Siv Øyunn Kjenstad is among Norway’s most aspiring drummers. At our festival we particularly appreciate her fondness for the frenetic polyrhythms that are prominent in West African sabar and mbalax. It proves that Kjenstad is blessed with ears for the extraordinary.
We’re obviously not the only ones to think so. When she was a 19-year-old percussion student to-be, Kjenstad joined percussion ensemble Batagraf, led by Jon Balke (who also performs during this year’s festival). In more recent times, she has been in the band of another Norwegian jazz legend: Bugge Wesseltoft’s New Conception of Jazz.
Having outgrown the formative jazz pop projects Ósk and Chili Vanilla, Kjenstad now stands firmly on her own feet. With the alias Øyunn – she has made a sonic play ground where there, among other things, is room for her fascination of West African music traditions.
Here she alternates between composed material and the purely improvised; between the melodic and challenging. Øyunn is in other words an open landscape, but one where rivers, valleys and hills follow an intuitive pattern. Thus the concert at this year’s festival will be, in a sense, the only one of its kind.
The concert with Øyunn is commission work made for the festival.
Featuring: Siv Øyunn Kjenstad: Drums, vocals, synth and electronics
Text: Kim Klev