A community of musicians, poets, dancers, visual artists developing new directions in improvisation.
What began as a “jam session” in September 2005, featuring guest artists from Europe, West Africa, North Africa and the United States, mixing and matching all of the disciplines, including theater, music, dance and visual arts, has evolved into an important and exciting venue for the creation and experimentation of new thoughts and ideas in improvisation.
artistic director: marco eneidi
only three performances left: The Culture Project, 55 Mercer Street between Broome and Grand.
|The Cat Who Went to Heaven opened as a puppet show March 25, 2008 at The Culture Project, 55 Mercer Street between Broome and Grand.he Cat Who Went To Heaven
A Story In Jazz For Children and Adults
4. Good Fortune Is Her Name (MP3)
5. I Am Too Shy (MP3)
8. The Perfect One (MP3)
11. Lost In Contemplation (MP3)
more info on vocalist Nancy Harrow's website
The 6th edition of this homemade festival in a tiny village in the heart of Sweden, saw a gathering of top-notch improvisers from Sweden, France and USA, some world renowned, others of growing reputation. Most recognizable names being saxophonist Roland Keijser, drummer Raymond Strid and pianist Sten Sandell from Sweden, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm from Chicago, violinist Katt Hernandez and cellist Helena Espvall from Philly. Then there were quite a few promising members of the new generation of French and Swedish musicians. The festival also included poetry readings by Swedish poets, acrobatics and dance performances. The complete list of artists is available at the Hagenfesten website. Pictures are available at the festival's official photographer, Heiko Purnhagen's website.
Organised by bassist Joel Grip, trumpet player Niklas Barnö and vocalist Sofia Jernberg, Hagenfesten is a manifestation of these musicians’ desire to open up new avenues for their music and creative improvised music in general. And that’s exactly the kind of initiative we need to see more of if we’re to ensure the survival and proliferation of this music. This music that’s beautiful, and rare due to the lack of openings, places to play and lack of public. It’s common currency in creative music to see musicians take a stand and make things happen, in their own way, with whatever they’ve got. And that’s what Hagenfesten is about, doing your own thing and making “IT” happen. Kudos to the three main organisers and their families and friends who put in their bit whole-heartedly toward the organisation of the festival. It’s hard work organising a homemade festival of international merit, hundreds of things to be taken care of with limited resources and manpower. One of the most remarkable aspects of this little festival and the promise of its longevity is the fact that all musicians, big or small, come to perform for love. The festival organisers take care of the boarding lodging and traveling expenses of the artists. These expenses are afforded thanks to funding from the Gagnefs Kommun (sort of a city council or something) and Helge Ax:son Johnson Stiftelsen (an organization funding arts in Sweden), and the sale of tickets. They didn't quite break even this time.
“Hagen”, in Swedish, means an area where cows are kept, “festen” means feast. Hagenfesten happens literally in the home of Lena Westin & Jan Albinsson in the quiet, obscure and picturesque village of Dala-Floda, located in the beautiful region of Dalarna in Sweden, with a total population of 90! The main performance venue is the barn that’s part of Lena and Jan’s big, red, wooden house in the middle of a “hagen” by the river. Lena and Jan are the "dual core processor" of hagenfesten. Performances also take place in the 17th century church of Dala Floda and the nearby train park in the woods, created by Staffan and Erik Eronn.
People coming from far off places can camp for free behind the house. There are also hotels and B&B’s not far from the festival site. more info on Hagenfesten website.
The delicious wholesome food is prepared by Lena Westin with the help of volunteers, usually people from the village and members of the public.
Marc Fèvre from Gallerie Tampon-Ramier in Paris was selling his natural wine this year.
All the performances at the festival were original and delightful. And in my humble opinion, the highlights of the festival were:
in the barn: Fred Lonberg-Holm and Raymond Strid duo; the quartet of Roland Keijser, Niklas Barnö, Joel Grip and Raymond Strid
in the church: Sten Sandell piano solo; duo of Katt Hernandez and Eve Risser
Lightbox Orchestra workshop
Chicago cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm gave a workshop on his Lightbox Orchestra concept where he uses a box fixed with LEDs to lead an ensemble. The music is purely improvised in the moment by the ensemble. Each LED corresponds to a player in the ensemble who plays or stops as the light goes on or off. The workshop was open to musicians and amateur musicians, the only amateur being yours truly. The only instrument I had was a little bird-whistle that made the sweetest birdy sound. I asked Fred-Lonberg Holm if I, not being a musician and having only a bird whistle for instrument, could take part in the workshop. Fred said, “Sure.” It was a great experience, being part of the same ensemble as Sten Sandell, Katt Hernandez, Lena Espvall, Eve Risser and all. And whaddayaknow, Roland Keijser later complimented me on my whistle playing. Thanks FLH!
Hagenfesten needs and duly deserves more attention and more money, more funding from the region of Dalarna, the Swedish cultural affaires, the European commission, and whoever else gives two hoots about the fact that it’s a pool of European creativity, a bringing together of the European masters and the younger generation of improvising musicians. Hagenfesten also puts the invisible village of dala floda–try looking for it on google maps–on the world map of cultural events. Considering the high participation of musicians and audiences from France in 2008, even the French cultural affaires should pay heed to the possibilities the festival presents. For one, the French can considerably improve their English language skills interacting with the Swedes and other Europeans. It’s time somebody somewhere realized that (European) improvised music is an art-form that needs to be preserved and nurtured, just like the opera and classical music, just like the blues. We need more little festivals and venues for improvised music and all of those places are going to need help, in cash and kind. Let’s do what we can and hope for the best.
Another such festival is organised by guitarist Pascal Marzan in Paris. European improvisers come to play at a small theatre in paris, from far off places. They play for no fee, and their expenses are borne by Pascal Marzan out of his own pocket. The festival is R-de-Choc. Check it out.