I met German pianist Malte Brede during my stay in the West Fjords. He had visited Iceland as part of his masters degree and was interested in learning about Icelandic folk songs. We would practice together during the evenings, memorising and adapting these folk songs to fit into a ‘jazz standard’ setting. The songs leant themselves to this form of adaptation as they are mainly monotonic motifs which follow complex time signatures. We enjoyed playing around with different chord progressions and, in some instances, changing the tempo at which the tunes were played. We would use these motifs as main sections or ‘heads’ whilst taking the opportunity to base improvisations around the melodic and rhythmical style.
It was a way for us both to discover more about the nature and history of Icelandic music whilst attempting to contextualise our own practice within a contemporary musical framework.
This practice carried through to Reykjavik and slowly we began to gather enough material for a concert. Throughout rehearsals we had expressed the need for a percussionist and a bass player and it was only the day before the concert that we asked percussionist Freddie Ostwald Nice and double bass player Birgir Steinn Theodorsson to join. We made an effort to record the concert by inviting a film maker and by hosting it in the Academy’s live room where we were able to record the audio to a high quality.
The audience were mostly made up of our friends from the language course as well as a few lecturers and fellow students. I was pleased by this turn out as it not only offered us the chance to say a farewell to our friends but also to give our foreign interpretation of Icelandic folk music to the native students and teachers.
released August 1, 2013
Freddie Ostwald Nice - Percussion
Birgir Steinn Theodorsson - Double Bass
Mixed and Mastered by - Wilfred 'Competition' Petherbridge
This album was recorded live in December 2013 at the Listaháskóli Íslands (Icelandic Academy of The Arts) in Reykjavik, Iceland.
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