The high of every summer is seeing the playbill announced for music festivals, and realising that the place to be is your hometown. This year’s Olavsfestdagene outpaced expectations for festival-goers of all tastes, and it was no surprise when a duo of heavy hitters was to perform together with the Nidarosdomen cathedral as their backdrop. With the rising alt-pop star Aurora set to open for Karpe Diem, a hip-hop group beloved across generations, the stage was set for an electric performance in the late summer twilight of Trondheim. And what a show it was!
Aurora’s set was a perfect example of the performances she has become so well known for over the past year, stylish, intense, and alive. Like a whirling dervish, she commanded attention through fits and spins, her body travelling distances to match the rhythms of her spacious pop appraisals. Though many were undoubtedly seeing her for the first time, the young artist’s songs were venerated as hymnals echoed throughout the crowd.
It was no secret, however, which artist the crowd had come to see. Karpe Diem is revered for their deft fusions of pop rap anthems and politically shrewd hip-hop. Though a newcomer to the band, it was difficult for me to not want to immediately enlist as disciple their musical crusade. The crowd became one as the infamous frontmen Magdi and Chirag played marionette with the passions of the evening. The sky bowed as the crowd swayed, reverential before the two exceptional performers. For yours truly, it was a proper schooling. For anyone out there not yet anointed, in the words of the Notorious B.I.G., if you don’t know, now you know.
Hello everybody! I’m Kasia, a newcomer to the town, imported straight from Poland, starting a fantastic journey with The List as Deputy Editor from this month on (that’s me on the right above, wandering about the picturesque Historical Market outside Nidarosdomen). You will hear quite a lot from me during the following months so get ready and follow me in investigating what is going on in Trondheim. Being new to the town makes me super curious, how about you?
I arrived just in time to participate in Olavsfestdagene, which I started checking out with a classy concert in Vår Frue kirke of a Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen and a German singer Simin Tander. Elegant, warm and a little bit exotic – this musical trip turned out to be a perfect way of spending Sunday evening.
Yesterday’s performance of a comedian Ruben Gazki was a big change of scene for me. It was in Norwegian, which only made me laugh a couple of times less then the rest of the audience! Great presentation of a Norwegian humour in Ytre Kongsgård both for children and adults.
I’m excited to be here, and excited to be part of The List. I’m also looking forward to see the Patti Smith concert on Thursday (4pm and 8:30pm, sold out) and on How Like an Angel, an acrobatics show in Nidarosdomen on Tuesday and Friday 6:30pm, and also on Sunday 7pm and 11pm.
I have two small children at home, a house which needs renovating, and many jobs which need my attention. So Sunday is kind of sacred; the one day of the week which I spend some quality time with my family. Today’s coverage of Olavsfestdagane therefore takes a markedly family feel, but not to worry there is loads for all ages at the festival!
The pick of the bunch has to be the jousting tournament, a popular event which includes mock sword fights, jousting, and all sorts of challenges on horse back. It happens in the shadow of the medieval Nidaros cathedral, on the ‘Outer King’s Court’, with horse poo on the floor and jesters running riot, giving it an authentic feeling. Great for kids, bad news for apples! Here is a selection of photos from the day – the event is repeats tomorrow (Monday) at 3pm, highly recommended.
The wooden swords, incidentally, are available from the historic market, for a really good price of 70 NOK, subsequent parental regret included. Cash only.
What are you planning to see and do with your family at Olavsfestdagene this week? We have our eyes (and ears) on Shama Shama (Tuesday, 12 midday, Ytre Kongsgård) and ‘Meg og Kammeraten Min’ (Wednesday 2pm and 3.30pm, same location).
Olavsfestdagene continued tonight with a moving and memorable concert by the American folk singer and activist Joan Baez, in the imposing Nidaros Cathedral.
This beautiful voice has been charming crowds and leading protest songs for over 50 years, and the woman behind it has led a colourful and involved life. She is often referred to in her capacity as Bob Dylan’s ex-lover and one time collaborator, but Baez embodies much more of the American folk scene than her relationship with its chief protagonist. Indeed her set tonight was steeped in the tradition of coffee shop musicians sharing (and sometimes stealing) one another’s songs. She covered a whole range of old and new, including Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Anthony and the Johnsons, John Lennon…
Many of these songs never really had any owners anyway, a sentiment which suits Baez’s open heartedness and goodness in spirt. She spoke lovingly about the current refugees crisis and wove in some stories about her history in the protest movement. You would not believe she is 75, and when she played House of the Rising Sun, the years rolled back in the audience too.
