STREAMING SONGS FOR SOLSTICE: ‘Under The Midnight Sun’ concert by a dozen performers, many working as guides in Svalbard, makes summer debut Sunday live on Facebook


Screenshot of Marty Garwood, a performer at the “Under The Midnight Sun” concert, from video by Antarctic Ambassadors

Unlike many recent past summers there’s no organized weekend beach party to celebrate the summer solstice, or the usual swarm of cruise ship passengers and crew wandering around town. But a celebration by a group of guides, photographers and others who often spend their summers working in Svalbard is scheduled in the form of an “Under The Midnight Sun” concert from 7-9 p.m. Sunday that will be streamed live on Facebook.

Twelve musicians/groups will play 10-minute sets each. Most list their homeland somewhere in North America (especially Canada), with some from places such as Sweden, Argentina and the Philippines – but a Google search shows many regularly work in Svalbard as part of their Arctic/Antarctic adventures.

“All are staff or crew employed within the polar expedition cruising industry, and are either musicians on board, or polar guides who also play music,” an announcement about the concert states, adding “all the musicians work both Antarctic and Arctic on expedition vessels, many for several operators.”

“It’s a real mix of styles (folk, ballad, rock, instrumental piano, fiddle…).”

Among the performers is Kevin Closs, whose “Song of Svalbard” is likely to ensure at least one location-specific composition during the concert. Also featured is Ian Tamblyn, a prolific polar musician since the 1970s, who Closs cites as a musical mentor he followed to the polar regions.

The Under the Midnight Sun concert is organized by polar guide Lauren Farmer and hosted by the Antarctic Ambassadors Facebook Page. A virtual tip jar to be split evenly amongst the musicians.

Farmer, in an e-mail, noted the first “Under The Midnight Sun” concert took place on Dec. 20, 2020, to celebrate the southern summer solstice.

“(We) had several hundred tuning in live and then over 5,000 views within a couple days of the live show,” he wrote.

The concert lineup is as follows:

7:05 p.m.: Blaise Guld, San Diego, California
7:15 p.m.: Pablo Cantua, San Diego, California
7:25 p.m.: Marty Garwood, Gothenburg, Sweden
7:35 p.m.: Joaquin Beccar Varela & Rodrigo García Galland, Buenos Aires, Argentina
7:45 p.m.: Ian Tamblyn, Chelsea, Quebec, Canada
7:55 p.m.: Katherine Wheatley, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
8:10 p.m.: Alfredo Prila, Cavite City, Philippines
8:15 p.m.: Shawn Kerr, Ottawa, Ontario Canada
8:25 p.m.: Jim Narraway, Stittsville, Ontario, Canada
8:35 p.m.: Kevin Closs, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
8:45 p.m.: Daniel Wu, Taipei, Taiwan
8:50 p.m.: Jeff Wiseman & Jacinthe Trudeau, Sudbury, Ontario Canada