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Mousaka making at the Greek Cookery Class

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The Dutch have gone crazy…. erm Swedish I mean

As I was talking earlier today with another fellow journalist in Holland, we got sidetracked in our conversation. After having discussed work, courses for improving our work and general how do you do phrases it was time to turn to food and a marketing ploy used to sell Swedish food…

Ikea sells them, we’re told all the Swedes eat them all the time, breakfast, lunch, dinner. Now the Dutch, trying to be inventive, have started spelling the meatballs with the Swedish letter å. The word as seen in the picture doesn’t exist as a word in either the Swedish or the Dutch language, but the Dutch decided to give their word for meatballs a Swedish look. 

Köttbullar is the Swedish word for meatballs, regardless of the words on the box, this is a big seller in Holland too now!

Thank you Franka for this Swedish related story from your part of the world.

Elisavet

Weddings, double decker buses and diversions in London

Last week had a lot of concerts and work relating to music features and writings. But as I’m out and about I sometimes get to see the most funny, unexpected things around town. 

As I don’t walk around with a camera, only a mobile phone with a simple camera I get to take some photos to remind me of what I’ve seen. bus to Cairo straight from London city

So I wanted to post a couple of last weeks findings, a hop-on-hop-of bus to Cairo…. and a traffic diversion leading into another wedding bus…traffic diverted into wedding bus

 

© Copyright Elisavet Sotiriadou, May 2008

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

There have been more concerts lately and you can read my musical experiences and reviews in a couple of places. Here follows a list: 

Tobias Fröberg and Ane Brun and Lisa Ekdahl’s concert at the Bush Hall is found on: www.myspace.com/elisavet_radio

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ Raising Sand concert at the Wembley Arena on: http://froots.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=3552

Enjoy the read

Elisavet

Swedish Outsiders – How do you listen to music?

Last weekend, the ICA had a very narrow Swedish music festival featuring some unknown music to me, but the fans were present, and the event called Swedish Outsiders was sold out. I’d personally call it art rather than music, which in my definition has to provide me with some rhythm or melody, something I can hang on to for a little while, memorize and sing or hum back to myself. Swedish Outsiders made me think a lot about how we listen to music, and since I have had a love for radio and sound since a kid, it reminded me of the pleasure you can get by listening to sounds, especially the ones that you don’t notice and yet they contribute to that wholeness of the piece of melody you end up liking.

At the same time I started thinking of what people put themselves through in the name of art, both creators and the listeners or viewers. This was a very experimental festival where you got to experience sounds and films during the course of two days. I was amazed to see there is an audience which craves these uninhibited noise compositions, which could have been made by just anyone. Obviously, you need to be very talented to play the drums like Roger Turner and the saxophone like Mats Gustafsson. It looks as if sounds just happen, but without talent and knowledge you can’t make the saxophone moan and sound like anything but the saxophone. Was it an elephant, honking horns, traffic, screams, stress, pain and all other abstract things you can possibly think of. 

Even though a few people did walk out half way through some of the sound displays, it was not as bad as that time I saw Greek clarinet player Vassilis Saleas at the Barbican when most of the people walked out, as they had expected traditional clarinet music from Greece and not a keyboard loaded set creating space noises behind the clarinet.

The Swedish Outsiders was different, this is why I call it art and not so much music, even though there was one band which performed the more conventional type of music, the trio Tape. The people next to me referred to them as boring, but I found their music quite soothing and relaxing and I could just hear how the people surrounding me where exhaling as if they were in a yoga or pilates class. Tape made us exhale, breathe and rest our minds with their subtle careful compositions. Maybe this is boring, as we expect action and happenings all the time.

A few of the other musical and sound creators were Folke Rabe. His three pieces were different, one he called a remix where he mixed sounds from a commercial radio show in New York from the 60s, where you can hear the presenter’s voice, news and weather forecasts, snippets of the song Ferry Cross the Mercy and Petula Clark’s Down Town! To hear this in darkness and stillness, is like listening to the radio in the dark, on your own, when no one else is around and all you do is close your eyes and listen. Have you ever done that?

