By John Owoo
(In Vejle – Denmark)
A number of Danish cities and towns in the Jutland region recently turned colorful with highly magnetic performances by folk music and dance groups from several countries.
Performing as part of the 2016 edition of the Triangle Folklore Festival, groups from Latvia, Italy, Indonesia, Taiwan, Serbia, Denmark and the United States among others, they powerfully showcased the similarities and indeed the differences of European folk music and dance.
With music characterized by a strop/lie structure and lines that are repeated several times – each time with different words – the dancers follow in unison as they move in various directions amidst flying and hovering of costumes.
“It is a memorable event performed by marvelous artists – some of whom have international acclaim – I was extremely delighted with the classical folk dances and the colourful costumes”, said Mette Nielsen, an anthropologist in the town of Vibourg.
With dance episodes piling up with irresistibly increasing urgency during most of the performances – the audience, majority of whom are elderly, simply immersed themselves in the performances as rain and winds turned into an integral part of the outdoor performances.
With accordions, guitars, violins, drums, harps, banjos, flutes, horns alongside vocals, music from the various groups often appeared to be a stream of entrancing sound in which long tones drift across vocal laments alongside thudding low drumbeats and shy sax interjections.
With violinist Steffan Søgaard Sørensen and guitarist Peter Eget Hansen opening performances of gala shows in theatres, the scene is always set for a magical display of the richness, similarities and diversity of folk music and dance forms, which inundate the cities and towns of Jutland every third year.
“The music is sophisticated and atmospheric – it veers between ambient and soul styles – it is pleasant rather than exciting – I always look forward to this festival”, added Henrik Henriksen, a retired doctor in city of Vejle.
The initiative to initiate the Triangle Folklore Festival came from Rejseholdet, a dance group of young dancers and musicians, who toured the world showcasing Danish folk music and dance.