In collaboration with the Latvian festival Skaņu Mežs, Insomnia is working on LYRA – a project aimed at kids and teens that is supported by the EEA Grants and Norway Grants funded by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway.
The project title LYRA is a fusion of two words – the Norwegian word “lytte” (“to listen”) and the Latvian word “radīt” (“to create”). The result is LYRA – a reference to both the ancient musical instrument and the northern hemisphere constellation of stars.
Lyra is a two-year collaboration between Insomnia festival and Skanu Mezs (LV) which started in April 2022. The aim of the project is to introduce young people to electronic music, a very free genre, without strict frameworks and rules one finds within others music genres. Furthermore, the project seeks to create meeting places (through workshops and concerts) where young people can be together and experience music. The project consists of two parts, one focusing on listening (2022), and a second one with a focus on creating (2023). In addition, the project also involves cultural exchange between the festivals, where the project manager from the Norwegian side went to Riga to attend the world premiere of the works during Skanu Mezs festival in September 2022, and a delegation from Latvia visiting Insomnia during the festival in October.
The project aims to introduce kids and teenagers to experimental music and to get them involved in its creation. As it is democratic and non-hierarchical in essence, experimental music gives trained and untrained kids the chance to take part in making music. Since the project crosses social and ethnic divides, it is also socially inclusive.
During Insomnia 2022, we presented two LYRA events, a workshop and a concert. Both events were free of charge and had no age limit. The concert was a result of two sound artists collaborating with two video artists to create two different pieces of commissioned work. Both works were created within an open framework, the only condition was that the artists had to relate to a fairy tale from either Norway or Latvia which they could choose themselves.
Norwegian artist and composer Jenny Berger Myhre together with artist and writer Annie Bielski has interpreted the fairy tale ‘The Grinder’, about the grinder that never stops grinding at the bottom of the ocean. The fairytale presents two siblings, a trip to hell and back, and the devil’s magical grinder that can give you anything you want, as long as you know how to make it stop.
The fairytale was collected and published by the famous storytellers Asbjørnsen & Moe in 1852, and is a humorous take on why the sea is salty, as well as a friendly warning to be careful what you wish for. Created with a musical grinder of unpredictable synths and electronics, Jenny and Annie are passing the story on through experimental, rhythmical songs and foley art, together with 3D animated visuals rendered from painted, abstracted dioramas created by paper, fabric, aluminum and glass. The Grinder is an energetic concert that will hopefully be of pleasure to kids and adults of all ages. At the Insomnia Festival this work is presented at the bottom of the old local swimming pool, Alfheim.
On latvian side of the project, composer Linda Leimane and video artist Mārtiņš Grauds are presenting a work that springs out from a series of latvian fairytales about animals.
Their collaborative work, including electro-acoustic music, video, animation and shadow thater, is based on the book “Latvian Animals” by writer Inese Zandere. In the work “Latvian Beasts”, five fairy tales for children written by the contemporary Latvian writer Inese Zandere are told in an audio and visual way. In the winter of 2022, the composer Linda Leimane accidentally discovered a very engaging children’s design book “Latvian Animals” in an empty apartment, the author of the idea of which is the artist Mārtiņš Grauds. In the summer of 2022, on the textual and visual basis of the book, Linda Leimane and Mārtiņš Grauds create a new collaboration in the LYRA project, bringing the book to life for the children’s joy in both sonic rhythms and cinematic sound effects, as well as giving it the life of movement and shadow games. In 2009, near Madona, a unique book project was photographed in cooperation with a whole team – actors, costume designers, photographer and director. This summer, Linda Leimane and Mārtiņš Grauds meet deep in the forest by the Árona River to capture the sounds read in the book and create a joint work – a unique soundtrack for the audiovisual work in the LYRA concert for children.
The commissioned works had their Norwegian premiere at the bottom of the empty swimming pool Alfheim in October 2022. During the event we served pizza and soft drinks to everyone that came. It was a collaboration with Redd Barna Tromsø, where we worked specifically to reach out to Ukrainian refugees that have settled in Tromsø.
Besides the concerts at Alfheim, there was a listening workshop with the musician and philosopher Filipe Felizardo (Portugal) for a secondary school class at the Steiner school. The workshop was based on a bundle of CDs that contained experimental compositions. The students listened to these CDs together with Filipe and discussed sound and composition using active listening.
In 2022 LYRA collaborated with Kulta, Tromsø Municipality, Kurant9000, Steiner school, Redd Barna, Audionor and Cramo.
LYRA receives grants in the amount of EUR 206,256.00 within the framework of the EEA Grants and Norway Grants funded by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway.
Total LYRA eligible costs: EUR 202,510.00, European Economic Area financial instrument programme Local Development, Poverty Reduction and Culture Cooperation support sum: 85% or EUR 85,000.00, of which:
European Economic Area financial instrument co-financing: 85% or EUR 175,317.60;
State Budget co-financing: 15% or EUR 30,938.40.