By Gloria Hickey
Last night was another jam packed evening of talent and good camaraderie at the Sound Symposium. Even before the opening act there was a tangible good vibe that filled the LSPU Hall. To me, this is one reason that makes the Symposium so extraordinary. Not only do you get to experience astonishing talent on stage but you get to talk with the performers afterwords. I am always impressed by the feeling of community that develops in such a short time at the Symposium. It is a pressure cooker of musical and sonic talent. It seems to bring out the best in so many people.
It would be difficult for me to pick a favourite from last nights’ musicians. Hildegard Westerkamp’s multilayered recorded set based on boat horns was delightful. Bill Horist’s guitar stylings was a surprise (at least for me) and Frode Fjellheim and Snorre Bjerck’s performance was nothing short of memorable. I think everyone’s favourite new verb is yoiking.
Frode Fjellheim’s interpretation of yoiking is a soulful blend of jazz and Nordic traditions. I thought he played the keyboard with tenderness. Combine this with Snorre Bjerck’s percussion and you indeed have something special. I particularly liked how he played the rim of his drum set.
What I also found intriguing is how so many music traditions were brought sensually together by Fjellheim and Bjerck. Was that really Turkish neh I heard blended in the composition? And Bjerck’s use of ankle bells reminded me of Kathakali temple dancing. Don’t get me started on his brush work. Speaking of dancing, it took every shred of my self-discipline just to stay seated. I know for certain I was not alone in that regard. It was a comment I heard from several audience members.
My only regret of the evening is that I knew we would run out of time before music. But that’s what happens when you have so much talent in one room. Thank you to the staff and volunteers for another wonderful Sound Symposium! I am sure St. John’s, especially for such a sparsely populated city, is the envy of many provinces in this country.
Gloria Hickey is an independent curator and writer living in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador with more than 300 published craft related articles. She holds a Masters degree in Philosophy of Art from the University of Toronto (1981) and has curated major exhibitions for several institutions in Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2011, she was the first winner of the Critical Eye award in Newfoundland and Labrador.