My life seems full of coincidences and serendipities. Most of the time these coincidences are surprising, and occasionally really wonderful. The last few weeks have been a case in point of how small coincidences can have a substantial effect on your life.
In October 2010 I completed a week-long comparative study with a contemporary music project based in Copenhagen, called RE:NEW MUSIC. The week coincided with Nordic Music Days, which was being hosted by the Danish Composers Society that year (this wasn’t so much a coincidence as very good planning on the behalf of the RE:NEW MUSIC Project Manager!). It meant that when I wasn’t working on the project, I got to attend the Nordic Music Days events and meet with composers and performers from across the Nordic countries. One of these, Icelandic composer and performer, Pétur Jónasson, and I spent some time hanging out at the performances and talks. Pétur is wonderful company; charming, knowledgeable, with a wry sense of humour and we were good friends by the end of the week. I went home exhausted after a brilliant week, with a new-found love for Icelandic people.
About a month ago I met with Deirdre Mulrooney of Vulgo Magazine. Deirdre and I had worked together a few years ago and had stayed in touch on and off since. We chatted over the new publication and Deirdre asked if I was interested in contributing. I’m doing my best to improve my writing skills and this stuck me as a perfect opportunity to do just that with a public platform. We threw a few ideas around and I was thinking about writing about Nordic Music Days – Iceland are the 2011 hosts of the event and it will take place in October in Reykjavik. I was mad for a trip to see this fabled country and this could be an ideal piece for Vulgo, albeit quite a distance in the future. I left Deirdre, happy with our conversation, and went off to get some more work done, when an email landed from Pétur asking me would I like to attend Dark Music Days (Iceland’s own new music festival) the following weekend!!!!! Yes, yes, yes please!!!
So I popped off to Reykjavik for the last week in January and had a whopper trip (which I divulged last week in Vulgo – links at the end of this post!). It was an incredible trip, and convinced me that the connection with the Icelandic people I met to date was a very real connection, not a figment of my imagination. On return Deirdre sent me a message about a fundraiser taking place for a new project called i-to-i. The project is an exploration of the synergies between Ireland and Iceland and will comprise of a series of salons, exchanges, residencies and hopefully resulting in a series of collaborative project. The project is the brainchild of Kathy Scott, who has been to Iceland a number of times, and the first exchange under the name of the project will take place in Dublin on the weekend of 24-27Feb. The website is coming in the next few days and I would sincerely urge anyone with a vague interest in Iceland to check it out.
Everyone I’ve spoken to in the last few months who have previously made trips to Iceland say the same – the energy, atmosphere, inherent creativity of the place bury deep inside you and stays there long after you leave the country. There is a sympathetic psyche between Irish and Icelandic people and at this chaotic stage in the evolution of our society, we should chase any connections that can bring about a more creative approach to all aspects of our lives.
[One last, mental coincidence? – As I write this I’m listening to the John Kelly Ensemble and he just started the programme on a sunny Monday afternoon with Sigur Rós… (Although maybe that’s not entirely surprising as he MC’d the fundraiser last night and Iceland is probably stuck in his head!) ]