I usually work with all senses when I compose, be it dark or light, hot or cold, sea or mountains, and then put in the lyrics where I end up. The text is the core and what guides me as a guiding star in the darkness when I want to move on and open a new door. Sometimes I go in circles, but sometimes - when I'm lucky - I end up in a new place with the help of the words, the music, the fellow musicians, or usually a combination of everything.
For Vestnorsk Jazzensemble, I wanted to achieve something clear, dry and honest. Something a little scratchy, a little embracing, my own material reworked into a completely new sounding space where it bubbles, sweeps, swings and is crushed.
But most of all I want to find a setting that feels dynamic and exciting, that can rise high against a glowing sky and then dive deep into underground darkness.
Two strings and a harp, two wind instruments and a guitar, as separate units or two sides of the same sheet in coexistence and conversation – where they grow together, draw from, interact and expand the music.
With such a wonderful line-up and above all an ensemble composed of strong individualists, I am looking forward to a musical journey with re-arranged material from both my solo project Mariam the Believer, and from my drum duo Wildbirds & Peacedrums in new and unexpected variations, plus completely new music created just for this ensemble.
I hope that together we will be able to find something indefinable and free, wild and beautiful, something that can sit tight and whisper "life is here right now, take it!"
Mariam Wallentin is an artist with a big heart, when it comes to both personal and general themes. Like a modern Alice Coltrane, spirituality and music meet.
With musical roots partly in improvisation and avant-garde, partly in pop and soul, Wallentin's career has crossed several multifaceted territories; Mariam is half of the drum duo Wildbirds & Peacedrums and one of the creative forces and composer in the big band jazz explosion Fire! Orchestra.
She has worked with bands like Deerhof and Konono no 1, featuring a choir, string ensemble and symphony orchestra, toured with St Vincent and Lykke Li, sang for Björk at the Polar Music Prize awards and participated in an experimental opera by noise musician Ben Frost.
She has sung a specially written piece by Daniel Bjarnason, been a guest on albums by Leonard Cohen and Refused, collaborated with Damien Rice and Feist, composed a concert piece and song cycle called The Wishing Well, won the Manifesto Prize, the Jazz Cat Award and has been nominated several times for Grammys.
With her uncompromising approach to music, she started The Believer in 2013 to focus on a more pop-oriented project. Mariam The Believer has released two acclaimed albums and three EPs on her own label Repeat Until Death.
Mariam Wallentin is an artist who dares and who moves.
One of the most powerful expressions of 'the Nordic sound' belongs to Hildegunn Øiseth. Whether it's with the trumpet or the French horn, she fills the room with an energetic and poetic warmth that is uniquely hers. Along the way, she has juggled the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and Marilyn Mazur at the same time as touring with her own music - and has released four records.
Underground pop star with a jazz background. Played in Cloroform together with Kaada, and member of Wunderkammer. Has also worked extensively with Morten Abel. Freer music with Frode Gjerstad in Circulatione Totale Orchestra and Didrik Ingvaldsen in Pocket Corner.
Stavanger's nyMusikk manager, and cross-genre violinist with a master's degree from NTNU. Equally at home in the Kitchen Orchestra and with Gunhild Seim as in the improv landscape with Vidar Schanche. Also seen constantly in full symphonic unfolding with the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra.
Star saxophonist with a recent doctorate. Alternating between life as a pop star in Datarock, and constantly exploring, curious and innovative music in his own projects, together with, among others, 'Snah' from Motorpsycho. Background from The Core, Ultralyd, Zanussi 5, Crimetime Orchestras and a million other bands.
Spanish master cellist who studied at the Grieg Academy in Bergen. Crosses the boundaries between classical music and pop – equally at home with Dvořák as with Doddo.
One of Norway's leading percussionists who has spent his career taking advantage of the world around him. First with home-made wooden instruments together with, among others, Karl Seglem and Arve Henriksen, later with glass instruments, and instruments made of ice.
Bass player who sounds modern and traditional at the same time. Studied jazz at the Grieg Academy in Bergen. In great demand as a freelancer – from wild jazz to theatre productions to touring with the pop phenomenon Sigrid.
Noise guitarist with Kjetil Møster, Paal Nilssen-Love and Mats Gustafsson in Noxagt, Ultralyd and Moha!, among others. He has also immersed himself in Norwegian folk music with a custom-made langeleik, and is at home on a drum stool.
Classical background before venturing into Celtic and Scandinavian folk music, and going on to achieve cult status as a tango harpist, where she has also developed new techniques for the instrument. Among other things, she has worked with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and played at the biggest tango festivals in the world.