Norway in London… Long Live ECM!
The calendar is full but the future is blank.
The wires hum the folk-tune of some forgotten land.
Snow-fall on the lead-still sea. Shadows
scrabble on the pier
(Black Postcards by Tomas Tranströmer, version by Robin Robertson in The Deleted World)
Last week’s London Jazz Festival featuring many Nordic musicians set me thinking again about national identity, but this time wondering if a combination of nations can have a discernible identity. Nordic (a broader term than Scandinavian which strictly refers just to Sweden, Norway and Denmark, Nordic includes Finland and Iceland and their dependencies) has lately been applied to areas of culture such as crime novels (and their associated TV series, notably Wallander and The Killing), as well as jazz. It has become a useful catchphrase (and of course marketing tool) signifying angst, gloom, icy landscapes, long dark winters, introspection etc. Inevitably becoming cliched such generalisations usually start with…
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