European Capital of Culture, Opening Ceremony : Aarhus 2017
One of the largest community participation events ever held in Denmark, Aarhus 2017 and Nigel Jamieson created a procession including several thousand lanterns, six huge Viking ships, almost a thousand choir singers, musicians and several thousand citizens, transforming Aarhus City Centre into a floating sea of people, music and epic spectacle. Basil was the musical director and main composer for the event, working with Aarhus Jazz Orchestra, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, hundreds of choir singers, musicians from around the world who have made Aarhus their home, and many more. The soundtrack, with extensive notes and credits, is below.
AARHUS 2017 Opening Ceremony.. The Music
The People's Opening is a procession that follows a mythical narrative that takes us from a primeval past, the origins of culture in Denmark, all the way to the world as it is now and beyond, finishing with a question about how Aarhus can lead the world into the future as 2017 ECOC. The music's main function is to help tell that story together with the visual spectacle, to create an atmosphere of wonder, and also showcase some of the best talent in Aarhus and beyond.
There are many local musicians and musical groups that have been invited to contribute to the music for the People's Opening, including the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, Aarhus Jazz Orchestra, composer Jakob Buchanan, and singers Eivör, Luna Bülow Ersahin , guided by the musical expertise and advice of composer and sound artist Marie K. Højlund. The choirs are directed by conducter Carsten Seyer-Hansen. Composer and producer Basil Hogios was invited to weave this musical puzzle together into a complete score for the Opening by working with the local artists, arranging their existing songs and also traditional music such as “Drømte mig en drøm i nat” and “Frydeligt med jubelkor”, and composing and producing new music into a flowing and continuous musical experience.
The procession of the event and the music follow 5 chapters:
The music of the beginning involves a stunning combination of musicians and sounds, representing the beginnings of Aarhus, the starting point for an epic journey of ships from Musikhuset that will end at the harbor. We hear the angelic voices of a combination of choirs from the whole region performing, singing new versions of ancient melodies. Basil Hogios combines the choirs with the mystical singing of Faroe Island singer Eivör, the ancient sounds of the Lurs, and deep atmospheric sounds from the Aarhus Symphonic Orchestra.
The boats have set off on their journey through the city. The music of the journey, composed by Hogios, is the backdrop for the stunning voices of
Ingeborg Thisted Højlund and Nadja Marie Schmedes Enevoldsen singing a haunting duet version of “Drømte mig en drøm” that captures the feeling of ships leaving their home. Male singers from the National Danish Opera then sing a visceral and stirring version of “Skyerne gråne, og løvet falder” giving us a sense of the storms ahead. We hear the finale of “Frydeligt med jubelkor” from the choirs on the clock tower, and as the voice of Eivör and the fanfares of the Lurs disappear over the city, and we hear voices of real people in Aarhus coming from the projections on the boat sails. A real shift in the music happens here, when the audience will first hear the masterful composition of Jakob Buchanan, performed by the brilliant Aarhus Jazz Orchestra, propelling the procession forward.
The music then is a tribute to the new voices of Aarhus. Turkish Kurdish / Danish prodigy Luna Ersahin Bülow performs her new version of a traditional Turkish song with lyrics in both the original language and Danish. A true combination of nationalities, she is joined by musicians and singers from all over the globe who have made Aarhus their new home together with Danish musicians. The track, arranged and produced by Basil Hogios, is a true coming together of people to create a sense of hope for the future.
The brilliant music of Jakob Buchanan continues as the procession makes its way to DOKK1. There, Jakob's brilliant setting of “Drømte mig en drøm i nat” showcases a stunning musical combination: the classical choirs we heard in the prologue combining with the exotic and energetic sounds of the Aarhus Jazz Orchestra performed by a group of choirs including the award-winning Concert Clemens under the leadership of conductor Carsten Seyer-Hansen.