Opportunities to take photos were pretty limited by the organisers, but here is a selection:
Last night I checked out Charta 77 at Byscenen, who have been playing for exactly as long as I have been alive. Reminded me of the Levellers, and a proper loyal following they brought with them too.
But to be honest I was there to see my mate’s band, Feet-Punk, who were supporting. These Kolvereid boys have been writing their own footnote on punk for nearly 15 years now, and I’ve been watching them for 11 of those. They’re infamous for their extremely short songs, which caused some consternation between me and the Byscenen security. Their policy is that you can only shoot for the first three songs, which is about a minute and half in Feet-Punk territory.
Anyway, you get what you get, and I also got some blurry shots backstage after, where we enjoyed a nice half cup of coffee, and shared 6 beers 😉
Last night’s Take 6 concert was moved to Vår Frue church, on account of the ongoing strikes at many of the hotels. But to be honest, we can’t think of a better location for this American acappella longstayers. Here are some shots from the experience – be sure to check whether what you are seeing tonight at jazzfest has been moved or not.
Personally I love the chance to see great music in unusual places – and the evening light creeping in through the church windows gave the whole concert a fresh feeling. So nice to go out without a jacket! Tonight, however, we recommend a concert at a classic venue, the home of jazz in Trondheim, Dokkhuset. Mats Eilertsen is one for all you jazz enthusiasts our there. The”‘Musicians’ musician” (7pm). He is accompanied by Trio Medieval, an ensemble from Voss who specialise in medieval and folk music. Trio Medieval will also be hosting a free workshop today, going on now!
There is a shedload going on this month; the start of an epic spring-summer for music in Trondheim. The wise man might be tempted to pace himself, but we never claimed to be wise. Instead we are readying ourselves for a week of world class music, night after night, with the return of Trondheim Jazzfest.
Trondheim’s very own international jazz festival has been around in one form or another since 1980 and now it’s back with a boom. The List spoke to Ernst Wiggo Sandbakk, Jazzfest’s general manager, with responsibility for the festival’s artistic content.
“Trondheim has a high international standing in the world of jazz, not least because of the success of Jazzlinja at NTNU (a programme which offers education in a creative jazz, started in 1979), which has delivered forerunners for new European jazz for decades.”
“We’re working on making Jazzfest an established destination, though we are quite different from other festivals in general. I think we have an excellent festival programme, because we have a large proportion of homegrown productions, as well as commissioned works and world premieres: collaborations playing together for the first time, etc.”
This year’s Jazzfest kicks off with what promises to be a spectacular performance with the three-time Grammy Award winning American jazz singer, Dee Dee Bridgewater, pictured above. Her glittering career has seen her share stages with greats such as Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon and Max Roach, but tonight it will Trondheim’s leading professional big band, Knut Lauritzen Big Band, who have that honour. We think it will hold up, but you will have to be there to experience it for yourself. Olavshallen from 8pm, some tickets still available.
Alternatively – or additionally, if you choose to ignore the pacing yourself advice – check out Karl Bjorå’ Aperture at Bar Moskus at 10pm.
The List will blogging daily throughout the festival, with photos and reviews from the day before, and tips for the good times still ahead. Like our Facebook or follow this blog to stay up-to-date. You can also heck out the website jazzfest.no for programme information, tickets and details about the conference, consisting of seminars, workshops, “artist talks” and a panel discussion.
What song were you singing when you got home last night? That’s what we want to know. Blood blood blood, blood and fire… that’s what I’m saying. Hear me now!
“Shut up!” screams my wife. “It’s a Monday night!”
Great privilege to witness and shoot the mighty Lee Scratch Perry at Brukbar/Blæst last night. Probably the busiest we have ever seen the club, and let’s not forget … it was a Monday night.
The legendary Jamaican producer and pioneer, accompanied by longterm associate The Mad Professor, pulverised the crowd with his dub and reggae machine. There was a wait for the 80-year old upsetter to take the stage, and you have to forgive us non-believers for suspecting that he might never arrive, whilst Mad Prof laid down the remixes (or should I say RIMIXes?!).
