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Punkt Festival 2017

Henning Bolte By

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The concluding live-remix of the concert of Daniel Lanois by Audun Kleive, Eivind Aarset, Jan Bang, Erik Honoré and Arve Henriksen became a truly stunning affair and the joyful highpoint of the festival. The four musicians brought it 'auf den Punkt,' nailed it. Lanois and his fellow musicians ended up with a darker dub reggae passage, something Lanois started with drummer Brian Blade a few years ago. It was just that part that was taken up by the live-remix of Punkt's inner circle crew. They transformed it into a light, springy and joyful conclusion of the festival.

From the very first moment the live-remix became a strong move full of surprise. For instance the reciting voice in the beginning at the beginning: where was it coming from and whose voice was it? It even took his fellow musicians some time to discover that Arve Henriksen himself was extemporizing in a voice quality (I) never heard from him in a performance before. It was a similar sensation when he joined in spontaneously in the second half with a strong piece of toasting to the instrumental riddim. Meanwhile Eivind Aarset's laptop had died completely and urged some extra improvising by his fellow musicians. As a whole it turned out a bravura move. It was a Punkt where Lanois and Punkt really met. Lanois provided great 'input' with that dub reggae Caribbean thing and the Punkt musicians gave something back of their world, their understanding, their rhythmic feel, sound, space and breathing.

New generations

This year there were five young Norwegian newcomer units of different forms of appearance, but all with a strong attitude fitting the genre-defying context of Punkt. Rohey is a very young and strongly convincing band redefining the soul-jazz area with Rohey Taalah's unique voice carried by electric bassist Kristian B. Jacobsen, keyboarder Ivan Blomqvist and drummer Henrik Lødøen: three highly skillful, dynamic and original musicians. This year the band released its debut- album A Million Things on the Jazzland label. It was an overwhelming appearance at the small Punkt venue Vaktbua where the band as always went for the full. Rohey played music that made people smile and feel good. Rohey Taalah is an exceptional vocalist and performer of great credibility and warmth who thoroughly personates the situations, characters and issues she is singing about in gestures, gaze and movement. Her performance is amazingly powerful and effortless. Rohey has made a powerful perpendicular start and it seems that it will take even more youthful speed in the coming months when touring different European countries. Be warned: listening and attending shows can have a strong ignition effect.

Broen is a strikingly colorful unit of five younger musicians with an avant-garde background cutting through the areas of pop, rock, hip hop with bravura. It's an attractive extravaganza kind of thing that has made a strong mark already in the UK where they have recently been signed by Simon Raymonde's Bella Union label. Broen is Anja Lauvdal (keyboard) and Heida Karine Johannesdottir Mobeck (tuba) of the much in demand duo Skrap, drummer Hans Hulbækmo of the group Atomic, guitarist Lars Ove Fossheim and vocalist Marianna S. Angeletaki Røe. At Punkt they gave a cool loose show highlighted and enforced by the excellent visuals of Tord Knudsen, the regular VJ genius of the Punkt Festival for years. Broen's music evoked reminiscences of Edie Brickell and The New Bohemians now and then. It is remarkable that the greater part of the Broen musicians also has a significant role in the free improvising scene. There is more of this kind inside and outside of Norway: a valuable thing worth receiving a weightier place at other festivals too. It would be worthwhile to dedicate an article to that kind practice and kind of music.

There were strong indications from visitors that the performances of Rakel Nystabakk / Ingrid Wesenberg Eskeland and Frøkedal & Familien were highy appreciated by the audience. Anne Lise Frøkedal is an already internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter (and producer) presenting catchy tunes with instrumental sophistication. Nystabakk/Wesenberg is a young duo of classical double bassist Ingrid Eskeland and electronic musician Rakel Nystabakk. They are ready for festival stages while still studying at University of Agder. Rohey, Broen and Frøkedal have absorbed a lot of US-American influence without sounding American, which is a remarkable achievement.

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