Home » Jazz Articles » Radio & Podcasts » Norway in a Nutshell


Norway in a Nutshell


Sign in to view read count

Click the play button to listen

Every year around 30 jazz promoters and journalists from Europe and the USA make a pilgrimage to the city of Bergen in the west of Norway to experience Nutshell. Established by the various organisations who export Norwegian music, Nutshell showcases the best Norwegian jazz of the moment amidst the incredible scenery of fjords and mountains that the country is famous for. The showcase programme was curated by drummer Gard Nilssen and dovetails with Bergen's longstanding Nattjazz Festival, offering a taste of soul, R&B and world music as well as some excellent Norwegian jazz. This year's showcase included a visit to the town of Voss, a hotspot for extreme sports and the home of Vossajazz: Norway's leading festival for new commissions.

Over the past few decades, Norway has worked hard promoting its artists abroad so jazz fans are already aware of more than Norwegian icon Jan Garbarek. There is still so much to discover, so this edition of Audioguide brings you short snippets of some of the bands from this year's Nutshell and Nattjazz programme.

Saxophonist Hanna Paulsberg is an excellent starting point for this audio excursion, with "Catalan Boy." Since forming the quartet in 2010 she has built a burgeoning career performing over 200 concerts with them, as well as the likes of Chick Corea and Bugge Wesseltoft. Up next is one of Norway's more unique musical exports: Ice Music. Terje Isungset sculpts all his instruments himself from glacier ice (normal ice doesn't resonate or make musical sounds) and performs only with ice instruments and vocalist Maria Skranes. This track is from his new Arctic Ice Music project featuring a small vocal ensemble.

The sounds of ice give way to Nils Okland's "Flukt." Okland plays another Norwegian-made instrument, the Hardanger fiddle, a form of violin used mainly in South West Norway. Modern interpretations of folk music are a favourite in Norway, and Nattjazz featured several, with more to follow here. Our next band emerges in a cloud of squawks before sliding into a groove with just the right amount of swing. Angles 9 (formerly known as Angles 8) are led by a Swede, Martin Kuchen, but the band does include a token Norwegian, saxophonist Eirik Hegdal.

Veteran pianist Dag Arnesen has a particular affection for the music of Edvard Grieg, Norway's most famous composer. As part of the Nutshell programme his trio performed in the modern concert hall on the site of Grieg's house (Troldhaugen). The backdrop to the stage is a large window through which the audience can see Grieg's waterside composing hut. Arnesen's set included the arrangement of "Solveig's Song" featured here. More fiddle follows with accordionist Frode Haltli's Avant Folk band in a track co-produced with avant-garde vocalist Maja S.K. Ratkje, which may explain the deliciously dark electronic soundscape which prefaces the tune.

We pick up the tempo with groove-based project Steamdome, led by Ola Kvernberg, with an altogether different use of the fiddle which is more reminiscent of an electric guitar. Swiftly following this are the cinematic sounding drums, bells and electronics of Erland Dahlen, whose solo performance at Nutshell was brilliantly framed by the setting in an historic church. The mix closes with a lullaby-like folk song from the latest Ice Music album, ending this Norwegian adventure with the crunch of ice.


< Previous
Cooking Groove



For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Radio & Podcasts

Tune in daily to hear the internet's top jazz programs including Mondo Jazz, Jazz Bastard, World of Jazz, The Third Story, One Man's Jazz, The Outer View, Neon Jazz, A Broad Spectrum, Bitches Brew and more

View by program...

Program Schedule | JazzWeek Chart


Read Women in Jazz Media: Kim Cypher
Read Pat Metheny at the Kaufmann Concert Hall
Read Big Ears Festival 2024

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.