The Førde Festival - A “Peace Corps” for 27 years

 

REVIEW in FIRDA (local newspaper) 
Arild R. Sætre, Førde

The festival has launched

Many have long known it. The Festival management have known it all along. This year it happened. This year, what has gradually been evolving since the Førde Festival saw the light of day almost 30 years ago, happened. Everyone who attended the opening concert in Førdehuset felt it. The same likely applies to everyone who attended the gala concert on Saturday.

 
Antti and Esko Järvelä. Foto: Oddleiv Apneseth

Antti and Esko Järvelä. Foto: Oddleiv Apneseth

 

The air in the hall reverberated, like when an aircraft taxis along the runway to take off. The force became gradually stronger. With many generations of primordial force and strength it took off. With folk music's magical power of love, the festival launched and flew off into the world. We were all caught up in the turbulence and elevated to another dimension.

The festival has come of age

It has grown steadily the whole time. Everyone who has followed the festival has seen it: A management who has worked hard and with a mission throughout these years, with a force of accomplishment only those who possess a grand vision can have.

They have defied all critics. There have been mumbles of purism and preaching to the choir on several occasions, but the management has never been tempted to promote commercially-based musical solutions for short-term financial gain. They have known that the force inherent in folk music itself is strong enough, and at one point everyone else would recognize that too. It is this that has gradually happened, and which detonatedthis year.

In addition, they have always been creative in every way, both with regard to new premises, concert arenas, information work, festival topics and in the selection of artists.

At the opening concert many of the top Nordic folk musicians were gathered on one and the same stage. Through symphonic force and strength, folk music was elevated to an entirely new level. One may think that now the folk musicians have employed symphonic effects and instrumentation to achieve greater importance and gravity. But that's not what happened.

This wasn't constructed art music, but a pure folk music primordial force arranged and presented in such a professional and forceful way that everyone in the hall was impacted by this force and intuitively recognized that folk music is the mother of all music genres.

At the gala concert on Saturday it happened again. This time international artists were present too. When the folk music primordial force with the strength of a big band and instrumentation in the final act was blasted across the sports hall, everyone in the venue likely felt that they were a part of something huge and magical.

The force, intensity and professionalism achieved the same level as at the opening concert.

From the primordial force of the joik in new tech dressing to klezmer music dished up with enough force and commitment to bring out the revolutionary in an otherwise sober person from Sunnfjord.

The force, intensity and professionalism achieved the same level as at the opening concert.
 
 

A reversed revolution

“A revolution must be possible to dance to” one of the klezmer musicians said. This is perhaps at the core of it all. Folk music possesses a primordial force that brings out the revolutionary in us all. Not for a brutal and violent revolution like what is served up in the news every day. 

But a reverse revolution. A revolution that has no goal of power or suppression. A revolution from within. From the deepest place in all humans. A revolution that draws energy from the inner inherent force of love that the music has. A revolution we can dance to. No one goes to war against someone they have played with. No one attacks anyone who by way of various musical expressions has shared their innermost emotions, woes and pleasures with you.

“A revolution must be possible to dance to” one of the klezmer musicians said. 
 
 

In the world of music, borders are non-existent. Borders are artificial and man-made. Cultural exchange across borders is, in my opinion, work for peace. Probably the most important work for peace that takes place. Over the centuries it has been proven that lasting peace does not arise from pompous speeches at large conferences dominated by men. Lasting peace must come from within. It must grow out of and be presented in a language everyone understands. The language without words. The primordial force and the fundamental language of love that music represents.

This was, as I perceived it, the underlying message of the opening concert and gala concert. Two concerts that result in TV programmes that will be communicated to the entire country and perhaps to the whole world. With so much primordial force and so much professionalism at every stage, everything from stage workers, camera people, presenters, producers and musicians, this will, in my opinions, convince everyone who sees it that there is hope. That world peace is possible, and that this peace will be a result of other things than what many previously have believed.

Olof Johansson, Olav Luksengård Mjelva, Jorun Marie Kvernberg all composed new music for the opening concert. Foto: Knut Utler

Olof Johansson, Olav Luksengård Mjelva, Jorun Marie Kvernberg all composed new music for the opening concert. Foto: Knut Utler

A peace corps for 27 years

The Norwegian Peace Corps (FK Norway is moving to Førde. That's a good thing. In my opinion we have had a peace corps here for 27 years. The Førde Festival is a peace corps, a peace corps with a grand vision, and which perhaps others have noted – a peace corps mainly run by women. Perhaps it is this type of peace corps that will win peace awards in the future.

The Festival has come of age and is ready to bring this important message to the world. The Festival has launched.

When the folk music primordial force with the strength of a big band and instrumentation in the final act blasted across the sports hall, everyone in the venue likely felt that they were a part of something huge and magical.

 
Torill Faleide