It has been a long time since anything amazed me like visiting the United States last week. Everything was just as big as they said – the skyscrapers, the boulevards, the coal plants and the parking lots.
Even I became a little bigger, turning 30 (!) while I was performing at Folk Alliance International in Kansas City. The festival itself was larger and more intense than anything I have ever been part of before. An entire hotel complex with thousands of people flowing between concerts and jams, discussions and debates, pop-up showcases and ad-hoc songwriting sessions. Three entire floors had been turned into tiny concert venues, hosting acoustic showcases all through the night.
Even when travelling with a project like Unsongs, I believe I learned more than I taught. On the first day in Kansas, I visited the local radio station KCUR and spoke about the role of protest music in today’s society together with local musicians Danny Cox and Andres Ramirez. Danny gave me the t-shirt and the cap I’m wearing on the photo above.
On the last night, we joined forces with beautiful artists such as Elle Márjá (Sápmi) and Sam Lee (UK) and sang our last tunes for now at around 3AM in the morning. I included links to their music there because I totally and completely fell headlong for their music and so might you.
Now I’m back in Norway to continue writing. Next step is to wrap my head around everything that happened in the US. The talks, the music, the quarrels, the fear. For a few days, I’ve been wastefully and happily rocking in the free world like Neil Young sang about. Now it’s back to the desk.
Oh, and one very last thing. I just received word about a handful of new concerts ahead, in Munich and Tallinn. Oh, and Berlin in May, where we’ll be performing ‘Unsongs’ together with the amazing Berlin Music Ensemble! And for the show in London in April, beautiful Marja Mortensson will be joining us to perform the old Sami tale about the shaman and the thief. She’s currently working on an ambitious project to reawaken the South Sami joik tradition, a project worthy of attention in itself.
Okay, that’s enough for now. Keep rockin’, and take care!
PS: How free is the free world? How old is the old continent? Discuss.