The Broken Beats – preparing for St. Gallen.
The interest in Nordic music has been increasing steadily over the last years. Indeed people even refer to it as a Nordic wave, which in this millennium has secured significant footholds all over Europe as well as the rest of the world – on the album market as well as on the live stages.
The upcoming nordklang Festival in East Switzerland in the first Weekend of February 2007 will mark another milestone with 8-9 Nordic bands playing concerts at various venues in St Gallen. The bands include Hush (DK – alternative country), Høgni Lisberg (FO/GRO – singersongwriter), Spælimenninir (FO/DK/SE/US – folk), Lampshade (DK/SE – dreamy indierock), Afenginn (DK/FI – ”bastard-etno”) – and more to come. All in all the nordklang audience will have the chance to see some 30 nordic musicians during the festival.
Spælimenninir – multinational group.
The versatile line-up, which has been compiled by nordklang and ROSA – The Danish Rock Council in close collaboration, aims to offer the Swiss music audience a wide range of samples of the Nordic music scene and its many facets: rock, pop, folk, etc. as well as various hybrids.
nordklang has already made a name for themselves as a serious presenter of Nordic music in St. Gallen. First with ”Färöer Connection”, which began three years ago – presenting Faroese music – and drama. Lately, however, nordklang has expanded its scope to also include live concerts featuring bands from all over the Nordic countries thus organizing its first major nordklang live music event in St. Gallen in October this year.
Nordklang’s Felix van den Berg puts it this way, “Nordic music covers a wide spectrum and is incredibly rich in great details and nuances as well as distant cultures in the outskirts – from Sápmi to Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and Greenland. There is simply so much to offer…”
Lampshade – Danish/Swedish act.
The nordklang Festival is the first large-scale example of this. The festival is organized in collaboration with ROSA – The Danish Rock Council, which is behind The SPOT Festival – arguably the most significant festival of Nordic music. Each year SPOT, which takes place in Denmark’s second biggest city Aarhus, presents more than 100 Nordic bands and is followed closely by Danish and international media and can boast of massive music industry presence. Over the years, the SPOT Festival has helped pave the way for such acts as The Raveonettes, Junior Senior, Sigur Rós, and Mew to name just a few.
As In RebekkaMaria – cheeky electro pop
“Promoting Danish and Nordic music abroad is the very aim of ROSA and the SPOT Festival, so when we come across an organizer working outside the Nordic countries, and this organizer already makes a tremendous contribution when it comes to promoting the music we work with, it’s only natural for us to stretch out a hand and grasp the hand that this organizer is in fact offering to us”, says ROSA boss Gunnar Madsen.
Both nordklang and ROSA hope the nordklang Festival can become an annual event – and that in the foreseeable future the festival will be part of a larger cultural exchange, so that Swiss bands are going to appear on the Nordic Live stages.
THE PROGRAMME IN ST. GALLEN:
Fredag 2. februar:
20:00 Lampshade (St. Laurenzenkirche)
21.00 Hush (St. Laurenzenkirche)
Lørdag 3. februar:
19:45 Valravn (Drahtseilbahn)
19:45 Spelimenninir (Parfin de Siècle)
20:00 Høgni Lisberg (Splügeneck)
20:15 As In RebekkaMaria (Kellerbühne)
20:30 Afenginn (RestaurantNational zum Goldenen Lauen)
21:00 The Broken Beats (Drahtseilbahn)
21:15 Høgni Lisberg (Grabenhalle)
21:30 Valravn (Kellerbühne)
21:30 Hush (Splügeneck)
22:30 Lampshade (Grabenhalle)
00:15 The Broken Beats (Grabenhalle)
Søndag 4. februar:
10:30 Spelimænninir + Afenginn (St. Laurenzenkirche).
Valravn is a relatively new band, but the music harks all the way back to the dance floors of bygone ages – just like the instruments which range from the hurdy-gurdy to computer samples. At times Valravn can be vehement almost punk-like, at others delicately fragile and char
ming. No matter what, the skills are undeniable, a fact to which the audience for the band’s concert at Festate World Music Festival in Chiasso, June 2006 could testify: “An explosive stage presence” – to quote just one of the reviews.
The Broken Beats (DK/DE)
The Broken Beats have existed since 2001, but only after some busy and successful years in Germany with album releases and numerous gigs did they achieve a major breakthrough in their native Denmark in 2005. Front man of the band Kim Munck draws on the last 50 years’ music history when creating his original, melodious, personal songs. On stage the band is an irresistible, vibrant experience with equal shares of highly skilled folksy intensity and humour.
Hush arrives in Switzerland just as the band’s second album hits the streets, and if it is as great a success as the debut “A Lifetime”, Hush will face some busy months. That album spawned tremendous tour activity – Great Britain and the Irish Republic, North America, Holland, Scandinavia, and Italy. The music is in the borderland of country and alternative country and with Dorthe Gerlach’s vocals at the centre their songs simply melt your heart. Hush received the European Border Breaker Award at MIDEM in 2006
Lampshade plays contemplative indie rock: where dreamy moods – with Rebekkamaria’s girly vocals on top – are emphasized by powerful bursts and crescendos. The band was formed right after the millennium, and in 2003 Lampshade signed a contract with none other than Glitterhouse, which only increased the demand for the prolific live band, who can boast of having played 250 gigs in 12 countries so far. Recently, the band appeared on British music magazine MOJO’s tribute album to The Beatles’ “Revolver”.
Høgni Lisberg (FO/GRO)
Høgni Lisberg has a past as the drummer of the Faroese ethno rock band Clickhaze. However, on his own, he excels in the singer/songwriter genre with a penchant for heartfelt ballads as well as pop tunes, and songs with a definite rock attitude. So far he has released two solo albums with distinct Nordic melancholy, feelings of isolation, and longings for love as the dominant moods – Will Oldham and likeminded artists being obvious points of reference – but without the end result being just introverted gloom.
In Faroese “Spælimenninir” means “the folk musicians” and this international melting pot of a band plays cheerful folk which is best described as a hybrid of traditional and contemporary Scandinavian folk music with Celtic and North American elements played on “good, old” instruments with a pleasant wooden flavour. And plenty of fun. The band’s history spans over more than 20 years and eight albums, but they are far from ready for retirement. It’s all about jollity, happiness and plenty of sparkling musicianship.
Afenginn have their very own style, which they term mongrel ethno. And what’s that then? Well, take some untraditional rock instruments such as obo, violin, mandolin, not forgetting the six-foot contrabass clarinet. Stir with rock and Scandinavian and Eastern European folk music and Gypsy blood. Add to this some crazy breaks and not least a truckload of humour – mind-blowing. Two albums so far, and on stage they have even fewer constraints. Indeed, they are an experienced live band with more than 100 gigs in Scandinavia, the US, and Europe including St. Gallen in May 2006 at Gambrinus.
As In RebekkaMaria (DK/SE)
RebekkaMaria is best known as the singer of Danish/Swedish Lampshade, but as a solo artist she leaves behind the atmospheric noise rock in favour of cheeky electro pop and perky, rusty folk with references to Brigitte Bardot, Anthony and the Johnsons, Coco Rosie, The Knife, Cat Power, and Sufjan Stevens. In other words it is pop with a twist and with dance floor appeal. Live As In RebekkaMaria is made up of friends from Lampshade and Campsite.