TIMES OF INDIA: Rock and folk fusion in a Nordic treat


Rock and folk fusion in a rare Nordic treat

TNN | Mar 30, 2016, 01.01 AM IST

Gurgaon: ‘What the (profanity) is Ljodahatt?’ is a question asked on the homepage of this band’s website.

On Monday night, the lucky audience who turned up for the octet’s show in the city (an eightsome joined by two Hindustani Classical musicians) got an answer, an intimate yet expressive set of songs in which Floydian rock cosied up to pastoral folk. The Norwegians were playing on the closing day of the 3rd Connections Festival of performing arts.

Ljodahatt’s performance, their first in India, brought to mind reverb-drenched walls of sound and lava lamps. But the only thing remotely trippy about the evening was the Nordic poetry, which formed the lyrics to each of the band’s compositions. Tethered by a robust rhythm section and lifted by layers of guitar and piano (with accordion, violin and concertina punching sweetly above their weight), the verses bobbed like boats on water, while the atmospherics dipped and soared like a flock of birds in mid-flight.

This was music that harked back to the mood-shifting, multi-layered rock of the 1960s – even to the extent of the Eastern influence. Puranjoy Guha on the mandolin and Rupak Mukherjee on flute were more than worthy accompanists to the ensemble. The lyrics, meanwhile, drew inspiration from Norwegian poetry of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, from bards like the unheralded Olaf Nygard (« with us today », said frontman Magne Havard Brekke), as well as from Norse verses of 1,500 years back.

Understatedly witty, the words were ideal collaborators to the music, impish partners in crime in this Scandinavian psychedelia. There was the digging-your-heels-in-defiance of ‘I’m standing me, got it’ (Olaf H Hauge), the poetic and life-affirming ‘It needs just a little memory’ (Nygard) and the short-but-shot-through-with-profundity ‘Two televisions’ (‘and in the end, we need not understand each other’). Dreamscapes swapped places with landscapes, philosophy mingled with wry observations. In Ljodahatt’s lyrics, humour wasn’t too far from the surface.

Ljodahatt are Hasse Bjornstad (bass guitar and vocal), Etienne Bonhomme (drums and vocal), Magne Havard Brekke (composer, violin and vocal), Stale Caspersen (composer, piano, accordion, guitar and vocal), Vidar Odmunsen (electric guitar, piano and vocal), Laurent Petitgand (composer, electric guitar, piano and vocal), Eirik Mannsaker Roald (cello and vocal) and Rainer Sumilch (composer, trumpet, concertina and vocal). Evoking the silences of a fjord, and the tempest of the ocean, Ljodahatt more than lived up to its name of ‘troll-song’. It made for an exhilarating musical ride.



Crossing language barriers through music – Ljodahått

Photo: Ljodahått.Photo: Ljodahått

Crossing language barriers through music

Last updated: 01.04.2016 // Ljodahått is a musical group that combines classical Norwegian literature and self-composed music to great response from audiences all over the world. This week they played several concerts in New Delhi. 

This is the group’s first visit to India and they were anxious about the reactions to their music. “India is a country with an incredibly important musical culture that has influenced many Western artists and we are very honoured for the opportunity to play here,” says Ljodahått frontman Magne Håvard Brekke.

Brekke started the group together with fellow artists from all over Europe. All the songs are in Norwegian, but group believes the music and the sound of a foreign language open up for a personal interpretation of the music from everyone in the audience. “When we play abroad in Europe the various audiences seemed to understand beyond words. I am positive that was the case at the concerts in India as well,” comments Brekke.

Ljodahått played concerts at several festivals and the Piano Man Jazz bar in Delhi. There were great crowds turning up to hear their performances and the response was very enthusiastic. According to Brekke, two Indian musicians joined them onstage for the last concerts, which helped bridge a cultural divide.

The lyrics have been taken from well-known Norwegian poets and authors and Ljodahått composes music to go with the texts. “We mix texts from different periods of time and from various places in Norway,” Brekke notes. “It is very inspiring to use these traditional texts and convey their message and cultural meaning through a different medium,” he adds.

