By Sam Banda Jnr In Forde, Norway:
Saturday is often associated with fun as people drown their sorrows in the deep-river-of-entertainment, but it is not often that people are treated to a cocktail of quality entertainment through music, dance and what have you.
This is why last Saturday was special to those who patronised Forde Traditional and World Music Festival in Norway.
The day turned out to be a busy, fun-filled, one for patrons, with artists from across the globe making the best of a gala night to leave lasting impressions on people who watched them strut their stuff like there is no tomorrow.
The gala night was the climax of activities because, before the night’s events, artists from all corners of the world had been busy performing at different venues.
The gala, which was beamed live in a number of television stations in Norway, had everything a patron longs for: dances, powerful voices and unmistakable sounds of traditional instruments.
Traditional instruments that created a unique connection with patrons included fiddler, accordion, drums, flutes and trumpets.
It all started, before the gala, with an afternoon family outdoor show where Otava Yo, a group of folk musicians from St Petersburg in Russia, were in a class of their own.
Maybe they spiced up the event because they were last on the list of afternoon performers and took advantage of that to, like old wine, leave patrons with fond memories that may prove too difficult to erase. As they say, best impressions last.
It, surely, was a case of one good performance after another. The audience could not have asked for more, after, after Otava Yo’s performance, they were treated to the pleasing-to-the-ear sounds from Samurai Accordion, which is made up of artists from Italy, Finland and Ireland.
With their music, Samurai Accordion showed why they are regarded as one of the groups that have contributed greatly to efforts aimed at advancing the cause of the diatonic accordion.
Sigbjorn Nedland and Kvedaren Unni Lovlid, who know Malawi as if it were at the back of their hands, hosted the gala night.
The two have been to Malawi, the Warm Heart of Africa, courtesy of the Music Digitisation as well as Talent project.
“Celebrating 30 years of the festival’s existence is no mean achievement taking into consideration that some festivals have died natural deaths along the way.
“Through this festival, people have seen a lot and learned a lot,” Sigbjorn, who also worked with Takula Band made up of the likes of Peter Mawanga, said.
As if the gala was not enough, patrons were also treated to exciting performances later on, thanks to the ingenuity of The Garifuna Collective, which brought music of the Belize onto the stage.
However, while Garifuna excited fans, who, time and again, demanded more and more, it was South Africa’s Dizu Plaatjies and Ibuyambo which killed it more than the rest.
“We are from Africa and, to be specific, South Africa. Be prepared to dance all the way because Africa does not joke when it comes to music,” Dizu, the lead vocalist, said.
He meant it.
Dressed in traditional attire, the type that is unique to South Africa and the rest of Africa, they gave a non-stop performance that left the audience dazzled and satisfied.
The group truly came for nothing less but to offer what Africa is made of.
Their scintillating performance coincided with the high-energy performance of South Africa national football team, which booted Africa Cup of Nations hosts Egypt 1-0 to make it to the quarter finals.
“We are excited to perform music from our ancestors here in Norway,” Dizu said.
Among other tools, the group played traditional instruments such as malimba, visekese, djembe and mbira, among others, to buy its way into patrons’ hearts.
“It’s been such a beautiful night; it is the first time have witnessed a group give out the best. I tried to imitate some of the dances but failed,” Torill Faleide, the festival’s communications manager, said.