But then a suitcase appeared, a bunch of bananas, a glass of champagne and the lights went up. So did the lighters, on several occasions, but not in a Michael Jackson sort of way. And then Perry, adorned with mirrors, shaman-like bangles and red beard dye, took to the stage.
It was a visceral and eccentric performance, and there is nothing like an old dude strutting his stuff and having the time of his life. It gives you hope, pure unadulterated hedonistic hope, hope of a life lived to the full and happy future. Perry had plenty to say too – mostly about how cigarettes give you cancer. Though that was about the extent of the family-friendly content. I’m pretty sure everyone shared a favourite moment during the concert, but I aint gonna write about that now. Let’s just say it was an “I was there when..” sort of thing.
Lee Scratch Perry is the creative effort which helped unleash Bob Marley on an unsuspecting world. A humble songwriter for the likes of Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer and King Tubby, who has remained committed to experimenting with the musical form. In the 70s he started the infamous Black Art studios and collaborations with many of the greats followed – Max Romeo, The Congoes, the Abyssians , Delroy Wilson, The Heptones and even the Clash.
Perry later burnt down the Black Art Studios in ’84. Having witnessed last night I’d say it’s likely that many buildings he enters suffer similar fates. Blood blood blood, blood and fire… mercy lord!
The range of things to do in Trondheim is bigger than you would expect for a city of this size. With a population of 185,000, Trondheim is not a big city on a European scale. However, it is the third largest in Norway. The city was founded in 997 AD, and was called Nidaros until the Middle Ages. Trondheim was the capital of Norway from 1030 – 1217, and has played an important role in Norway’s history. If you are visiting Trondheim for a short time, or staying here long term and just want tips on what to do for the day, here are a few tips from the Tourist Information Office.
(photo above of Bryggene by Knut Aage Dahl)
Lademoen and Svartla’mon
Lademoen is a densely populated residential area east of the city centre. The buildings were originally workmen’s houses. Svartlamoen consists of old wooden buildings and is considered an ‘alternative’ area. This area is characterized by art, including a large outdoor wall painting by Håkon Bleken and Håkon Gullvåt, two of Norway’s best known artists (see our feature on Street Art, pages 24-27). Lademoen church is surrounded by a beautiful park, which is often frequented by the locals.
The Old Trondhjem Hospital founded in 1277 is the oldest social institution in Scandinavia. The surrounding area, Hospitalsløkkan, is characterized by old wooden houses and is mostly a residential area. Hospitalskirken (the hospital church) dates from 1705. It was Norway’s first octagonal wooden church.
The old alleys
The modern day street plan is the result of the Cicignon plan of 1681. Yet, some of the medieval streets – Veitene – survive as alleys snaking between the broad and straight main streets. Among the oldest alleys are Apotekerveita, St. Jørgensveita and Sommerveita. (See map page 62, start at Nidarosdomen: St. Jørgensveita runs between Bispegate and Erling Skakkes Gate).
Ilabekken the hidden road up to Bymarka
If you want a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, Bymarka is not far off. This huge nature reserve just west of the city centre is perfect for families, couples or lone hikers. Walk from the centre for about an hour passing by waterfalls and wooden stairways up to lake Theisendammen.
If you cross over the Old Town Bridge and through the “Portal of Joy”, you’ll arrive at Bakklandet. Known as Trondheim’s old town, Bakklandet’s street are lined with old, colourful and picturesque houses. Here you will find cafés, restaurants and local shops. You can also try the Trampe bicycle lift, the first one in the world of its kind.
Trondheim along the waterfront
If you are by bike, or by foot, the route downtown Trondheim is perfect for the whole family. If you start at Rockheim music museum at Brattøra you can enjoy the great view of the Trondheim Fjord, and Munkholmen Island. Continue to Skansen and Ila before heading down by the Nidelva and across to historic Bakklandet. There are great views of the old buildings, the Nidaros Cathedral and Kristiansten Fortress when you walk along the river.
If you want to feel the city life, you take a walk down the main pedestrian shopping street in Trondheim. Whether you want to shop, visit a café or listen to one of the many street musicians, this is the place to be. This is also the street you find the tourist information office.
This was a guest blog post by Monica Selnes, Tourist Info Manager at Visit Trondheim. For more inspirational tips and hidden gems pop in and see Monica and her team at Visit Trondheim’s visitor centre, Nordre gt 11. Trondheim. Tel: +47 73 80 76 60. visittrondheim.no