Norwegian music institutions have been very supportive of the group and they hope to establish a partnership with Concerts Norway (Rikskonsertene) in the near future. Now the band is off to Bangalore for a last concert there. After such great response this may not be their last trip to India.


Book(2)_festival_logo5 of the best spoken word events at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Featuring Ross Sutherland, Liz Lochhead and
Norwegian troupe Ljodahått

Source: The List Date: 1 August 2013 (updated 6 Aug 2013) Written by: Rachel McCrum

One word, folks: ‘TROLLSONG’. Which is the rough translation of the Norwegian word Ljodahått. This Norwegian troupe are a musical collective who aim to give new life to a huge range of Norwegian poetry with an original live music score. Rich, dark cabaret.

Book Festival highlights :
The sound of Norway
Yesterday evening’s Jura Unbound when the magnificent Ljodahått brought their intriguing blend of poetry and music all the way from Norway …



HAMSUNSENTERET – The Hamsun Centre

knut-hamsun-150Hvad er Ljodahått? Udover at være et versemål i norrøn digtning er det også en spændende gruppe musikere fra flere europæiske lande med norske Magne Håvard Brekke i front, som har samlet sig for at fremføre det bedste af norsk digtning – på norsk! Der iblandt selvfølgelig også Knut Hamsun. Desuden alt fra Hans Børli over Olav H.Hauge til Tarjei Vesaas. Deres nye CD bok « Eg stend eg, seddu » blev fremført på release-koncert på den berømte Volksbühne i Berlin og den tyske avis TAZ skrev bl.a.: « ..Man hätte ihnen tausende [Zuhörer]gewünscht, denn sie geben ein erstklassiges Konzert » og « das Bandprojekt Ljodahått ein herrliches Himmelfahrtskommando.. » (man ønsker dem tusindvis af tilhørerer, da de giver en førsteklasses koncert) og (bandprojektet Ljodahått er et herlig selvmordsforetagende). Nu er det lykkedes at få gruppen til Oslo og give koncert på Litteraturhuset i Oslo den 13. og 14. april. Kig ind hos www.litteraturhuset.no og bestill biletter. Du kan også kigge ind hos ljodahatt.com og få smakebiter av programmet eller se facebook  . God fornøjelse med et unikt spændende projekt!

What is Ljodahått? Apart from being a metre in old norse poetry, it is also an exiting project, where skilled musicians from several European contries fronted by Norwegian Magne Håvard Brekke have gathered to perform the best of Norwegian poetry – in norwegian! Including off-course Knut Hamsun and all the way from Hans Børli over Olav H.Hauge to Tarjei Vesaas. Their new CD album « Eg stend eg, seddu » was released at a concert in the famous Volksbühne in Berlin and the German newspaper TAZ wrote: « ..Man hätte ihnen tausende [Zuhörer]gewünscht, denn sie geben ein erstklassiges Konzert » og « das Bandprojekt Ljodahått ein herrliches Himmelfahrtskommando.. » (one wish them thousends of fans, as they offer a first-class concert) and (the project Ljodahått is a terrific suicidal attac). Oslo has succeded in getting the group to Norway to give concerts at the Litteraturhuset in Oslo on April 13. and 14. Do visit www.litteraturhuset.no to order tickets. Visit also ljodahatt.com to get a sample of their programme or visit them at Facebook . Please enjoy this unique and exiting project!

13. und 14. April 2012:
Ljodahått in Litteraturhuset in Oslo. 
Høren und sehen Sie eine spannende Gruppierung von Musikern aus mehreren europäischen Ländern, die das Beste aus der norwegischen Poesie vortragen – in norwegisch! – darunter selbstverständlich Knut Hamsun. Nach einem sehr gelobten Konzert in der Volksbühne in Berlin, ist es gelungen die Gruppe ins Litteraturhuset in Oslo zu holen. Kontaktieren Sie 
www.litteraturhuset.no für Kartenreservierung und nehmen Sie die Gelegenheit wahr, diese Gruppe auf einem seltenen Besuch in Norwegen zu erleben!

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