Norland wind in concert

 In Reviews

The Raven, The Full Moon and The Need To Wake Up

The atmosphere at Kreuzberg’s beautiful Passionskirche is festive and the venue sold out for Norland Wind’s long expected Berlin concert. The current line-up sees five top class musician joining forces for a gorgeous spring evening filled with nordic and celtic tunes and songs. The diverse backgrounds of the members make for a large part of Norland Wind’s incredible dynamic and energy. So, may we introduce the band to you before rather than after the concert today?

Singer, guitarist, songwriter and composer Kerstin Blodig is the only Berliner on stage, although her music is inspired by her Norwegian background and her preoccupation with Norwegian traditional music. The band’s much-cited Clannad connection – a group which won numerous awards including a Grammy – is Donegal native Noel Duggan on guitar and vocals.

On the keyboards (all the way from Odense, Denmark): Johann Skov-Hansen, a talented young pianist who will later have one of the night’s great solo moments. Thomas Loefke, originally from the Black Forest region in Germany’s southwest, learned his craft from Ireland’s leading harp players. Angelika Nielsen, born in Vestmanna on the Faroe Islands, is her home country’s leading lady on the fiddle and a regular member of the Faroese Symphony Orchestra. All of the musicians tour and record together in various constellations and have other projects with some of our time’s leading folk artists going.

After a ravishing intro by the full band, the evening’s first highlight is Kerstin Blodig’s rendition of the folk tale of the wild bird which is featured in both the Norwegian and German canon of legends. The singer’s breathtaking vocals, her skillful guitar playing and the effortlessness of her solo performance make it easy for the listeners to empathize with the infatuation of the king upon listening to the bird who chooses the freedom of the forest over the riches in the palace.

Noel Duggan takes up the torch with a touching performance of the Irish ballad Foggy Dew – a perfect choice for the days leading up to the centenary of the Easter Rising as the song chronicles the events of the 1916 rebellion led by James Connolly and Patrick Pearse and has been performed and recorded by many feted folk artists over the past decades.

After the political and historical intermezzo, many a tale is told that night. Stories of a raven, a rock in the sea and the full moon, all of them brilliantly arranged and effectively staged with loop stations, take the audience on a dreamy journey to distant shores, ancient myths and the enigmatic realm between legend, reality and states of the human soul. The setting and great acoustics of the Neo-romanesque Passionskirche lets them resonate even more intensely within the listeners.

Yet, the transition to current affairs of our time is effortless in Blodig’s performance of Melissa Etheridge’s I Need To Wake Up, a song which is connected to burning questions of our time via its usage in Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth and addresses the need ‘to move, to wake up to change and to shake up’ in order to make a difference.

Angelika Nielsen and Thomas Loefke bring up the rear of stunning performances with a fiddle/harp duo set featuring of one of Nielsen’s own compositions which according to her was inspired during a tour in Scotland and which leaves the audience audibly breathless before a storm of well-deserved applause breaks out. Even after being treated to an encore, some listeners don’t want to let the band leave, and enthusiastic ‘One more song!’-shouts fade first after the stage lights have been switched off.

Norland Wind’s next concert is in Dresden, but for all Berliners who want more after that night, the Berlin concert dates of the artists’ various projects can be found at thomasloefke.eu – and of course, over the coming weeks and months, on ice-berlin.com.

 

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