OkWorld started out as a project initiated by Bugge Wesseltoft and Oslo World for the twentieth anniversary of the festival. The idea was for Wesseltoft to meet up with musicians from, among other places, India, Spain, Lebanon and Mozambique. They visited each others home countries, developed music along the way and performed the result at the opening concert of Oslo World that year. Luckily, that wasn’t the end of the story. When Jazzland now announces their new subsidiary label and celebrates it with a concert at Victoria this Oslo World, OkWorld has become a home for music without borders. A musical microcosm, consisting of such acts as Sanskriti Shresta Avatar, Harpreet Bansal band, Bendik Baksaas, Bugge and Adama Barry, to mention a few.
That Bugge Wesseltoft and his label Jazzland is at the centre of something like this is to be expected. Musical meetings are essential to Wesseltoft – the initial concept behind the OkWorld project was music as the original language – and the best tool we have for bridging cultural divides. Over the course of a long career, Bugge has thrived in the gaps between jazz and club music, he has combined sounds from different continents and ages. That kind of ambition permeates the artist roster of OkWorld, who this night will be able to present six new releases. We will hear sounds both ancient and modern, from all over the globe.
Bansal is an innovative interpreter of the North Indian classical music tradition. She is a classically trained violinist and the first to acchieve a masters degree in Indian music from the Norwegian Academy of Music. Her group is a collaborative effort between improvisers from different backgrounds. They perform original music based on the raaga tradition on violin, iranian santor, harmonium, tablas and bass.
Adama Barry (Burkina Faso/Norway) performs music on string instruments and flutes which he makes himself. He sings in the west african fulani tradition and his record on OkWorld will consist of a mix between original performances and remakes by artists such as Henrik Schwarz, Prins Thomas and Mental Overdrive.
Composer, producer and DJ Bendik Baksaas is a central figure in a new generation of artists who thrive in the gaps between club music and improvisation. He has shown this through collaborations with, among others, Mathias Stubø, the jazz combo Mopti and the poet Fredrik Høyer. He spent a month together with folk musicians at Leveld Kunstnarhus in Hallingdal. The result is “Seine Sviv”, a mix between the traditional norwegian singing style kveding and electronic soundscapes.
Avatar is a sextet helmed by the Oslo based nepalese tabla virtuoso Sanskriti Shresta. Just like Harpreet Bansal Group, the music originates from a common interest between musicians from eastern traditional music and musicians from the contemporary improvisation scene. Avatar will release its debut record on Oslo World.
The collaboration between Øyonn Groven Myhren and Bugge Wesseltoft has lasted for 20 years – but they have never before released an album. The material for Nordjordet is recorded at Øyonns grandfather Eivind Grovens organ house at Ekeberg in Oslo, together with the musicians Anne Hytta (fiddle) and Anders Røine on langeleik (norwegian zither), jew’s harp and guitars.
Majãz is a project consisting of syrian musicians who came to Norway as refugees and started playing together here after their arrival. They have collaborated with the norwegian artists Knut Reiersrud (guitar) and Håkon Kornstad (saxophone), who will be joining them on stage this night.
The singer and percussionist is the first artist that OkWorld signed. He will perform a couple of songs this night, together with Ibou Sisokho on cora and Bugge Wesseltoft on electronics.
The young norwegian jazz musicians Harald Lassen (saxophone) and Stian Andersen (bass) has played together with the singer and oud player Matona AfdhAl for several years. They met during a stay Tanzania, and the collaboration has led to the music we will hear this night – a gripping and often surprising mix between asian and african tones.