residency Budhaditya Chattopadhyay
March 6, 2014 –
Unni Løvlid: folksong, electronics
Håkon Thelin: double bass
With "LUX", Unni Løvlid and Håkon Thelin move folk tunes and religious songs from the county of Sogn og Fjordane in Norway into completely new soundscapes. Løvlid’s explorations into the different layers of textual meaning, which revolve around humble people, around death and around hope, and – not least – the melodies, lead to some unusual interpretations of the songs. Løvlid’s attraction towards what is apparently contemplative, dark and mystic actually opens up spaces where elements of sound hidden within the melodies, and not usually noticed in conventional performances, emerge brightly and resonate with a sound that feels surprisingly vital and energetic. It is here, in these shimmering melodic fragments, that it is possible to feel the flow of a new, luminous flux created by the novel interpretations. In the work with vocal folk music we are often struck by the expressive contrasts between religious didactic poetry and joyful, light sounding melodies. The latter sheds its warm and beautiful sound over the rather sombre poetry, which again – and even today – gives a sort of comforting legitimacy to the god-fearing words. Despite Løvlid’s often slow and sensitive communication of the words, the melodies hold their luminosity, as if the words are earthy and the melody belongs to a heaven filled with light. Together with Thelin’s critically acclaimed exploration of the double bass, which has been characterized as some of the most compelling and exiting playing that has been heard in a long time, the duo not only sheds new light over old folk songs, but also proves to be one of the most original acts in present Norwegian folk music.