When I am not in a podunk town in Germany, I live in a podunk town in Norway. Haugesund population 35 000. By American standards this town wouldn’t even warrant a Post Office, much less its own postal code but we are in Norway where the countries entire population equals that of my home state of Minnesota. A state so insignificant, that if you ask anyone from either coast they would have problems finding it on a map. So here I am, in a podunk country, in a podunk town and guess who shows up?
I should explain our little town, Haugesund hosts Sildajazz – which translates to the “Herring Jazz festival” every year and we get some of the most amazing people to come to us. No, I mean really amazing people fly into the short landing strip west of town or land their helicopters, pretty much wherever they please, and get up and play for us.
Not just for the Jazz festival, which draws about 50 000 visitors, but other music festivals bring out the best in our little town. Deep Purple was here and 12 000 stood in the pouring rain to see a-ha in 2007, 2008 about 5 000 watched Katie Melua sing about bicycles, in 2009 Sir Elton John played the Crocodile Rock and other great songs for almost three hours to 15 000 of us. 2011 Lissie played for the shipyard’s anniversary party and Jamie Cullum for the Jazz festival. This year we even had Every Woman Chaka Khan grooving for us.
So, just so you know, Madeline Peyroux, cool people do play in Haugesund. I get that you are more used to NYC and Paris with 24 hour macaron bakeries (which in my head is the only reason one would choose to live in a big city) and that fjords and seagulls aren’t your thing but we appreciate good music. We really appreciated the lovely music you and your wonderful musical friends shared with us, even though we didn’t clap really loud and stand up and scream. We just normally don’t do that, well, unless we are really drunk like at that Deep Purple concert. It just wasn’t proper for this venue and besides the bar was closed.
We are really sorry that your flight was late and that you were rushed to the concert hall to play for the 1 500 people waiting for you. That you seemed a little confused by where you were and how you got there. Your confusion made me wonder if you had been kidnapped and brought here under duress. And hey, it was totally OK that you took your shoes off, because we get that if you want to get really jazzy you need to have contact with the ground.
So, just so you know, next time you play in Scandinavian – don’t get all – hey, they don’t like me because they are not laughing loudly at my jokes and gushing about my last album and giving me a standing ovation. We dig you. We are just really shy, and in Norway, self-control is prized higher than honesty. We were all getting our groove on, it was just on the inside.
Oh and just to clarify Madeline – we don’t have real street musicians in Haugesund. I realize there was some mixed messages about that. In the summer, we do get some accordion playing “travelers” but they don’t stay around very long…hence the confusion.