Oskarshamn International Guitar festival

I have no words.. Just kidding, I have a lot of them and many of them are close to esoteric – almost on the verge of spiritual – and it would require almost fifteen linguistic professors to decode the random and immediate thoughts I have about this festival. The festival was that good. But I will try my best to make sense, be brief and on point.

The gathering of friends

May I say that we at Oskarshamns International Guitarfestival have among the BEST gatherings in all of Europe, as far as I know of? The people on this festival (both visitors, artists and teachers) feel like my brethren and sistren. At every festival I’ve been too so far it feels like everyone is natural, available and the main focus seems to be to always have a good time. The guitar unites across the fields and ages. We are equal and human here and it feels fricking wonderful. Every time.

Eric Lammers and Yvonne Nordström! You did this festival such a pleasure to be at. It all went smoothly and it was very well organized! Thank you so much for the trust you give me, your extreme capability and professionality to do this. And even ”thank you” is not enough.

It was really great to see Bobby and Sanna (Duo NIHZ) again! I haven’t seen them since 2013 when I toured with Savor de Ladino and we stopped by their place in Nordhoorn! This time they were the main guests and they gave a pretty cool and interesting concert for us – as a start of the festival. Their act is both as musical as they are creative on stage, with a focus on intimate stories and a personal touch that is very hard to recreate! DUO NIHZ is a machine on stage.

I breifly got to meet some new cool people as well! Ekaterina Vasilyeva gave a great concert at the end of the festival (jawdroppingly awesome!) and John Elenius visited the festival in a haste. I hope that we can exchange more words in the future! Both Ekaterina and John are cool guys!

And Marcus Strand, my brother from another mother. What a genious you are. What you did in the spirit of Dyens on stage at the tribute concert – it still brings out a tear.

The real work

I am also so very happy to have been meeting, working, yelling at, inspiring and toughening my wonderful friends in the ensembles I’ve worked with during the festival! The Odeberg/Garnbäck Duo is really cool to work with and they have a sort of sound sense when it comes to working with the pieces they choose – it almost makes my profession useless. They are so competent, smart and able! They adapted with everything I threw at them. I am not religious, but still blessed to have been working with them! Hopefully we work more at SGLS!

And my beloved Trio!! Gabriella, Björn and Christer! I enjoy every second of working with you guys! This time I got a major rush and kick to work with you in ways you’ve never done before. You also performed in ways I haven’t heard you perform in any of these workshops we’ve had. You’re STILL developing and that is so cool for me as a youngster to see. There is still hope after 45 after all. 😉

My wonderful orchestra!! Goddamnit you sounded good this year! And would you know – Beethoven sounds really good on the guitar as well. If anyone wants the scores, please e-mail me. I want to hear it more often. I tested this as a trio-arrangement and it works as well. Dear participants of the orchestra, please come to SGLS this summer, I will be there and we will work more intensely with new works..

The end of a feud – the dawn of an addictional debt

I’ll be brief: The Pizza-fued between me and Champy is solved. I’ve paid my debt and with interest. You’re welcome. (Oskar.. I’m trusting you to remember this..). I’m going to miss this feud. It has been the topic of many festivals. But now I think I’m in debt to Emil instead. The saviour. The Coca Cola-jesus. My Malmö-lord. The Count of Lindängen. Thank you for saving my weekend and my needs of sugar, caffeine and other stuff I don’t want to know about.

Builders

Even though I want a guitar from each of every builder in Sweden – that is a project for the future. At the festival I got the try three guitars from Hallgren and one of them really caught my eyes and ears. I got so inspired, I played so hard one of my nails broke off. Last time that happened was six months ago when I got caught in a piece of furniture. I never break nails.. But that guitar got the best of me! It felt so easy to play that guitar and it sounded so great… It pierced the room and if you give it times it will bloom even more. I hope that I can one day own one and I am currently saving for one.. And after that I have my eyes on a guitar from Ahlborg and a cool one from Kitselis!

Sometimes you find guitars that tames you. Sometime you find guitars that you have to tame. And guitars are like luxury cars – you buy the one that you have to tame. It’s more fun that way. That guitar was one of those guitars..

[This post is getting lengthy..]

The future

So. We’re going to take some time and collect our minds for a bit. Some of the acts for next year are already decided and there will be a new theme for next year – there isn’t room for repeating the same thing over and over again. That is what I really like with this festival. It keeps changing and the organizers have the guts to try new things. Which is a good thing! Of course there is always room for improvement, development and trying new ways of doing stuff. As soon as you get too comfortable, the roses die.

In general: A wounderful experience! I am so happy and can’t wait until another year passes. This is one of the greatest things in my calendar each year and after every festival I come home more drained and more energized (at the same time..) than I left from home. This is fueling my fire. And it’s burning out of control!

Now: Back to taking it ”slow”. Composing, arranging, rehearsing, playing and teaching.

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