Swedish musicians to ‘Jam For Japan’

Several Swedish musicians have agreed to take part in “Jam for Japan”– a Sunday-afternoon jam session being organized to raise money for Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief, contributor Anita Badejo discovers.

Swedish musicians to 'Jam For Japan'

The jam session, which is to take place on Sunday, March 27th at the Loch & Quay restaurant and bar in Stockholm, is set to feature some 22 musicians, an MC, and two acts for in-between sessions, says organiser Josh Thorne.

“Right now, it’s looking pretty big. We’ve got some great names on the roster and we’ve got some promises of more coming through and we’re getting sponsors for it in terms of instruments and in terms of refreshments for the musicians. Everything’s falling into place at the moment,” Thorne says of the event which was first conceived of only last Thursday.

Thorne, who is CEO & Executive Producer of Against All Odds – a Stockholm-based film production company – says his “other life is as a musician,” and came up with the idea with a musician friend after learning of the unfolding crisis in Japan.

“It just felt like a call,” Thorne says, later remarking, “I don’t do this normally. But I just feel so strongly about the whole thing that I just needed to do something about it.”

After deciding to organize the event last Thursday, Thorne immediately began contacting friends in the music and entertainment industries to elicit their help and participation.

According to Thorne, their responses have been overwhelmingly positive.

“They’re jumping at it. It’s so good. So good,” he says, adding that the list of participating musicians is set to grow further this week in the days leading up to the event.

“There’s a list of, in Sweden at least, really good names on the roster,” Thorne says.

“The level of musicianship is nice and high, so that basically means we can play any kind of standard cover. But, I think we may keep it to a kind of ‘soully,’ kind of ‘funky,’ kind of ‘bluesy,’ feel to the whole evening. It certainly won’t be a whole evening of pop music, that’s for sure. And it won’t be electronic. No way. It’s pure live, as it should be.”

According to Thorne, the musicians to participate in the session include drummers, vocalists, guitarists, bassists, a trumpeter, and a saxophone player.

“The fun of it all, I think, is that the stage is open for anyone to step up and play,” he says.

In addition, Thorne expects a diverse audience to attend.

“It’s just going to be, for the audience’s sake, a real big mixed bag of everything form 6-year-olds up to 70-year-olds– if not older. Actually, I know one person who’s 76 and she’s definitely coming!”

“It’s looking like it’s going to be a really nice, concrete event for the cause.”

“Jam For Japan” will take place on Sunday, March 27th at the Loch & Quay restaurant and bar on Skeppsbron in Stockholm. Tickets can be purchased at the door and cost 50 kronor. All proceeds will go to the Red Cross of Sweden. In addition, the event will be broadcast live on the video streaming site USTREAM.

By Anita Badejo

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Malmö performance of Mahler’s Fifth ends in brawl

A fist fight broke out at a performance of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No.5 in Malmö on Thursday night, after a listener was sent into a rage by another rustling a bag of gum.

Malmö performance of Mahler's Fifth ends in brawl
Andris Nelsons and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Photo: Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
The conflict began shortly after the renowned Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons brought the bombastic introduction to the fourth movement to a shuddering halt, leading his Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra deftly into the movement's slow, atmospheric adagietto, wrote the Sydsvenskan newspaper.
At this point that the rustling on the second balcony became apparent, ruining the effect of the gently soaring strings and softly plucked harp for all sitting nearby. 
After a few minutes, a young man sitting next to the woman with the chewing gum lost patience, snatched the bag from her hands and threw it to the floor. 
A witness told the Sydsvenskan that the woman had appeared chastened, sitting in silence throughout the rest of the 70-minute romantic epic, the performance of which has been likened to climbing Mount Everest. 
The moment the music stopped, however, she took her revenge. 
“When the applause broke out, the woman turned towards the man and said something,” Britt Aspenlind, who was sitting two rows behind the pair, told the newspaper. “The woman gave the younger man a slap right in his face. He became angry and started fighting back.” 
Another witness said that the blow had been powerful enough to knock the man's glasses from his face. The woman's companion, an older man, then seized him by his shirt, and began to throw punches in his direction. 
Olof Jönsson, who was sitting in the row behind, described the onslaught as “a violent attack”. “It was very unpleasant actually. I've never seen anything like it,” he told Sydsvenskan. 
Eventually, the other audience members managed to calm the two sides down and they went home. 
After news of the brawl was published in Sydsvenskan, the concert venue Malmö Live posted a light-hearted list of concert etiquette. 
“Everyone thinks it is wonderful to sit at a hockey or football match and drink a beer or coffee and eat little snacks…” it said. “In a concert hall with world class acoustics it is not however suitable to bring rustling bags of crisps.” 
Anna-Maria Havskogen, the venue's communication chief, said she had felt that this was a rare moment when the venue could bring such matters to the public's attention. 
“We seized the opportunity and felt that it was a good situation to write something up about etiquette and correct behaviour,” she said. “Normally we have no such misbehaviour, you could say, but we realized the news value.” 
Asked whether the venue had other concerts planned which might be considered high risk, Havskogen initially said there were none, before following up with a text message sent to the newspaper. 
“Possibly Verdi's Requiem on November 1st and 2nd could be a high-risk concert actually,” she wrote. “Extremely powerful, will awaken strong feelings….”