"WE LOVE YOU NORWAY!" - is what Wanda yelled to the rest of the train when we wrapped up our last night in Drammen. The passengers applauded. We made lots of music and new friends, saw some old friends, drank a lot of Aaas (beer) and took in the beautiful scenery on our very successful first trip to Norway! Not to mention two of our outdoor performances were threatened by storms, but thanks to Wanda and her 'rain dance' the weather was perfect!
We want to give a special thank you and shout out to the ladies, Gro, Eva, and Jorun, as well as everybody else who so graciously put us up and took care of us. We can't wait to come back!
Here's a look at our first few days and shows in Drammen:
We got a great review from the second show of the trip in the local n newspaper covering the festival. They gave a score of 6 out of 6 (on the orange die) in their rating system!
Here is the translated version:
The river festival's hidden gem and strongest concert experience.
Soul Project NOLA: The river festival's only artist of international format is not on stage in the Byparken, but delivers live music for dice roll six in a terrific show on the opposite side of the river - completely free.
CONCERT REPORT: A few hundred expectant attendees had probably caught word of mouth after the same band kicked off the Elvefestivalen with a sold-out and exclusive intimate concert at Becks Brasserie and Bar on Thursday evening - and made sure to fill the amphitheater at "Portalen" to the brim on Friday evening
Here, New Orleans-based Soul Project NOLA had to go to the press out in the open, and delivered immediately. The band plays a kind of lively crossover between jazz, funk, blues and reggae, and undoubtedly has a fierce register to play on both melodically and vocally.
Long, intense instrumental parts sent both the ravaging audience and the guests from the neighboring restaurant into impulsive dancing in a way that you wouldn't think possible among staunch and rigid Norwegians.
The American band members have an impressive CV, the craftsmanship is rock solid and the rhythms fit like a bullet - this is through and through musical joy in its purest form, and which received well-deserved stomping song after song.
It is no less impressive that this band brought from the USA to Drammen, has been booked and arranged by the two local pensioners Gro Bjørge and Eva Grønseth, who themselves have arranged sponsorship funds and private accommodation to get it all in place. Lucky are the Elvefestivalen who get this stellar gallery served on a silver platter as part of the official programme!
For those who do not allow themselves to be tempted by faded Norwegian rappers from the 2000s and the Russel song producers in the city park, we strongly recommend a trip here - the concert is repeated on Saturday at Union Brygge/Papirbredden!
High praise indeed! Thanks for the kind words!
The final show, however, proved to to be a truly "groundbreaking" experience!
After a full day of music on the Union Brygge/Papirbredden stage (thanks to the big band and the Jazz kids) the Soul Project FUAS brought the crowd to it's feet once more to dance the night away. We didn't mean to, we swear, but apparently the people were dancing so hard that the next morning a sinkhole appeared directly under the dance floor! Thankfully no-one was injured, and though rumor has it that there have been issues with sinkholes in the area before, we are sticking by our story that it was our "groundbreaking" performance that was the culprit this time!!!
All in all it was a great trip full of food, music, fun and good people.
"We love you Norway", and can't wait to come back!
Some More Pics From The Trip