The final phase of the procession, features gigantic video projections accompanied by a trilogy of amazing musical pieces. The first one is a beautiful song written and performed by Eivör, with new epic arrangement by Basil Hogios featuring the majestic sound of the Aarhus Symphonic Orchestra. The orchestral piece that follows is Grieg's 'Death of Aase'. A brand new song is the finale for the opening, written by Eivör and arranged by Hogios, that is about looking towards a hopeful future and the new generations that will inherit the planet. It is performed by many of the artists coming together: Eivör, Luna, the choirs, and the Aarhus Symphonic Orchestra.
The night then becomes a celebration of Aarhus as the new ECOC2017, featuring a dynamic performance of Aarhus pop star Asbjørn with his tracks Love like a teenager/ BOY PWR and the urban sound of DJ Static. The firework music is a remix of Eivörs track “Salt” arranged for orchestra and original music by Basil Hogios.
Musical Director, Composer, Arranger: Basil Hogios
Musical advisors, Aarhus: Marie K. Højlund and Morten Riis
Composer for Aarhus Jazz Orchestra: Jakob Buchanan
Aarhus Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by Søren K. Hansen
Aarhus Jazz Orchestra, conducted by Carsten Seyer-Hansen
Choirs: Concert Clemens, Aarhus Pigekor, MidtVest Pigekor, Herning Drengekor, Skt Clemens Drengekor
Choir Director: Carsten Seyer-Hansen
Choir arrangements: Ingeborg Thisted Højlund, Jakob Buchanan, Basil Hogios
Choir soloists: Ingeborg Thisted Højlund, Nadja Marie Schmedes Enevoldsen
Choir for ‘Skyerne Gråne, og løvet falder’: The Danish National Opera. Conducted by Ole Farschou
"Falling Free" + "Salt" written by Eivör Pálsdóttir, vocals: Eivör Pálsdóttir
“Sounds Like Hope" written by Eivör Pálsdóttir, main vocals: Eivör Pálsdóttir, vocals: Luna Ersahin Bülow, Birk Øster, Marie K. Højlund
"Kus Dili", written by Luna Ersahin Bülow– main vocals: Luna Ersahin Bülow
Kus Dili choir: Walat Issu, Salam Susu, Camilla Dayyani, Ahmad Ghasemi, Marie K. Højlund, Nadja Marie Schmedes Enevoldsen
Kus Dili Musicians: Aske Døssing Bendixen, Jakob Sommerlund Moestrup, Cahit Ece, Benedicte Adrian, Fathi Amouni, Orhan Turan.
Music Editor and mixer: Anders Boll
Music production credits:
Aarhus Symphonic Orchestra recordings Producer: Hjarne Fessel
Orchestrator: Rasmus Bosse
Conducter: Søren K. Hansen
Recording engineer / Mixer : Henrik Winther Hansen Recording operator: Lars Reker
Composition and arrangement: Basil Hogios
Aarhus Jazz Orchestra recordings Producer: Rasmus Bøgelund
Conducter: Carsten Seyer-Hansen Sound engineer: Thomas Qvist
Mixer: Henrik Kjærgaard and Anders Boll Lur soloists:
Brass soloist: Michael Bladt, Cesar Joaniquet, Stefan Ringive
Composition: Jakob Buchanan
Arrangement: Jakob Buchanan, Ingeborg Thisted Højlund
The National Danish Opera recording of "Skyerne Gråner"
Producer: Peter Pade
Conducter: Ole Farschou
Sound engineer / mixer: Anders Boll
Arrangement: Basil Hogios
Aarhus Pigekor, Midtvest Pigekor, Herning Drengekor, Concert Clemens Koret, Skt Clemens Drengekor
Conducter: Carsten Seyer-Hansen
Recording engineer/ mixer : Henrik Winther Hansen
Recording operator: Henrik Birk Aabo
Composition and arrangements: Ingeborg Thisted Højlund, Jakob Buchanan and Basil Hogios
Regional choir coordinator: Marianne Langberg