OkWorld started out as a project initiated by Bugge Wesseltoft and Oslo World for the twentieth anniversary of the festival. The idea was for Wesseltoft to meet up with musicians from, among other places, India, Spain, Lebanon and Mozambique. They visited each others home countries, developed music along the way and performed the result at the opening concert of Oslo World that year. Luckily, that wasn’t the end of the story. When Jazzland now announces their new subsidiary label and celebrates it with a concert at Victoria this Oslo World, OkWorld has become a home for music without borders. A musical microcosm, consisting of such acts as Sanskriti Shresta Avatar, Harpreet Bansal band, Bendik Baksaas, Bugge and Adama Barry, to mention a few.
That Bugge Wesseltoft and his label Jazzland is at the centre of something like this is to be expected. Musical meetings are essential to Wesseltoft – the initial concept behind the OkWorld project was music as the original language – and the best tool we have for bridging cultural divides. Over the course of a long career, Bugge has thrived in the gaps between jazz and club music, he has combined sounds from different continents and ages. That kind of ambition permeates the artist roster of OkWorld, who this night will be able to present six new releases. We will hear sounds both ancient and modern, from all over the globe.
Avatar is a sextet helmed by the Oslo based Nepalese tabla virtuoso Sanskriti Shresta. Just like Harpreet Bansal Group, the music originates from a common interest between musicians from eastern traditional music and musicians from the contemporary improvisation scene. Avatar will release its début record at Oslo World.
Adama Barry grew up in Burkina Faso, belongs to the Fulani people and carries on their musical heritage with pride and love. The Fulani are one of Africas largest ethnic groups and spread from Mali to Sudan, all across the Sahara Belt. The music is a unique blend of impulses and largely influential from east to west on the African continent. Adama builds his own flute and string instruments.
The album "Lembi" features a set of original songs by Adama, performed by him and Solo Diarra (Djembe, Ballaphone). These 8 songs are then recontextualised and remade by an array of outstanding musicians and remixers, including Prins Thomas, Mental Overdrive, Henrik Schwarz, Sex Judas & Ricky Rerub, Bendik Baksaas and Bugge Wesseltoft.
Øyonn Groven Myhren · Bugge Wesseltoft · Anne Hytta · Anders Røine
The collaboration between Øyonn Groven Myhren and Bugge Wesseltoft has been ongoing for 20 years – with recordings together appearing here and there - but they have never before released a full album. The material for Nordjordet is recorded at Øyonn's grandfather Eivind Groven's organ house at Ekeberg in Oslo, together with the musicians Anne Hytta (fiddle) and Anders Røine on langeleik (Norwegian zither), jew’s harp and guitars.
Matonas Afdhal Group
"Afdhal is Arabic, and translates as «the best». It's the word Matona thought of after playing with this group for the first time. It´s pretty cool to get that label from a musician as inspiring as him."
Stian Andreas Egeland Andersen
The group, consisting of Mohamed Issa Haji (aka Matona) on vocals, oud, darbuka and many other instruments, and five Norwegians - Emilie Heldal Lidsheim (violin, viola, vocals), Harald Lassen (saxophone, tambourine, backing vocals), Martin Lie Svendsen (guitar, backing vocals), Stian Andreas Egeland Andersen (double bass, backing vocals) and Ivar Myrset Asheim (drums, percussion, backing vocals) plays traditional Taarab songs from Zanzibar, Tanzania, some instrumental music from Egypt, and even some Norwegian folk.
Carolina Katún | Teol
The first album by the Mexican-Swiss singer Carolina Katún "Al Silencio" is an ode to silence. The minimalist, crossover music is unified and highlighted by a great variety of vocal sounds, techniques and styles that revisit key songs from the Latino American songbook.
Available to buy from Bandcamp and your favourite retail outlets now.
In Bendik Baksaas's "Svein sviv", the melodies and inflections that embody a long tradition are embraced by modern music production. The voices of this rich tradition, given by mother and daughter Gunnlaug Lien Myhr and Helga Myhr, are given a new context, foregrounded in minimalist textures, washes, and drones, both synthesised and derived from electronic manipulation of environmental sounds and acoustic instruments (Hardanger fiddle, flute), as well as the voices themselves. The songs shine forth from this process of contextualisation, imbued with a new dramaturgy.
Majáz is a project consisting of Syrian musicians who came to Norway as refugees and started playing together there after their arrival. They have collaborated with the Norwegian artists Knut Reiersrud (guitar) and Håkon Kornstad (saxophone) in a project that has been documented by the film maker Lene Midling-Jenssen.
An album, "Skjønnhet Utenfra II", is forthcoming soon and the group will play at the Oslo World festival on November 1st.
With Samaya, her second Jazzland release, Harpreet Bansal brings creativity and passion, stylistic focus and intensity, and a mastery of multiple traditions and the perfect blending of them.
Featuring an expanded group, the original members of Bansal Trio are present (Vojtěch Procházka (harmonium) and Andreas Bratlie (table, percussion, voice), and are joined by Adrian Fiskum Myhr (bass) and Javid Afsari Rad (santur), as well as guest appearances by Nils-Olav Johansen (guitar, voice, percussion, samples) and Sanskriti Shrestha (table). The expanded sonic palette is an exciting change, but one that never overcrowds the music itself, instead affording luxurious variation, textures, and a fuller harmonic soundscape for the melodies and improvisations to travel.
Bafana Nhlapo is one of the emerging talents on the African music scene. He presents a modern expression of music that is funky, vibrant and above all spiritual. His music is limitless and free of boundaries, luring the attention of listeners from across the globe. Bridging the traditional wailing sounds of Southern Africa with contemporary music styles such as afro, funk, jazz and rock, combined with an energetic edge and presence on stage, Bafana will leave the listeners jaw-dropping and amazed.
Javid Afsari Rad Ensemble
The Javid Afsari Rad Ensemble is an exemplary group of musicians playing unique blends of Persian and Indian music, and Arabic and baroque music. Drawing inspiration from the poet Rumi, Javid Afsari Rad put together his Rumi Ensemble in 2007. This group have continued, but with the musical focus changing to encompass a wider milieu that includes more European traditions, and other poets providing inspiration. The music draws from many musical wells, creating new vocabularies, inflections and accents.
Jazzland Recordings presents Yūgen, an astonishing debut from Marthe Lea (sax, vocals, guitar) and Håkon Aase (violin, harmonium, percussion), and featuring special guest, Mats Eilertsen (bass).
The album traverses the boundaries of traditional folk, classical, and jazz, and is by turns deeply textural and highly melodic, creating an oxymoron for itself: rich minimalism. Drone, harmony, unison, counterpoint, microtonal variation: countless terms from the musical lexicon can be applied, yet not even in combination, never mind each alone, can begin to capture the music the duo (and sometimes trio) produces.
Batagraf is a stellar ensemble led by Jon Balke, creating percussive explorations and interrogations of words and moods. Previously described by Balke as a "private research forum" rather than a fixed "band", this has certainly proven to be the case, as the ensemble members have varied from one release to the next.
Percussion and language remain central, and in the Batagraf philosophy, they are the essential heart of human musical expression. Drawing on various cultural expressions of this idea, Batagraf produces a music that is clearly connected to a broad spectrum of human experience and imagination and expression, but has its own clearly defined identity.