If you’re curious about the usual temperature in a wine cellar, it typically falls within the cosy range of 13-15°C. This was absolutely not the case last Saturday when Bagarmossen Bebop fired up the stage at Musikvalvet Baggen. It wasn’t about the candles or the heating, but rather the unconventional drums embodied in the form of a person.
The band vibrantly shared with the audience the classical approach of dancers creating music together with the musicians. A dance starts within the body and Afro-American percussive dance is not an exception. Characterised by the rhythmic footwork and body movement, the dancers use their feet and other parts of the body to create complex rhythms and musicality. It all started with the Transatlantic slave trade when enslaved Africans brought their dance traditions to the Americas. They communicated with each other through dance and rhythm to celebrate, and preserve their cultural heritage.
Nowadays, in a much less tragic and controversial environment, tap dancing is continuing the legacy of creating music patterns and transmitting emotion through movement. The drummer of the night, Jonas Nermyr, delivered a confident performance communicating and improvising together with Erik Palmberg on trumpet, Fredrik Olsson on guitar and Robert Erlandsson on bass.
Quoting Palmberg, “Such a format resembles walking on thin ice in a positive way and challenging each other”. Indeed, the need for continuous communication is essential when the foundation of the performance is successful listening and giving space to each other. The overall dynamics could be compared to a tennis match when the players are not adversaries but allies. They keep their eyes on the prize while passing the ball of courtesy. Maybe the Tennis Association should consider recognising the fifth surface – the wooden blocks of Musikvalvet Baggen?
As for the location itself, I must highlight that, by entering a 16th-century underground wine cellar, the audience had the privilege to disconnect from the endless mobile notifications flow for one reason only – connecting with the radiant energy of the performers without interruptions. Such an abrupt escape gifted me and the other 40 attendees the lack of time consciousness in the music labyrinth. Being one of the smallest concert venues in town, Musikvalvet Baggen offers a rare value proposition in today’s world of constant connectivity – enjoying the current company and postponing the “super urgent messages” for an hour or two.
The carefully crafted atmosphere enabled the audience to have a sneak peek behind the curtains and eavesdrop on a private get-together of four talented musicians. I was slowly but steadily getting lost in the accelerated rhythms of playful interaction without unnecessary interruptions. The evening ended with a round of applause engraving one clear notion: as Jonas Nermyr proclaimed both in movement and words,“If you can walk, you can dance”.
There are still several days left of Stockholm Jazz Festival! Don´t miss out and check the program here. Hope to see you there!