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Jon Balke & Magnetic North Orchestra


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Magnetic North Orchestra today continues to develop an original sound, resting on the traditions of jazz, north– and west–african, and contemporary classical music.The concept is based on avoiding application of elements of these forms, and rather developing a new kind of pulsating chamber music by learning from the inner energy that these traditional forms posess.

MNO had its debut at the Vossajazz festival in Norway. The idea was to combine a large percussion group, a string-quartet and a jazz sextet, to explore the palette of sound and possibilities that this instrumentation could give.

From this starting point, the orchestra has developed into a kind of “umbrella” concept that includes a nucleus of 8 musicians that cooperates with larger groups on special projects, and splits up in smaller segments for special purposes.

The trilogy “Further” (ECM records 1992), “Solarized” (Emarcy) and “Kyanos” (ECM)cover the groups developments over 10 years of touring and performing around the world.

“Diverted travels” (2004) marks the start of a new direction for the group.

The orchestra has toured with different line-ups, and has enjoyed the collaboration with the outstanding percussion players like Marilyn Mazur and Rubem Dantas, as well as fine string players like the Cikada String Quartet and Trondheimsolistene.

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