Last weekend something extraordinary happened in a frozen town in Norway.
Under the first full moon of the year, musicians and onlookers bundled up against the biting cold to witness a spectacle of ice and music.
This is the Ice Music Festival held in Geilo, Norway.
“Constructed and formed exclusively from naturally harvested ice and snow, the Festival is a tribute to art, the environment and one’s of the world’s most vital resources – water. Frozen water.” 1
For 11 years now, it has brought together musicians to play on one of a kind instruments constructed from ice. From ice horns, to marimbas, to guitars, to cellos, to harps, this extraordinary aural experience is something that has to be heard to be believed.
To begin this edition of Saturdays Around the World, we start with a quick overview of the festival, and the artistry that goes into creating the ice instruments.
Convinced you may need to make a trek to Norway in the middle of winter next year? If you aren’t sure yet, perhaps hearing some more of the music and ambiance that comes out of the festival will have you booking your tickets.
After watching this video, I was transfixed by the sounds that ice could create. The instruments all sound familiar, but they have a haunting quality that gives them an otherworldly feel. After hearing a few excerpts, I wanted to know what some of the song recorded at the festival sounded like. Here is a small selection of songs from the Ice Music Festival that are truly extraordinary! (I particularly like Ice Beauty and Eadni Vuohttu Máná).
Perhaps the next top 40 hit won’t be played on ice instruments, but there is something wonderful about the novelty of an instrument inspiring new ways of creating listening experiences.
If you want to hear more musicians approaching sound in incredible new ways, I recommend checking out Rodrigo y Gabriela, a musical duo combining flamenco and rock to create a truly unique sound.
- “About.” Ice Music Festival. Ice Music Festival, n.d. Web. 24 Jan. 2016. <http://www.icemusicfestival.no/about/>. ↩
- “Sights and Sounds from Norway’s Annual Ice Music Festival | Mashable.”YouTube. Mashable, 10 Feb. 2015. Web. 25 Jan. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ko_sQ3BHPqQ>. ↩
- “Ice Music Festival 2014 – Geilo, Norway.” YouTube. Podróże LosWiaheros, 23 Jan. 2014. Web. 24 Jan. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hpfo7oNS1XY>. ↩