Monday, December 1, 2014

Norwegian-Manx Musical Collaboration Breaks New Ground

David Kilgallon
The Norwegian-Manx Musical Collaboration is just one of the many exciting projects to emerge from the Island based organisation Culture Vannin, but with their debut performance at the Erin Arts Centre in 2013, it was soon obvious that this successful partnership had tapped into something new and exciting.


With an increasing interest in this unique alliance, this year's  sell-out concert was held at the Centenary Centre in Peel, where all of the original musicians gathered to entertain an expectant crowd with their latest material, and update them on the progress of the project.

Drawn slowly and deliberately into the music by Manx Gaelic singer Ruth Keggin, we were treated to a stunning fiddle duet by Manx musicians Tom Callister (Barrule) and David Kilgallon (Chronicles and Mec Lir) who barely drew breath as they stormed through a repertoire which left everyone drooling in admiration.
Tom Callister

 
But this was just the beginning.

In a departure from their last concert, a small number of traditional dancers from both countries displayed a thought-provoking selection of dances suitable for solo performers and couples.

John Kilgallon and GrĂ¡inne Joughin represented the Isle of Man with Manx dances which may already be familiar to some, but we were also introduced to a young Norwegian male dancer, Vertle Springgard, who won the audience with his breathtaking mix of traditional style, athleticism and acrobatic spontaneity.
Margit Myhr
 

We were given a tantalising glimpse of what the musical collaboration had to offer at the close of the first half of the concert, when the Manx trio were joined on stage by visiting singer Margit Myhr (also the dance partner of Vertle Springgard)  and fiddle player Erlend Apneseth.


Erlend Apneseth
The evening was held together by the lively banter of Tom Callister, as the second half of the programme explored the hidden depths of cultural identity through melodic fusion and the richness of language; including the beautiful sound of the Hardanger fiddle and the hauntingly delicate vocal blend of Ruth and Margit.  

Such a winning partnership brings together the two countries as never before with a clever layering of music and song using both languages in an hypnotic presentation of harmony and friendship.


Ruth Keggin
With music, song and dance workshops to be held at the Philip Christian Centre in Peel the following day, the concert was the culmination of a hectic few days introducing the music to pupils at schools throughout the Island.

But if you missed the concert there's an opportunity to glimpse what was on offer on the manxmusicanddance YouTube channel and purchase the new songs and tunes booklet, with an accompanying demo CD, from Culture Vannin priced at £7.


Valerie Caine
© December 2014

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