Scotland and Norway share an ocean, share a spirit of adventure and share a passion for their heritage.
And in a series of remarkable one-off nights in Aberdeen, the best grassroots talent from both nations are to come together on the same stage for an unforgettable melding of the musical souls of two great nations.
Aberdeen Performing Arts (APA) is committed to developing local and international musical collaborations and their Northern Arc sessions team up the best of our home-grown talent with the best from across the Northern hemisphere in exclusive Music Hall concerts.
Celebrating the Nordic soul which links the northern nationalities, the one-off events also promote positive integration of diversity through art and culture.
For the series is not just about music – and the pre-show events in the Music Hall café includes presentations about Norwegian traditions, artists and links between Scotland and Norway.
They will bring together Norwegian artist Ingeborg P Bodzioch, photographer and musician David Officer who has met with the Norwegian Royal Family and Aberdeen University professors in informal talks about Norwegian poetry, music and traditions.
And the explosive new series begins this year with an exclusive pairing of Scotland’s beloved own singer-songwriter Karine Polwart and Norwegian folk star Sigrid Moldestad on Saturday, February 7.
APA Northern Arc producer Susan Whyte explains: “Northern Arc reflects the strong cultural links between Scotland and Norway and all the musicians chosen to share the bill (by the Scots) in this series are Norwegian musicians, all of them bringing something different to the stage.
“Karine and Sigrid signify what the Northern Arc Sessions are all about – a loving respect for the folk traditions of their respective nations, but with a newness and dynamism which brings fresh contemporary relevance.”
Described as one of the finest singer-songwriters in Britain, Karine is known for her talent for creating unique and enduring melodies and for her achingly pure vocal ability.
Sigrid was Norwegian Folk Musician of the Year in 2010 and her songs, fiddle tunes and storytelling are full of humour and beauty.
Karine says of Sigrid: “She is a beautiful singer and fiddler - around the same age as me and occupying a similar place on the Norwegian music scene as I do here at home in Scotland, combining contemporary and original elements with traditional influences also.
“What sparked me to collaborate with her for this one-off Aberdeen show is her recordings of Robert Burns songs translated into Norwegian by Johannes Gjerdåker.
“Apart from the happy and convenient fact that we seem to sing in all the same keys, this shared Burns repertoire in Norwegian, Scots and English just seems a gift of an opportunity to make something sympathetic and meaningful together. I'm looking forward to it.”
The second in the series – on Friday, April 3 – brings together the Karen Matheson Band with the Erlend Viken Trio.
A Gaelic singer whose voice is known the world over, Karen and her band will join the Norwegian trio in exploring new approaches to the medium of Gaelic and traditional song with the influence of the Norwegian hardanger fiddle, interested in folk/old-time music/Norwegian desert blues, as played by Erlend.
‘’I am so thrilled to be performing with the Erlend Viken Trio as part of the Northern Arc sessions,” says Karen. “I have always wanted to combine traditional and Gaelic song with the haunting and unique sound of the far north with the hardanger fiddle as played by Erlend.
“Along with the special musical colours created by Juhani on guitar and Jonas on cello I’m excited about the potential sounds and musicianship they will create in the eternal quest to present traditional songs in a new light.
“Over the years I’ve had the good fortune to tour Scandinavia and experience beautiful music and so it will be a dream come true to work with Erlend and the trio in this one-off concert in Aberdeen.”
In the third concert of the series, on Saturday, June 27, modern folk music’s most innovative band Lau - brilliant musicians, thrilling performers and free-thinking visionaries – have chosen the stunning Norwegian trio Valkyrien Allstars, led by the incomparable singer / fiddler Tuva Livsdatter Syvertsen to join them onstage at the Music Hall.
They will bring their uniquely interpreted blend of folk and rock to what is sure to be an explosive evening.
On all three nights, the Music Hall bar will be open for an hour of post-show drinks to give concert-goers the chance to meet the artists and informal networking.
Tickets for the concerts are available online at www.aberdeenperformingarts.com, by phone at 01224 641122 and at Aberdeen Box Office at the Music Hall and His Majesty's Theatre.