Intro to Conexions 2013 by Fiona Talkington
Thanks to the fantastic creativity and generosity of so many musicians, Conexions 2012 at Nasjonal Jazzscene was a memorable success. Collaborations between Norwegian and British musicians are nothing new, but somehow bringing them together under the conexions umbrella seems to have inspired
so much new music and given audiences both in Oslo and in the UK a deeper insight into different ways musicians work.
I will never forget the emotional reaction to the music based on the poems of Hans Børli written by Morten Qvenild for In the Country, BJ Cole and Fride Aanevik, nor the intense concentration of the audience seeing Sidsel Endresen and turntablist Philip Jeck performing together for the first time on the stage at Victoria. The poetry of Karl Seglem was born anew with the music of Christian Wallumrød and Garth Knox: “this isn’t jazz” said one reviewer “not folk, not classical, just good music”. The long-standing UK-Norwegian collaboration Food introduced us to Prakash Sontakke glorious voice and Spin Marvel gave us an opening party to remember with John Paul Jones in the line-up. And for those lucky enough to be at the Barbican in London in June last year, the sight of over a thousand people giving standing ovations to Jaga Jazzist, Britten Sinfonia and Christian Eggen was spine-tingling, as were the broad grins on the faces of the musicians. And the music will live on as CDs are planned of the concerts from Jaga and Britten Sinfonia, Spin Marvel and In The Country with BJ Cole and Fride Aanevik.
So it’s with great pleasure I’ve put together conexions 2013 which will run throughout the year from 26th January onwards. Later in the season we’ll be hearing from Stian Westerhus, Britten Sinfonia again, the trio Lord Kelvin and a weekend celebration of the piano which includes Ketil Bjørnstad, Helge Lien, and Django Bates, workshops and family events.
The opening concert on 26th January pays tribute to my close association with the Punkt Festival in Kristiansand with festival directors Jan Bang and Erik Honoré with Sidsel Endresen remixing the young London trio who were such a hit at last year’s Punkt; Three Trapped Tigers, joined for the first time by Ståle Storløkken. February showcases one of the most exciting young record labels around, UK based Editions Records who have strong links with Norwegian musicians. Audiences at Victoria and at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival will be able to hear musicians in brand new collaborations. March sees Thomas Strønen’s new UK/Norwegian ensemble with some pretty starry names. And in April we pay homage to great English literature with texts from the Bronte sisters set to music by Terje Johannesen and sung by Jaga Jazzist’s Line Horntveth and a band to include one of the UK’s most exciting young violinists Thomas Gould, whom you might have seen as leader of Britten Sinfonia. The concert at Victoria will also celebrate their CD release.
Without giving too many later surprises away just yet, June has in store a city-wide collaboration which has already been tried and tested in London, Tokyo and Singapore.
None of this could happen without the willingness and energy of so many people, musicians, audiences, the fabulous team at Nasjonal Jazzscene, partners in Norway including The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Music Norway, and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in London. And special thanks must go to Linda Skipnes Strand who worked so closely with me to set up Conexions and I’m sure you would want to join me in wishing her well as she leaves Nasjonal Jazzscene for her new job in Bodø.
Whether you’re in the UK or in Norway I wish you a great year of concert-going with Conexions.
The first four concerts of 2013, you´ll find here:
Saturday 26.th of January: Three Trapped Tigers & Ståle Storløkken
Thursday 28.th of February: Edition Quartet with Mats Eilertsen
Wednesday 20.th of March: Thomas Strønens Time is a blind Guide
Friday 12.th of April: Budding Rose
Click on this Soundcloud link, and hear an interesting and close talk between Marius Neset and Fiona Talkington.