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Scandinavian Symphonies: Dulcet Tones of German-Norwegian Diplomacy in Berlin

Artists from Germany and Scandinavia gathered in Berlin for three days of cultural exchange through musical expression

August 09th, 2016
Hannah Sarfati, News from Berlin

From 27th to 30th July, À L’ARME! Festival returned to Berlin for its fourth edition of inter-cultural exchange through music. This year’s theme, “Inner Landscapes and Dark Chambers’’ took Berliners on a musical journey of introspection; from jazz, folk and pop to lesser known soundscapes.

Taken from the German word for noise ‘’Lärm’’ and inspired by French expression ‘’Aux Armes!’’, meaning ‘’to take up arms’’, À L’ARME! festival invited artists from all over the world to exchange, collaborate and inspire each other through music, poetry and visual art.

Through a dynamic combination of poetry, jazz, free improvisation, multimedia, psychedelic folk, drone and dark music; artists tested their respective mediums as a channel into the innermost spaces of personal experience. This intimate and introspective setting enabled many collaborations, such as the intergenerational and international trio composed of the American saxophonist Joe McPhee and the Norwegian Noise Jazz Dream Team Lasse Marhaug/Pal Nilssen-Love.

This musical expedition was pervaded by a strong Scandinavian influence, through the presence of notable Norwegian, Swedish and Danish musicians. Among them were the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, Swedish vocalists Sofia Jernberg and Fred Lonberg – Holm and Danish saxophonist Mette Rasmussen.

À L’ARME! is one of many projects funded by the Hauptstadt Kultur Fonds (HKF) - established by the Federal German Ministry for Culture and Media, which supports artistic projects in Berlin that foster inter-cultural exchange. For this edition, the Norwegian Embassy worked closely with the HKF to promote Norwegian musical talent. The festival brought together a variety of artists, working from within and beyond the borders of musical genres and countries to inspire each other. As a common denominator to all cultures – and yet, so diverse in its expression – music is a perfect instrument of cultural diplomacy.


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