Greek Cookery Class

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Valkyrien Allstars, Stor Overraskelse and Sam Sparro

A few updates on my myspace blog:

http://www.myspace.com/elisavet_radio

A short review of the Oslo gig with Valkyrien Allstars and Stor Overraskelse, and on a separate note, details how to access and listen to my interview with Sam Sparro!

Find the information on my blog on myspace!

Elisavet Sotiriadou

Oslo in 19 pictures

One of the marinas

Sunshine and hot weather as I arrived, not great picture quality, as all pictures were taken with a poor mobile phone camera. This above is one of the marinas as you enter Oslo from the airport Torp.

As soon as I arrived I unloaded my bags and headed to a bar called Blå, in the trendier Grunelökka area of Oslo. But on the way I saw this copper spaceship where music was coming from. As you see this band is setting up for their gig, all around there were caravans, a hangout place for musicians? I didn’t have any time to stick around and ask as I was going to the soundcheck of Norwegian band Valkyrien Allstars.

Valkyrien had just started soundcheck as I walked into to this industrial looking venue, with discoballs and a globe hanging from its ceiling. Even though this is just soundcheck, it sounded brilliant.

Above you see the riverside terasse outside Blå and the colourful graffitti art all around the nearby area.

The surrounding buildings, most of them old style warehouses are used for rehearsal space and studios and there was a lot of music coming out of everywhere as I was walking down this street. Even NRK (Norwegian public broadcasting service) was here on this street, filming a tv-series.

As I said, poor quality on my phone camera. But in the picture above is Stor Overraskelse…. meaning big surprise! This is their name, a Norwegian, brilliant hip-hop band with an extremely talented beat boxer Julian taking a break, at the right of the picture.

The rappers where playing for an international crowd who were attending the Wergelandskonferansen this very night so they brought in extra reinforcment, Mr Anthony who was rapping away in English. The aim of the conference was to build bridges through the means of culture and art between the Middle East and the West.

This is a typical Norwegian fiddle, called Hardingfele, it has a set of strings, below the strings the musicians play upon, and they are vibrating and creating a sound that accompanies the other strings when they are played upon. A beautiful instrument!!

This is the Scream, by Edward Munch.

It was a sunny hot day, a lot of people resorted to the beach, here in Hukodden, just outside Oslo, no sandy beaches, but that didn’t seem to stop the Norwegian vikings from jumping into the water.

© Copyright Elisavet Sotiriadou, June 2008

Bassekou Kouyate and Umbrella

The latest entries on my other blog at: http://www.myspace.com/elisavet_radio

include a short story on Bassekou Kouyate, a musician from Mali who plays the ngoni, a West African desert lute that sounds amazing. Even though he’s been playing music for many years and worked with Toumani Diabaté, Ali Farka Touré and Youssou N’dour, it is only sometime last year that we started hearing of his own solo debut album Segu Blue and his fantastic music. The blog also includes details of how to access the radio feature I have done about him, his music and the griot traditions of Mali online. The programme aired on radio yesterday, but is available for another 29 days on the internet. 

My second story on the same blog is about Rihanna’s song Umbrella and its many different versions of that R’n’B hit from last summer. 

Enjoy the read and have a good week!

Elisavet Sotiriadou

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