Norwegian Takeover at Big Ears Festival 2017
Big Ears has been described as a groundbreaking festival which cuts across musical boundaries and presents some of the most interesting new developments in music, film and visual art. In 2017 the Knoxville festival has made a firm commitment to Norwegian music in collaboration with Music Norway, Ultima Festival, NOPA, the Norwegian Consulate in New York and Norsk Jazzforum.
In total there will be nine concerts featuring Norwegian musicians during Big Ears. At the opening concert, Frode Haltli will perform his composition Grenseskogen, which was part of last year’s Ultima programme. In his first ever USA appearances, Nils Økland will play with his Nils Økland Band and in two duo concerts with Sigbjørn Apeland and Mats Eilertsen.
Supersilent, who celebrate their 20th anniversary during Ultima in September, give a concert in the historic Bijou Theatre, as well as a duo set by Ståle Storløkken and Arve Henriksen. Those two, plus fellow Supersilent member Deathprod (aka Helge Sten), will each give respective solo concerts.
Among the panel discussions at Big Ears, Norwegian music will be under the spotlight, emphasising the convergence of modern jazz and contemporary music. The panel will be made up of Nils Økland, Helge Sten, Jan Ole Otnæs (Nasjonal Jazzscene) and Lars Petter Hagen (Ultima). The moderator will be American journalist Peter Margasak (Chicago Reader, Downbeat).
Helge Deathprod Sten:
"Big Ears er den desidert beste og største festivalen i USA når det kommer til å utforske rommet mellom det komplette kaos av alternativ musikk og kunstmusikk. Det er kanskje også den eneste festivalen i USA som klarer å få til dette i det formatet og skalaen som de gjør. Dette blir en sjelden mulighet for oss å spille i USA og det er fantastisk at det skjer nettopp på en festival som Big Ears, som er tydelig spisset mot det feltet vi jobber i."
Peter Margasak, musikkjournalist Chicago Reader:
“The three Norwegian groups featured at Big Ears this year nicely encapsulate what’s so enticing and beguiling about contemporary music from Norway these days. Nils Økland, Frode Haltli, and Supersilent all make radically disparate music, but they share a endless sense of curiosity and a refusal to heed orthodoxy. They all follow their instincts, leading them into new places. I’m excited to talk about what makes music from Norway stand out at our panel discussion on Friday afternoon.”