Listen and what do you hear? Everything, how the dial moves between the channels and how it surfs through the radiowaves. Rabe’s second piece was more disturbing, as it depicted how disasters creep up on us. Sometimes we don’t see them coming and this he illustrated by letting the audience sit in darkness and listen to sounds that sometimes were resembling those of a war plane from WW2, or a sinking boat, a rainstorm, a truck driving past or the crackling sound of wood making you think that the buidling you’re in will fall upon you and bury you underneath.

So far all good, the disasters were creations of our imaginations, but the most painful bit was to listen to 25 minutes of 6 notes only being played in such a manner that you didn’t notice they were changing. To me that was hard, 25 minutes was way too long. I think people applauded themselves for having survived the ordeal, or just applauding because it was finally over, and finally over because to listen to this monotonous sound is not something we are used to, it makes us feel discomfort, especially when the sound is there to make you worried or scared like a Hitchcock movie.

Ok I am exaggerating a little bit. Trying to distinguish sounds from one another is like trying to distinguish which organs are being used for a song we like to listen to. In the end it is sounds, and when focussed and listened to in darkness, your imagination gets very creative. Especially so if there are to abstract sounds and you cannot associate them with natural rhythms that you’re already used to.

Thank you Swedish Embassy in London and no.signal for organising this sound and cultural experience.

© Copyright Elisavet Sotiriadou, May 2008

Music

Since I love music and I go to a fair amount of concerts, I recently made myself a promise to keep an informal record and review what I see on my other site at: http://www.myspace.com/elisavet_radio

If you go there you’ll find more blog material, mostly music related but other stories tend to make an appearance as well.

Most recent are reviews on

Toumani Diabaté in London

Errol Linton in London

DeVotchka

The Great Indoors with Nathalie Nahai, Charlene Soraia and Mayfly Trio

 

Elisavet Sotiriadou

Comedy Club

I’ve got a new computer and trying to figure out how it works takes up my whole days lately. The basics are there but all the little other things… how to edit sound, what programme to use, leave the realm of the fantastic Cool Edit and enter new digital audio territory…. HEL P!

After having spent most of my day with the new little toy, it was time to go outside and break the addiction habit of spending a lot of time online but also spending too much time on the new computer offline.

We went for a drink and a catch up, a friend and me, and ended up in the basement of a pub in Charlotte Street where one of the most unpretentious comedy clubs resides, once a week. As we entered half way through the show, we had to walk over the stage area to get to our seats, and of course my friend, yes you know who you are 🙂 chooses front row, in a tiny room with only ten other guys. 

I’m thinking no!!! Is she serious? Sitting so close to the stage will only mean the comedians will include us in their set!

And they did!

But I don’t know if we were the main attraction because we were women in a group of let’s say not so tactful men or if it was the fact that me and my friend were both not British, in other words foreigners! In fact we were referred to as foreigners on at least a couple of occasions, or the French people and the Greek people! How exotic, isn’t it!?

And since we got in, almost every act was talking about us and to us in their make-up-the-comedy as they were going along. The intimacy of the room was further enhanced when all the other people in the audience were asked to get closer together and to the front, and around us, as if this would be the solution for the lack of atmosphere. 

I laughed, we laughed but it was not thanks to the great acts! Sorry guys, but if I go to a comedy club I expect to be entertained without participating with my own commentary and opinions! There was a lot of banter, shouting, humiliation and rudeness on the menu so I started talking back… Since a lot of focus were on me and my friend, where we’re from, why we’re there, here and what we’re doing I thought I had the right to talk back! But I never asked what on earth they were joking about before we got there?

I think the night is called pear shaped, and I now know the reasoning behind the name. Despite having made all this criticism, I think it was a night of success! To understand comedy in another language is a small sign that you understand the language and its nuances, so as a foreigner I might be on the right path and so is my dear French friend, who unfortunately moved back to France.