Rob Hope interviews Tshawe Baqwa from Madcon

Oslo World Music Festival

  |   Oslo

Vocal Chords Recordist Robert Hope continues his journey around Europe, this time making his way to the Oslo World Music Festival;

My first exposure to the Oslo World Music Festival having arrived in the city an hour earlier was at a venue I think fitting for an event that brings people together in celebration of music. At the Nobel Peace Centre on the waterfront was the seminar ‘The Soundtrack of a nation’, also the theme of this year’s festival, and it very much set the tone for the week ahead.
At this seminar the exploration of the idea that music says “something about who we are and where we come from” was the focus along with the role music has had to play in contributing to nations around the world, from its influence, if any, on the Arab Spring, to the democratization of South Africa. This was intertwined with a transfixing musical performance from Senegalese artist Solo Cissoko, and intriguing interviews that I conducted with people such as Ole Reitov, executive director of Freemuse, an organisation advocating freedom of expression worldwide for musicians, and South African born Norwegian member of global smash hip-hop group Madcon, Tshawe Baqwa.

Rob Hope interviews Tshawe Baqwa from Madcon

Rob Hope interviews Tshawe Baqwa from Madcon, photo by Lars Opstad 

This festival proved to be a unique way to take in the city of Oslo as each concert took place at a different venue, strewn across varying sections of the city. This made for somewhere between relaxed and furious scurrying from place to place, taking in city sights along the way as I attempted to catch as many of the wonderful acts on show as possible.

Oslo city

In between the concerts I had the pleasure of interviewing fascinating artists ranging from Mongolian and Sami Finnish members of Nordic Namgar, Namgar Lkhasaranova and Niillas Holmberg; to South Africa’s wailing Bafana Nhlapo, and member of art and music collective The Brother Moves On, Siyabonga Mthembu. While there were so many stunning concerts, such as that of Tuvanian throat singers Huun-Huur-Tu at the beautiful venue Victoria Nasjonal Jazzscene, The Brother Moves On in particular put on a show at the venue Blå, which created an intense, almost euphoric atmosphere amongst the crowd, who showed their appreciation through trance infused dancing.

Once again the musicians encountered as part of this series never fail to inspire and this week in the city of Oslo will live long in memory.

Robert Hope