Rebekka Karijord and Linnea Olsson at the Union Chapel
Rebekka Karijord is known for her quirky stage persona, film compositions and her critically acclaimed albums Neophyte and The Noble Art of Letting Go. Last October the enigmatic performer managed to popularise her style of music by releasing her third and most accessible album We Become Ourselves. Last night, the Norwegian multi-instrumentalist had the honour of headlining an event of great importance at the Union Chapel.
The famous chapel is currently celebrating the restoration of its legendary and historic Henry Willis organ. The Organ Project Launch Week is set to be a thrilling and insightful programme organised by the venue, featuring a diverse group of artists.
Last night the Icelandic record label, Bedroom Community, transported a few of their artists to the venue to celebrate the organ’s refurbishment. The mystique of the instrument means that it is barely ever seen when played – usually hidden – in this case behind the altar, yet its presence is undeniable when heard.
Once the stage is adorned with gothic candles, the three-piece band Small Feet opens proceedings with their brand of Nordic folk. The acoustics within the building suit their eerie instrumentation, adding a natural reverb to the delicate vocals of lead singer, Simon Stålhamrhe.
Pop-cellist, Linnea Olsson, brings something strange and sweet, showcasing tracks from her recently released LP, named Ah!. The partnership between Olsson and her cello is enjoyable as she uses pedals to loop her voice and instrument to create multi-layered love songs.
An impressive combination of electronic and classical music is brought to life by organist, James McVinnie, and Bedroom Community co-founder, Valgeir Sigurðsson, as the sun disappears, submerging the church into darkness lit only by stage lighting.
Karijord emerges with Small Feet as her backing band, dressed like a bewitched shaman – the trademark that adds to her stage presence. Immediately, she exudes a little extra star quality, with the tribal drums in her songs accentuating her passion and attitude. The tracks Oh Brother, Multi-coloured Hummingbird, Ode to What Was Lost, We Become Ourselves and the exciting Wear It Like a Crown are all highlights.
The incorporation of the organ in more modern musical pieces is a fantastic experiment. Karijord is brilliant but the Henry Willis organ should take precedent as the main attraction, having survived for over a century.
Photos: James De Vile
For further information and future events visit Rebekka Karijord’s website here.
Watch the video for Oh Brother here: