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Music: one handshake away from Miles Davis; how I got starstruck in retrospect

You may have come across some of my writings, and I certainly hope that you have. Now and then, I take the liberty of hoping that my words have found their way to your discerning eyes. If that's indeed the case, then you're probably aware of my deep affection for the melodious tunes of jazz and the lesser-known gems hidden within the intricate labyrinth of musical genres. Let me not lay any grand claim that jazz is an obscure art form (which it absolutely isn't), but it's fair to say that some consider it a refined taste, an acquired appreciation, if you will.

Now, let's flip through the pages of my life's recent chapter: my journey from the bustling canals of Amsterdam to the serene embrace of Kristiansand. To be entirely honest, my knowledge of this newfound haven was as shallow as a wisp of morning mist. Before my move, Kristiansand was just a name on a map, a place I had only visited once for a job interview. I was stepping into a blank canvas, intentionally so. Sure, I had read up a bit about it, but the perilous condition known as "analysis paralysis" had taken root in my mind. When you overthink things, your intuition tends to fade away. The pros and cons pile up until they become an impenetrable wall, making decisions an elusive pursuit.


Let's keep this story concise. The revelation that awaited me in Kristiansand was nothing short of remarkable. Equally astonishing was the day when, after my first night in this new territory, I ventured into the modest town and discovered elegantly designed posters announcing an upcoming music festival. This extraordinary event was a showcase of artists I had long admired. My excitement knew no bounds. However, here comes a confession: my financial situation at that time was far from rosy. The expenses of my move and the unexpected salary delays due to an administrative maze had left me in a dire financial state. You can probably picture it now. Buying a festival ticket seemed like a distant dream. On that first day, though, I was blissfully unaware of the delayed salary, so I impulsively purchased a weekend pass.


Fast forward three weeks, and the much-anticipated moment had arrived. Eivind Aarset, Nils Petter Molvær, Jan Bang, Arve Henriksen, and other virtuosos were about to grace the stage, and I was overflowing with excitement. The details of the first concert have faded with time, but the memory of the final performance remains vivid. It was a live remix, a musical feat where two performances merged seamlessly. A curious concept, indeed. Sitting next to me was a cheerful woman, clearly savoring every note. Our conversation's origins are a bit hazy now, but it began with mutual curiosity about our presence there. We exchanged jokes and playful banter until the next musical piece commanded our attention. After the final notes, we introduced ourselves. "I'm Marylin," she said, "a percussionist." My response, a mix of curiosity and anticipation, was, "Will we have the pleasure of witnessing your percussion skills on stage tonight?" Alas, she humbly shared that she wouldn't be performing that evening but regaled me with stories of the illustrious artists she had collaborated with. The next concert and live remix on the same stage marked the end of our conversation as the audience dispersed.


Later, I found myself at Vaktbua, a cozy café hosting an afterparty. Once again, I was surrounded by luminaries, as nearly all the festival's artists were in attendance. What followed was a lavish soirée filled with dance and drinks. At a point when Norwegian law dictated the end of alcohol service, the party migrated once more. By then, I had struck up a conversation with a Czech journalist, who happened to have an invitation to this new destination. To keep things brief, I was invited to join them. This time, our destination was a spacious underground venue beneath Dronningsgate. Its ambiance was more reminiscent of a lively tavern than a typical underground setting. Drinks flowed freely, food was served, and the room buzzed with virtuoso musicians. My memories of that night are a bit fuzzy, but it suffices to say that it was a splendid evening that solidified my sense of belonging in my new city.


The following morning, I woke up with a substantial hangover. As I strolled along Bystranda, the city's beachfront haven, I found myself delving into the depths of the internet. Suddenly, the memory of the lively woman I had met resurfaced. Her name had momentarily slipped my mind but soon returned. In a world abundant with talented female percussionists, the name "Marylin" isn't exactly common. Remarkably, I swiftly located her, confirming her collaborations with musical giants like Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, and Jan Garbarek. She was even the only woman to have graced Miles Davis's band. Once again, I was struck with awe, though this time, it was tinged with the remnants of a hangover, against the backdrop of a city completely foreign to me.


That very afternoon, the festival's final series of concerts began. I didn't cross paths with Marylin again, but by then, I had fallen head over heels for the eccentric yet enchanting world of PUNKT. I embarked on two more visits to this extraordinary festival, each time indulging in a captivating tapestry of musical wonders. Punkt caters to a niche of musicians and enthusiasts dedicated to the spontaneity and virtuosity of musical expression. The atmosphere it creates is nothing short of magical. As a fervent music lover, I feel compelled to champion the remarkable artists whose talents, while interconnected within the musical sphere, often elude the broader public's awareness. If you have even a modicum of affection for music, I implore you to experience this splendid festival at least once in your lifetime, complemented by the manifold pleasures and amusements that Kristiansand has to offer. You can find more details in the accompanying article I wrote earlier.


And, of course, I couldn't resist curating a modest little Spotify playlist to offer you a glimpse of the auditory tapestry that awaits (or eludes) you at the Punkt festival. To Jan Bang, if you happen to come across this, you are a hero! And to Nils P. Molvær, if by some chance you read this, rest assured that if I meet my end, "Alone in the Bathtub" will be played at the ceremony—twice.




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