Vek, a new project featuring three central Norwegian folk/jazz performers Håkon Høgemo, Nils Økland and Karl Seglem as well as Englishman Mike Adcock are set to make their UK debut next week.
Vek (pronounced vehk) is a Norwegian dialect word meaning a short musical phrase. Vek now also refers to a four-piece group comprising three Norwegians and one Englishman: Håkon Høgemo (Hardanger fiddle), Nils Økland (Hardanger fiddle), Karl Seglem (tenor sax and goat-horn) and Mike Adcock (piano and accordion), who are coming to London for a gig at The Spitz as well as performances in Cardiff, Southampton and Weston-super-mare.
All have a background in combining the influence of traditional music with more contemporary approaches to improvisation and composition and have, in different combinations, worked together in the past. Their first appearance as four-piece came at the Måren Festival in the west of Norway in August 2005.
Håkon Høgemo and Nils Økland are unquestionably two of Norway’s finest exponents of the Hardanger fiddle and between them have probably done more than anybody to push the frontiers of what is musically possible with the instrument. Høgemo has twice won the national competition on his instrument, producing two solo CDs of traditional material. Not content to keep within the confines the tradition, he has worked for several years in the successful and extraordinary trio Utla alongside percussionist Terje Isungset and Karl Seglem. Nils Økland is widely acclaimed as a renewer of traditional folk music who is also known for building bridges to classical and contemporary music. Unlike many fiddlers he writes much of his own music and is also an accomplished improviser with many recordings and international appearances to his credit. Karl Seglem is one of Norway’s foremost saxophonists as well as being one of the country’s only serious exponents of the traditional instrument known as bukkehorn or goat-horn, releasing several albums under his own name and with others. In his own compositions he explores the border between folk music, world music, free improvisation and jazz. Mike Adcock is a composer and musician whose music draws on a number of sources. Equally at home playing blues (he plays regularly with top UK blues/swing band The Cadillac Kings), traditional music or improvising freely on piano and accordion, much of his own compositional work has been influenced by Norwegian music and this is the latest in a number of collaborations with Norwegian musicians.
The music of Vek includes traditional material, original compositions and improvisation. At times it is hauntingly spatial, finely honed and minimalist, whilst in other pieces the players produce a densely layered web of sound, with melodies, counter-melodies and rhythmic phrases all interweaving, creating music with its own powerful beauty.