The Ukiah Community Concert Association presents Swedish contemporary acoustic group Väsen at the Mendocino College Center Theatre on Friday, April 5, at 7:30 p.m. This fundraising event for UCCA finds the three instrumental virtuosos extending their tour of the southwest U.S. to include Northern California.
"Väsen" is a Swedish word meaning spirit, noise, a living being--all the associations one gets from a group whose sum is greater than its parts and whose music produces an ineffable chill. The group is now in their 27th year of touring, with frequent stops in Japan as well as U.S. and Europe, and released their 17th album, "Brewed," in 2017.
Tuneful, soulful, simple yet ethereal, the music of Väsen invites both contemplation and celebration. Deeply rooted in the forests and rich earth of the Swedish countryside, Väsen also has a clean sound and incorporates modern genres including rock and jazz. Reviewing a performance in Edinburgh (Scotland), critic Rob Adams wrote that the group's instruments "dovetail so perfectly" to produce a sound "that can be piccolo sweet and Telecaster rockin’ within the same few bars" of a song.
A shower postponed, a legendary jam
Väsen began in 1989 when a young musician named Olov Johansson met guitarist Roger Tallroth at a music festival in Norway and invited him to jam with him. Tallroth declined, citing the need for a shower, but, as often happens at group gatherings, the shower was occupied. Instead Tallroth returned and started playing with Johansson--all day, and far into the night. Among the awed listeners was Olle Paulsson, who, declaring it the best music he had ever heard, promised to start a record label (now Drone Music) if the trio--with violist Mikael Marin, a childhood friend of Johansson's--recorded a CD. Thus Väsen was born. Johansson went on to become the first World Champion of the nyckelharpa, a traditional Swedish stringed instrument. All three musicians have accomplished recording, teaching and touring careers separately in addition to their work with Väsen.
Enriching inland Mendocino for over 70 years
Ukiah Community Concert Association has been presenting nationally acclaimed talent since 1947. This all-volunteer nonprofit’s mission is to build and maintain a permanent concert audience and cultivate an interest in fine music among the citizens of the community and surrounding area. It is also their goal to encourage music appreciation in the schools of the community.
Advance tickets are available at Mendocino Book Company in Ukiah, Mazahar in Willits, and online. Single tickets for this concert are $20 in advance and $25 at the door (adult) and $10 in advance and $15 at the door (youth under 18). Free tickets are available at the door to Mendocino College students with ID, space providing. For more information, please call 707-463-2738, or visit UCCA on Facebook and at www.ukiahconcerts.org.
UCCA thanks Schat’s Bakery, Black Oak Coffee, and Rivino Winery for donating treats to be served pre-concert and during intermission. Special thanks to the Mendocino College Foundation, the Mendocino Arts Club and Mendocino College Recording Arts & Technology as well as the Mendocino College Art Gallery for their ongoing support.