes the phrasing and textures of classical music into a striking new world.
Mari Boine and her band & Kimmo Pohjonnen and Samuli Kosminen Kluster
Sun 27 May, 8pm
A fantastic double bill that fuses traditional Norwegian sounds with contemporary sounds and effects.
Mari Boine vocals
Georg Buljo guitar
Gunnar Augland drums
Carlos Qispe flute and samples
Svein Schultz electric bass
Ole Jørn trumpet
Peter Baden effects/sampler
A Norwegian singer of Sámi origins, Boine is a renowned figure amongst world, folk and jazz audiences. Her extraordinary, primal-sounding voice sits within a spacious jazz and rock influenced sextet. Drawing on the raw sound of the Sami joiku – a shamanic style of vocal expression – Boine’s music is hypnotic and colourful, portraying the harsh weather, open spaces and primordial setting of her homeland.
Kimmo Pohjonen accordion, vocals, electronics
Samuli Kosminen percussion, samples
Striking and vivid, this double bill features two of Scandinavia’s most flamboyant performers, opening with the explosively theatrical Finnish accordionist Kimmo Pohjonen’s Kluster. Fiery, exhilarating and completely individual, Pohjonen’s performances are unforgettable. Joined by percussionist and sampler Samuli Kosminen, the duo are known as adventurers in their respective fields and the partnership takes accordion music into new and unexplored territory. On stage, Kosminen reproduces samples of Pohjonen’s sound percussively by way of electronic drum pads which, combined with Pohjonen’s accordion, voice, live loops, effects and surround sound, create a unique maelstrom of multi-dimensional music unlike anything heard before.
Sun 27 May, 8pm
Christ Church, Julian Road
Come and hear this beautiful trio sing in the candlelit surroundings of Christ Church, Julian Road. Lumen de Lumine – Hymns to the Virgin
This gorgeous female vocal trio have stunned audiences in Scandinavia and the USA with their pure, evocative sound and balanced programmes. This performance of haunting 13th century motets and finely-crafted responses by Gavin Bryars and Sungji Hong, the young South Korean composer, will be performed by candlelight in the beautiful surroundings of Christ Church.
Tord Gustavsen Trio
Thurs 31 May, 7.30pm
Gentle, contemplative Norwegian jazz in the Assembly Rooms.
Tord Gustavsen piano
Harald Johnsen bass
Jarle Vespestad drums
From the hugely successful Norwegian scene, pianist Tord Gustavsen has carved his own unique sound with a group that ranks alongside E.S.T. and The Bad Plus at the forefront of today’s piano trios. The gentle, contemplative quality of his music reflects his Scandinavian origins, but the manner in which he has sought and located connections to early jazz – especially the blues, gospel, and the nexus of the Caribbean and New Orleans – is entirely his own. Drawing heavily on his church-going childhood, Gustavsen’s music can frequently carry the quiet hopefulness of a wordless hymn. Combining this elegiac quality with blues, jazz and Nordic folk influences has given the trio a large and loyal following worldwide. Highly accessible, intimate and poetic, Gustavsen captures the spirit of his personal approaches to jazz and delivers them with the poise of classical chamber music.