Gyrid Nordal Kaldestad is a composer from the island of Stord on the west coast of Norway, now living in Oslo. She is coming to Bodø with the project Sad Truth.
Her background is in improvisation and electro-acoustic music, working with voice / song, live electronics, field recording and text writing for use ins songs and installations. She has been working as a composer and musician with theatre and dance performances where live electronics and electro-acoustic soundscapes has been a key part of the expression.
Gyrid is concerned with the relationship between the pure acoustic sound and various degrees of processing. Her main focus is working with sound and text in different forms (installations, concerts, improvisation), and is using amplified objects of different kinds as instruments and loudspeakers. Her collaborators in recent years include the Montreal- based percussion quartet Architek Percussion, and the London- based violinist Mira Benjamin, Are Lothe Kolbeinsen and Anne Hytta in her trio Kaldestad, and the project Processing the surroundings with composers Tine Surel Lange and Kristin Bolstad.
Do you have any thoughts on music’s role in our identity? Do you think of your self as a Nordic composer?
I think music can be a very important part of our identity, and that we in different phases of our lives relate differently to music. For me, music has been very important as a way to connect to the world in a way. By that I mean that music and art has been a way to see that there are some people out there that see the world in a way that you feel connected to. I do listen to a great variety of genres, and see qualities in all of them. A funny thing is that when I discuss music with colleagues and collaborators now, I quite often find some links to music of my youth- and not the mainstream music, but prog rock like Yes and King Crimson or rap that was popular years after I was a teenager, like Eminem or music like Joni Mitchell, Chet Baker, John Coltrane, Tom Waits or Bob Dylan. It is something about a certain mood, mind set or energy that resonates. Do I see myself as a Nordic composer? Well, I am not sure what defines a Nordic composer exept from living in the North, but for sure I know that my music often is melancholy and slow and I have heard people use poetic about it. But I think that has more to do with finding something that can be a contrast to my hectic daily life more than anything else! Not so much inspired by mountains or the northern light I think.
Is music, often wordless, freer than other art forms? Any thoughts on this?
I think that in music we can work with emotions, expresspolitical standpoints or make images without using words or pictures , and for me this can relate to a feeling of being free. Although I write texts and use them in some parts of my work, I have tried to work more purely sound based in the recent years to see if the music can stand alone without the text. This has been an experience of being free yes. But if it is freer than other art forms I am not so sure about. Contemporay dance and theatre has for me some of the same qualities, and also more abstract light and video art. A lot of artists work interdiciplinary these days, and for me that is a way of being free. Not having to relate to traditions and expectations, but letting yourself be inspired by other ways of seeing the world.
The Sad Truth project must have been a very intense week and you worked both with your own ideas and projects, helping on other projects and some collective things. How do you like this form of togetherness?
Yes, it was quite intense, and very inspiring in many ways. I have been working a lot with contemporary dance and theatre, and tend to make pieces that involve the musicians I work with in the compositional process, so I like collaborative work. But being at Fleinvær was different, because I did not know most of the people I met there. I really enjoyed making music to art films, and being a part of the «use- trash- to -save -trash -project» where I challenged myself to do things I never have done before, like diving with a wet suit in ice cold water, using a sinking belt. That was great fun! I also really enjoyed our collective discussons about sound and sound memories. And also about our concerns about the changes in the world, not only the climate issues, but the polarization in the political debate. Being able to stay for a whole week in such an amazing place- in the middle of the wild nature with seals and eagles drifting by- feels so priviliged. I also think that to work interdiciplinary is very rewarding because you learn to see or hear things from different perspectives. I have always had interests in photo, writing, dancing/performing and music and I guess this has made a strong impact on why I do the things I do today.
This spring, we sent 6 artists to the small island of Fleinvær. There they collected sounds, pictures, films, impressions and togetherness, under the heading “Sad Truth”. Human beings are intellectually equipped to choose whether to live in equilibrium with nature as a whole, or take care of its diversity. Why then do we choose not to do that which is obviously important and right? We are the first generation to have both the knowledge and tools to take action – if we only had the will. So, when the words that form the social debate are drained of their power, perhaps a space opens up for art and music to meaningfully contribute.