International music professionals praise Folk Spot Denmark 2016

By Søren Jensen Lund & Henrik Friis |

The songs are still in the air in Tønder. The small town in the Southern part of Jutland, which each year welcomes thousands of guests at the annual Tønder Festival, has become synonymous with folk music, and for the fifth time the showcase event Folk Spot Denmark was presented as part of the festival.

Here ROSA-folk presented seven Danish acts and one Norwegian act to international music professionals and music journalist, and the first responses from the showcase artists and the participating delegates are very positive. These acts were Basco + Jullie Hjetland, Himmerland, Fromseier – Hockings, Elof & Wamberg, Sherzandum, Fru Skagerrak (DK, NO, SE), D.u.K (DK, UK) and Odde & Holmen (NO).

Even though nothing is yet official, the feedback on the recent Folk SPOT Denmark indicates that we may see a lot of international tour activity in the months to come.

The event in itself has been the object of much praise – both from the bands playing the showcases and the invited delegates.

Jonah Blacksmith optræder for Folk Spot-delegerede på Fiddlers Green. Foto: Henrik Friis/ROSA-folk

Jonah Blacksmith performing for Folk Spot delegates at Fiddlers Green. Photo: Henrik Friis/ROSA-folk

In short, the dialogue between the acts and the international music professionals has never been better.

Several of the festivals, organisers and bookers present in Tønder – from the USA, Canada, the UK, Poland, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, and Finland now want to include Folk Spot Denmark acts in their next events. According to Bob Jensen, head of JMI – Canada’s Folk and Blues Agency, and booker for venues and festivals all over Canada and parts of the USA, this year’s Folk Spot Denmark was the best organized event, he has ever been to:

– I was able not only to see some great artists, but also to meet with them and discuss touring possibilities. As a result of my experience, I am already in negotiations with three Danish artists to come to Canada in 2017 and 2018, and there will probably be at least one other one.

Between the music and the way you have organized your event, you make people
like myself want to do business with the Danes, says Bob Jensen.

Ian Davies from the large Canadian folk and world music festival TD Sunfest is thrilled, too:

– I was aware of Danish music before I came here. It’s something we as programmers would like to maybe do more of, bringing Danish and Nordic music to Canada. We have done a bit of it, but there is always room to do more. So it’s very nice to be invited here. Basco I have heard before at other showcases. Their singer tonight, Jullie (Hjetland) was very, very impressive”, says Ian Davies. He adds:
– The young band, Sherzandum: they would be wonderful at our festival, so we will be talking to them about possibilities to come over.

Possible Danish Theme at Polish Festival
For Aleksandra Kminikowska from Baltic Sea Cultural Centre it was her first time in Tønder, and she feels she now has a much better sense of the Danish folk scene.
– Now I think I got a better understanding of Danish folk music, and maybe this visit will also inspire me to make a kind of Danish edition of the festival, says Aleksandra Kminikowska. The festival she is referring to is Sound of the North, which takes place every second year in Gdansk.

Devon Legér, who is head of American Hearth Music singles out Fromseier-Hockings as really interesting.
– They had a really good energy. It was a really simple setup, just a fiddle and a guitar. They had a really interesting energy between the two of them, I really liked a lot. And I like Basco a lot. I like the way they did the old Danish ballads. It’s really cool to go far back in the tradition, and find the old stories, muses Legér.

No problems finding gigs
Kelda Manley from TJ Management in the UK was particular fond of Basco because of their contagious energy and Himmerland, who have already secured a foothold in the British market but may capitalize even more on that. Manley adds,
– I don’t have any problems getting gigs for Danish acts in the UK. It’s just accessible and they like it. It’s fantastic live music, and that’s what people like.

Mikaela Atkins from Australian Brunswick Music Festival sees opportunities for several Danish folk music acts down under:
– The majority of the bands that have been showcasing here is at that stage. And they are all quite unique, so I think that a lot of them would have a good chance. It is just a matter of getting the word out.

On his blog About Songs Jörg Tresp from German label Devilduck notes the friendliness as well as the loving and respectful atmosphere among the visitors. He also mentions the Folk SPOT showcase event at Klubscenen, which he thinks peaked with D.u.K and Sherzandum:
the latter in particular really threw a party, a lot of fun, they had many instruments and lots of pace right from the beginning – even if I am often somewhat ambivalent about instrumental bands.

Jörg Tresp (i midten) fra tyske Devilduck Records i samtale med medlemmer fra Elof & Wamberg og Sherzandum. Foto: Henrik Friis/ROSA-folk

Jörg Tresp (in the middle) from German Devilduck Records speaking with people from Elof & Wamberg and Sherzandum. Photo: Henrik Friis/ROSA-folk

Many flavours
German WDR was represented by Anne Lorenz, and during the festival she reported live for the programme “Funkhaus Europa”, which tunes in to various European festivals, several times:
– Tønder Festival is one of a kind. We have never been to a festival like that. There are a lot of different flavours here, and even a lot of global flavours here. You have people from the US, you have Balkan, roots mixed up with folk, so it’s one of the unique festivals in the specials, we do. I was surprised quite bit by D.u.K. They mix Scottish, British and Danish roots together. They are playing quite traditional stuff, but at the same time, it is really modern. Their appearance is also very modern. You wouldn’t think that that kind of music would make people want to dance on the benches and have a good party, but it totally did.

A total of 41 international music business people attended the Folk Spot Denmark events and the Tønder Festival. Add to that a number of media people from Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, Belgium and Scotland.

Over the next months we will announce the deals that are made as soon as they are made official.

Like this Article? Share it!

Comments are closed.