Live Review: The Nuuk Nordisk Kulturfestival proved to be a confident and vibrant celebration of art and creative Nordic culture

Running from the 16th to 21st October, the second Nuuk Nordisk Kulturfestival kicked off to a passionate start. Celebrating contemporary Nordic arts and co-creation in the northern landscapes, the festival began with a grand parade and opening show at the Nuuk Community Centre with balloons and flags, followed by a selection of outstanding films at the Bank of Greenland for the Nuuk International Film Festival 2017.

Taking place in over 50 venues in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, the festival explored historical, cultural and spiritual dimensions of the Nordic and Arctic cultures. Performances were held everywhere, from the cultural centre Katuaq to the Inuuk Hostel and even the Nuuk Airport. With close collaboration between artists, volunteers and the audience, these venues combined made the festival a unique meeting space for all to come together, promoting the innovative and inspiring music being created within the Nordic region.

It’s not everyday that you’ll hear something unlike anything you’ve ever heard before and the musicians of the North are particularly unique in this aspect. The Nuuk Nordisk Kulturfestival saw them bringing forth everything from the chart-topping pop of Sweden to the swagger of Iceland’s hip-hop scene, making Nordic music more accessible for festival-goers than it has been in the past.

The festival was treated to an iridescent performance from Finland, in the metaphysical form of Shamanviolin. This fully acoustic performance saw solo artist Tuomas Rounakari evoking his inner self and uniting it with the world through the use of a traditional violin modified through tuning and playing techniques.

Across the floor, Swedish DJ Joxaren got the crowd dancing with his signature ‘skweee’ style, as did fellow Swede TMRW, with her thumping dark electronic beats.

Denmark loaned the festival their own choir, ‘Vox Aros’, whose impromptu performances took place everywhere from the airport lounge to buses and even the local dining hall. Their strong yet delicate vocals were in stark contrast to the audacious hip-hop at the festival, represented by all-female Icelandic group Reykjavíkurdætur, 15 year old Greenlandic artist Philip Knudsen, Sweden’s popular Erik Lundin, Danish rappers Malk de Koijn, and the mixed Greenlandic and Danish Commonwealth Hip Hop Collab.

Norway’s Sturle Dagsland stunned with an extraordinary mix of visual and aural art, mesmerising the audience with music and vocals that you just wouldn’t expect to hear coming from anywhere, let alone a human body.

Meanwhile, Greenland cast forth their very own into the mix, with the likes of singer-songwriter Angu Motzfeldt, indie sensation Nive Nielsen, alternative metal band ISUMA, Greenlandic choir Nordisk Koncertkor and post-rock outfit Small Time Giants.

With such an amazing collection of musical artists from all over the Nordic region, the Nuuk Nordisk Kulturfestival is quickly becoming the premiere destination for exploratory music and interdisciplinary art. Held every second year, the festival will return in 2019 with an even more stellar line-up.

Photo by Serena Ho.

For more information on the festival, visit their website here.