The opening concert during the 30th edition of Oslo World will consist of two parts: Excerpts from Sami choreographer and artist Elle Sofe Sara's dance performance Vástádus eana · The answer is land, and a duo concert performed by Mari Boine and Bugge Wesseltoft with guests.
2023 will be a decisive year in the relationship between indigenous people and the Norwegian state. In February, demonstrators gathered in front of the Ministry of Oil and Energy to demand the demolition of the wind power plants at Fosen, 500 days after the Supreme Court had decided that the Norwegian state had violated the rights of Sami reindeer herding families. The protests were of a nature and scale not seen since the Alta case.
Artists from indigenous groups have made out some of the most essential counter cultures in modern Norway. They have been activists and storytellers, and they have preserved language and culture where institutions and society have failed. However, the irrepressible struggle both for the individual and cultural communities are present in a variety of ways in the performances on stage at Oslo Konserthus. The theme for this year’s Oslo World festival is 30 years of music and activism - and the opening concert is truly a manifestation of the festival theme. This year's opening concert is presented in collaboration with the Riddu Riddu festival.
Akt 1: Vástádus eana · The answer is land
Community and kinship between people, with nature and with the earth we all share, are the main themes of Vástádus eana · The answer is land, by the sámi choreographer and artist Elle Sofie Sara, where joik is the central element.
The performance is made in collaboration with seven female performers, all renowned dancers and joikers. They come from different backgrounds and life experiences, and bring their own stories and voices into the work. Sara is recognized as one of the most interesting and important choreographers of her generation in Norway. She is concerned with the intention behind movement - look, timing, direction and intensity - and presence on stage. The choreography is inspired by demonstrations, Sami spiritual practices and formation dance.
Vástádus eana · The answer is land was made for the Arctic Arts Festival in 2021, where Sara was a festival profile. The polyphonic joik was specially written for the play by composer and professor of joik, Frode Fjellheim. Here Fjellheim shows the breadth of joik as a musical expression and expands the definition of what Sami traditional music can be. The performance has thrilled audiences and we are very proud to be able to bring an excerpt of the play to our audience during this year's Oslo World.
Akt 2: Mari Boine og Bugge Wesseltoft
Mari Boine is among the greatest living musicians in Norway. Since the 1980s, she has been an innovator of joik and Sami musical traditions, with a versatile and ceaselessly curious body of work that has brought her into contact with countless different genres and performers. The breakthrough album Gula Gula from 1989 is a watershed album in Sami music and for cultural encounters in Norwegian music in general. It also established Boine as an artist on the global stage. She has been an irrepressible voice of resistance in the discussions about repression and Norwegianization policies. She has received a number of the highest civilian honors in Norway for her work, in addition to four Spellemann awards for her music - the first in 1989, and the last to date, the Honorary Award, in 2017. Mari Boine has performed at Oslo World a number of times before, in collaboration with KORK, with her own band and as part of a tribute concert for Inga Juuso. This time we will experience her in a rare intimate duo setting.
Keyboardist Bugge Wesseltoft is a powerhouse in Norwegian music. He made his breakthrough in seminal collaborations with Jan Garbarek and Arild Andersen on I took up the runes and Sagn. Since then it has been almost impossible to talk about Norwegian jazz without mentioning Bugge. The project New Conception of Jazz defined the new fusion of club music and jazz in the nineties, and helped to showcase a new generation of musicians who have characterized Norwegian music ever since. Through countless collaborations and the record label Jazzland, he has created new partnerships across a wide range of genres. The sub-label OK World, which was launched at Oslo World in 2018, is a new important meeting point between musicians from different cultures in Norway. The Swedish-Norwegian trio Rymden sums up his electro-acoustic curiosity, and is one of the biggest European jazz acts today. At the same time, he thrives in solo and duo settings, which he has shown in successes such as It's snowing on my piano and a much lauded, long-term collaboration with Sidsel Endresen. The collaboration between Wesseltoft and Boine is in many ways a dream come true - and a new chapter in two unique artistic careers.
During the opening concert at Oslo World, there will also be a guest appearance with Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen. Ella Marie has become a household name in Norway - she made her breakthrough with victories in the Sámi Grand Prix and Stjernekamp, as well as through the work with her own band, Isák. In 2022, she had the lead role in Ellos eatnu - Let the river live, a film based on the Alta conflict. In 2023 during the Fosen protests, she became one of the clearest advocates for the rights of the Norwegian indigenous people. For her engagement and activism she received Fritt Ord's Honorary Award.