Nordic ensemble brings world sound
AN INTERNATIONAL act from the Faroe Islands is in Port Elizabeth this week, delighting audiences with its jazzy world music.
The Nordic ensemble, called Yggdrasil, will play at the North Meets South Jazz Concert at the Nelson Mandela University Conservatoire in Bird Street tomorrow at 7pm.
The newly formed Madiba Bay Jazz Orchestra, conducted by Gareth Williams, will open for Yggdrasil, which is based in the Faroe Islands halfway between Norway and Iceland.
Formed in 1981 by composer and pianist Kristian Blak, who also composes most of the material for the group, they have travelled the world spreading their style of music.
A cancelled festival in Grahamstown is Port Elizabeth’s gain as the group decided to go ahead with their trip to South Africa and see what opportunities to share their music might materialise.
Musicians who have been part of the ensemble, either long-term or in a particular project, have varied musical backgrounds, mainly in jazz, but also in ethnic, folk, rock and classical music.
Over the years many musicians and artists have contributed to Yggdrasil’s projects, which include visual art, poetry, ballet, opera and concertos in grottoes.
Part of the Yggdrasil concept is that the personality of each individual member of the ensemble be heard or seen and this makes its sound unique.
Most Yggdrasil compositions are created in collaboration with other forms of art or, in some cases, with nature, which is apt as in Norse mythology, Yggdrasil is the World Tree. The branches of the mighty ash reach up above the heavens, and its three roots descend deep into the underworld.
In the very top of Yggdrasil sits the wise eagle, keeping watch. The three Norns water and nurture the tree each day, while the great serpent Niðhøgg, together with a host of lesser snakes, gnaws at its root. Thus the tree is in a state of cosmic equilibrium, constantly threatened and devoured as it grows.
Yggdrasil has released more than 20 albums and toured throughout the world from Iceland to Australia, Bolivia to Canada and throughout Europe.
Tickets are R100, on sale at the door. Inquiries: