Brakkesyke 2020

I think I didn’t realize the problem of the worldwide pandemic, until it eventually hit Europe, especially my homecountry Poland, and my current other home, which is Oslo, Norway. Suddenly I sit at home quarantine, with the home office, anxiety and thousand thoughts flooding my mind at once, listetning to the music louder than usually. Music is the key word here. Music is the healing force of the universe, to quote the master, Albert Ayler. And here comes a beautiful example of this statement.

In those hard times for cultural live and music business, when literally everything is closed, concerts and tours are cancelled, and clubs are empty, there are amazing and creative people that try to keep things going. Especially for our precious musicians, since they are one of those who now struggle with unemployment and no income in the unforeseeable future.

It was on Thursday evening, 12th March 2020, when Norwegian drummer Per Oddvar Johansen and Japanese pianist, Ayumi Tanaka sat down in a living room at Per’s and live-streamed a duo performance to all their Facebook friends. By the way, you can now hear and buy the music from this performance here. Filip Roshauw, a music journalist and musician himself, wrote a mysterious comment under the video: “I’m pondering on some stuff here!”. A couple of hours later the page Brakkesyke 2020 was founded.

As the founders (Filip Roshauw, Geir Ramstad Sletvold and Eivind Eide Skaufjord) explain very briefly, their page streams and promotes home performances from musicians, mostly from Norway, but also from abroad, and gives out information, links to pages, websites or accounts for the audience to be able to support musicians financially. This is one way to get your daily fix of live music during the corona-virus’ epidemic.

The name brakkesyke is an interesting term and also well-known for Scandinavians – it is mostly associated with conscription army, and it basically means a lethargic condition which soldiers ended up in while being in the training barracks with little variety and activity in their spare time, isolated on small, enclosed areas. This state of being fits in perfectly to the worldwide pandemic situation right now, when each of us should stay isolated and cannot experience culture, neither night-life, and especially live music scene.

Isn’t it just a wonderful project in such horrible times? From roughly thousand followers on Friday, Brakkesyke 2020 have now reached exactly 29 096 likes and 31 526 followers!! Since Thursday I have already attended seven different gigs, each one of them unique, beautiful, extraordinary, with better and worse sound, with amazing video-quality, professional production, or just a simple set-up in a living room.

It all started with Arthur Kay and his solo piano set. He accepted requests from the audience, and viewers were actively commenting during the stream, virtually “clapping” and sending hearts-emojis. First gig of Brakkesyke, breaking the ice, and already so successful! On Friday we got to hear a fantastic duo of Andreas Røysum and Marthe Lea, who presented blues from the basement. Saturday 4 p.m. is a so called jazz-hour which this time was covered by one and only Håkon Kornstad, his very proffessional production and a heart-breaking set, in which he presented his fenomenal skills on saxophone and knockout opera vocal. The Sunday highlight for me was Brakkeambient, an ambient session with Torstein Slåen on guitar and Lyder Øverås Røed on trumpet. This set was my favourite so far. Beautiful set with music-that-helps-you-deal-with-current-reality, calming and putting you in a soothing trance-mode. What could be more perfect now? Hear for yourself and use the link(s) below!

Three gigs in a row, and you can attend all of them, one after another? Of course, only with Brakkesyke! And you won’t even miss a minute! Fantastic project, which for sure will live forever with us now, also after this madness is over. Take care, stay focused, active and creative. There is so much you can do, and you don’t even have to leave your house. You can also attend concerts now. And don’t forget to support the artists – visit bandcamp, buy CDs and vinyls, or send a symbolic amount of money (If you have a Norwegian account – vipps, if not – paypal?).

Here are the links to some of the past concerts I attended since Thursday:

Mats Eilertsen

Hans Hulbækmo & family

Torstein Slåen & Lyder Øverås Røed

Håkon Kornstad

Andreas Røysum & Marthe Lea

Arthur Kay

Here’s the link to Brakkesyke 2020 page on Facebook, where you can catch all of the upcoming gigs. There is a bunch of them already, and more are being scheduled right now.

Also, check out their Instagram.

Photo from Facebook page

Spread music, not corona.

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