Category Archives: Audio

RAINBOW CONNECTION: A priest, a governor, a mayor, teachers and kids show their colors in Svalbard’s first Pride parade – and everybody (plus nature and/or God) is totally cool with it

prideparade

Lene Jeanette Dyngeland’s story is like plenty of others: she first visited Svalbard three years ago and cancelled her return ticket to her hometown of Bergen because she loved Longyearbyen enough to live here. But in an “open borders” community with residents from more than 50 countries her imported persona includes falling in love with any person regardless of their gender – and like everyone else’s distinctions it hasn’t really raised any eyebrows.

“I haven’t noticed anything here in Longyearbyen that discriminates by sexuality,” she told about 250 people gathering Saturday afternoon at the end of Longyearbyen’s first Pride parade, which she organized. “But we have to remember the world is a big place.”

Full of scat: Visitors inspire locals to be extra expressive – on stage and off – during this year’s Polarjazz fest

polarjazzopenbarentsburg

Which is worse: being a local who’s totally owned by an intruder during an on-stage jam or being an intruder who’s drowned out by the locals?

Both…neither…actually, it’s not really an answerable question given the nature of the world’s northernmost jazz festival.

The notable lack of jazz at a festival supposedly featuring the genre is hardly unique here, but over the years Polarjazz has become as much a social gathering as a musical one. Longyearbyen residents found themselves extra expressive at this year’s five-day festival that ended Sunday, although at times that wasn’t necessarily a good thing.

Random weirdness for the week of Feb. 17, 2015

Le Monde polarjazz

We can’t understand a word of it (beyond “Svalbard,” “Longyearbyen” and a few names, of course), but Le Monde nevertheless has one of the best online articles we’ve ever seen of Polarjazz (even if they got the name slightly wrong) by an uncredited artist who presents the festival as a graphic novel with song and interview audio clips.

Prodigal sons: Returning Svalbard residents cause for killing the fattened riff at Polarjazz festival

svalbardkirkestrio

Spend 18 months writing a complex Mass and then bring in a handful of musicians to learn it during a week they’re busy with other projects? Challenging, certainly, but it’s not like trying to bring peace to the Middle East.

Burning Desire: Polarjazz aims for new musical and geographical boundaries

preview concert

Forget cigarette lighters. If you want to be a flamer at a concert in Svalbard you’d best bring a torch.