Terje Isungset makes even ice sing | Polarjournal
Every glacier sounds different. Not every shelf sings to Terje Isungset, some ice formations remain silent even to the “glacier whisperer”. But when the Norwegian finds the right spots, he is able to unleash the music of frozen water like no other. (Photo: Emile Holba)

Terje Isungset is one of Europe’s most accomplished and innovative percussionists. With over two decades of experience in jazz and Scandinavian music, he takes these musical genres far beyond their traditional boundaries and becomes more of a cross-over between a sound artist and a shaman. 

He makes his own instruments from Norwegian natural elements such as Arctic birch, granite, slate, sheep bells and even ice. His music is recommended to all who are sensitive to the poetry and simplicity of sounds. “Tone colors” and “colors” are central in the music and compositions of Terje Isungset.

At least 20 degrees below zero, he finds perfect conditions for the sounds he wants to create. (Photo: Screen Shot – Video)

All videos and sounds/music are recorded at minus 10 degrees Celsius under the friendly midnight sun of Spitsbergen. Terje Isungset: “It has been an honor to work with Greenpeace to focus on “our” oceans and try to find a way to save the unique life there”.

“Many people have worked on this project. A big Thanks to ice carving master Bill Covitz, thanks to the musicians Andreas Hesselberg Hatzikiriakidis, Åshild Brunvoll and Maria Dahlin. Also, thanks to the entire Greenpeace boat team – the people who are trying to make a difference. Respect.”

Eine Kostprobe gefällig? Die Aufnahmen entstanden am 2. Mai 2019 auf Spitzbergen.

In the press, his work has often been described as innovative, visual, energetic and different from any previously known concepts. Isungset has also been commissioned to compose music for jazz festivals, dance performances, theater, film, and so on. In total, there are already 40 commissioned concerts. His compositional efforts have also produced nine critically acclaimed solo CDs.

Terje Isungset creates musical instruments from carved Arctic ice. (Photo: Screen Shot – Video)

BBC Music says: “It’s a resonant, intimate and absolutely beautiful soundscape” and CNN said: “The world’s first and only ice musician”.

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

Website of Terje Isungset

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