Asian focus for Norwegian jazz ambassadors

The Asian market has taken a liking to some of Norway’s foremost jazz performers. Quartet Come Shine and vocalist Silje Nergaard are just two examples of Norwegian jazz bands discovering a new Asian audience.

Come Shine

Courtesy of two critically acclaimed albums and a string of successful concerts, Norwegian quartet Come Shine is now firmly established in their country of birth. The youthful and energetic ensemble doesn’t lack international ambition though - they recently completed a successful ten-day Asian tour, visiting Vietnam and India. With support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Concert Institute the highly competent quartet combined night-time gigs with daytime teaching at local conservatories. The band did a popular gig at one of Hanoi’s few jazz clubs, and vocalist Live Maria Roggen was surprised to find a Come Shine release in one of the city’s record stores. Says Roggen to Norwegian daily Dagbladet of her discovery: I found a bootleg of our latest album in a local store, I’ve got no idea how it ended up here!

Silje Nergaard is another performer solidly established in Norway, and with an international career about to take shape. Nergaard too has just completed an Asian tour that covered South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and was completed with gigs in Macau and Hong Kong. Her second Universal album At First Light was released in Norway in 2001 to massive critical acclaim. The album entered the national sales charts at no.2 and consequently became one of the biggest selling jazz CDs of the last two decades. The album is released through Universal around the world, leading to performances in Spain, England, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, USA, Denmark, Austria, Japan and Germany. Her Asian tour was classified as successful, with strong media coverage and several sold-out venues.

Shining is another Norwegian act set to travel to the other side of the globe. China is the focus of the vibrant quartet’s upcoming tour, and to court their new audience the band has chosen to tour under the Chinese equivalent of their name; Shenyang. The quartet will also take aboard two Chinese soloists for their upcoming tour. Shining is made up of members from such acclaimed and successful Norwegian acts as Jaga Jazzist, Bobby Hughes Combination, Klovner i Kamp and Oslo Fluid. Their 2001 album Where The Ragged People Go was praised by the critics who embraced the collective’s post-Coltrane take on Nordic chamber jazz.

Vocalist veteran Karin Krog is an icon on the Norwegian jazz scene with a long career including classic solo recordings and collaborations with such diverse notabilities as John Surman, Terje Rypdal and Bobby Hughes. November saw her teaming up with Norwegian guitarist Jacob Young for successful concerts at jazz festivals in Mumbai and New Delhi. Other Norwegian acts to perform in India include veteran tenor saxophonist Knut Riisnæs accompanied by his trusted quartet as well as New-Orleans jazz-icons Ytre Suløen Jazzensemble.

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