North by Northwest- Reykjavík Calling
It was a spur of the moment trip, triggered in part by my frustration at being unable to attend Iceland Airwaves. I found myself heading to the Pacific Northwest, to Seattle, home of my eldest son, and home to arty coffee-houses:
And, of course, rain:
There was a whole raft of Icelandic and Nordic related events going on last weekend in Seattle, which is how I ended up outside Neumo's, standing in a sodden queue, waiting to get into KEXP's Reykjavík Calling, a concert featuring four performers from the North Atlantic. Each performed solo with musicians from the Seattle area also sharing the stage, and, at times, dueting with their Nordic counterparts. The MC was none other than program director extraordinaire
Kevin Cole, formerly of the legendary Minneapolis station Rev 105, who put together this show and also was the driving force behind KEXP's astounding coverage of last month's Iceland Airwaves. In addition to their live coverage, they are currently in the process of archiving audio and video performances- poke around their site for an unbelievable amount of Airwaves and other great music.
The first artist of last Friday's concert was Nive (Nee-vey) Nielsen, from Greenland. Her pleasant, simple songs were just the thing to get the crowd into a good mood (she even took a trippy Kazoo solo). She was paired with Seattle's Shelby Earl, an enthusiastic performer of her own folk/country tunes. Nive's voice had a yearning, almost melancholy component on some songs, invoking long dark nights surrounded by snow and ice.
Tomorrow: Highs and Lows...