Play it Cool!

UMEÅ.  After rehearsing for a month the teachers and students of KulturAkademin Storuman-Tärnaby, Lapland, performed the newly written musical piece on instruments made of ice! It was a bitterly cold afternoon, but Sveriges Isorkester (Sweden´s Ice Orchestra´s) world premiere got a warm reception from the little audience that braved the freezing conditions outside a record store in central Umeå.

Ice cool musicians Gaute Vikdal and Conny Årlind jamming away. Photo Lasse Koski Anjou

The experimental overture Nice Ice, composed by Per Egland, was staged in connection with the big folk music festival Umefolk. But this sound was more classical than folk.

– Difficult to say but maybe you could call it new Nordic music, Erland Israelsson, a former teacher at the KulturAkademin involved in the project suggested.

Apart from the marimba percussions the whole ensemble played on different wind instruments like saxophone, flute, clarinet and french horn. And they sure needed the cold weather, for these icy horns do melt quickly.

A cool-looking orchestra entertaining at Umefolk. Photo Lasse Koski Anjou

The instruments are made inside a pipe filled with water. When most of the water has turned into ice in minus degrees Celsius, the last of the water is poured out. After that a mouthpiece of plastic or metal is connected to the icy pipe which, with a little bit of luck, enables you to hit the note. Cool as you like.

The ice orchestra made another two performances in Umeå before putting their horns back into the freezer.


Cover: Student Melinda Forsman hitting the note.


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