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Utopian Lullabies

A host of female performers, led by Rossy de Palma, share the music that means the most to them.

Music reaches us in different ways. It can happen through unforgettable live performances, recommendations from friends, streaming services or just our own treasure hunts for new sounds. A music festival is built on all these different kinds of discoveries. What eludes us to a great extent, are the first meetings many of us have with music – the songs we have learned from family members, the treasures we heard as children. This is music that exists outside of the professional scene, melodies that get stuck and become part of who we are. It is hard to convey this in an ordinary concert setting, but during this year’s opening concert a host of artists curated and directed by actor Rossy de Palma will make such an attempt.

De Palma visited Oslo World two years ago with a performance especially made for the festival. Both parts enjoyed the last collaboration, and we contacted her this year with the possibility of doing something based on the music from Pedro Almodóvars films, and the way he explores both utopian and dystopian human relations. The thought quickly grew into something different, a project centered around communities and the songs we receive from other people, in this case, relationships between women, mothers, sisters, nannys, grandmothers and role models, and the effect they have on the music we make and listen to. Many lullabies are traditional. Other times, they can be quite random, maybe it’s just a tune your parents happened to know the lyrics to.

The lullabies are not a genre, but first and foremost, an oral tradition of singing to each other, which has survived throughout humanity and up until this moment. When we usually today tend to get our music primarily from the stage, a screen or a stream service, the lullabies represent a form of musical community we wish to highlight in a year where utopia, and utopian thoughts, is the theme.

Mon Laferte is one of Chile’s most popular artists these days, having sold half a million albums throughout Latin America with her blend of boleros, rock, soul and Latin pop. Ever since her critically acclaimed Blue Note debut Handmade in 2010, the Moroccan singer and multi instrumentalist Hindi Zahra has fused berbic music with modern jazz and blues. Natacha Atlas has been one of the artists shaping ways of blending genres, ever since she collaborated with Jah Wobble and sung in Transglobal Underground in the nineties. The Catalan singer Silvia Pérez Cruz comes from fado, flamenco and jazz, and is an accomplished storyteller, both as an actress and a musician. Brazilian singer Liniker is rising rapidly with her fresh look at the soul heritage of Brazil and Inna Modja has found a place between classic and modern soul, music from Mali and France – which has led to a breakthrough in the latter country.

A varied group of artists, with vastly different life stories and careers, but also many things in common, have all found personal ways of combining their musical roots with new surroundings. Led by Rossy de Palma, on the opening night of the festival, they will perform together with her, the music they grew up with, the lullabies of their lives.

To accompany them, we have enlisted Norwegian pianist Sverre Indris Joner. The composer and bandleader has made music for well known orchestras and has played in bands like Hovedøen Social Club and Tango for 3. He is one of our musicians with the closest and richest relationship to music from different parts of the world and is the ideal musician to accompany an evening where we will look for spontaneous moments. A night where we hope to avoid the “queuing system” such multi-artist concerts often end up as, but where the artists share the stage, their utopian lullabies with each other on stage, and with us, the audience, in the darkened hall.

It will be a night to remember.

In collaboration with the Spanish Embassy.

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