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Back Roads Beat

Going to Extremes to find Jazz in Greenland

By Published: October 13, 2005
It's also where I managed my first and only encounter with a bona fide jazz musician, thanks to an elderly lady living under the Atlantic Music store that closed 10 minutes before I arrived. She spoke no English, but cheerfully tracked down the store owner at his home after I did some pantomiming and sketching on my notepad. He gave me Holmelund's number and the sousaphonist agreed minutes later to crash unannounced into his home for an interview that evening - my last in Greenland before an early morning flight out.

We listened to his album, one of the few copies left he has from the 2,000 tapes and CDs originally made, which he presented as a gift when I departed. At least as appreciated was his insight into venues, festivals and players he's been involved with over the years, giving me many of the leads I used to track down additional information.

Although the band is resuming their Dixie concerts this fall, Holmelund's stint on the Greenlandic scene is nearing its end as he intends to retire and move back to Denmark with his wife this year. He said he intends to keep playing music, but isn't sure where Greenland fits in those plans. In the meantime, he said he enjoys playing for audiences who are almost always appreciative no matter what might be on stage.

"There's only two types of music - good and bad performance," Holmelund said. "I like all types of music if it's in a good way."

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