With Scotland asking the greatest questions yet of its future and identity, there have been plenty of references to the supposed Nordic model of government which the country might adopt.
Although the timing appears coincidental, it seems to be the right moment for Edinburgh’s first Nordic Festival of music and art to appear. With Finnish artist Sasha Huber and Danish artist Asger Jorn having already staged short exhibitions this month, this weekend will see Denmark’s electro art pop band When Saints Go Machine, Norwegian disco-house producer Lindstrom, and Peter Moren of Swedish indie outfit Peter, Bjorn and John appearing around the city.
“An obvious comparison exists between Gothenburg and Glasgow and Edinburgh and Stockholm,” says the event’s organiser Craig Jamieson, whose club night Modern Lovers began in Edinburgh and has since been exported to various Nordic cities. “Gothenburg and Glasgow are seen as earthy, working class cities with a more direct and emotional approach to music, and Edinburgh and Stockholm as the showpiece capitals where music is more cutting edge.”
He points out that the term “Nordic” refers to Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, while “Scandinavia” is Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and that all of the above countries will hopefully contribute to future Nordic Festivals. “People such as First Aid Kit, Søley, Holograms, Goat, Todd Terje, Boho Dancer and others wanted to come, but logistics got in the way,” he says.
The festival is intended to make a cultural connection as much as a musical one. “Nordic countries are completely separate political entities, although they share cultural similarities shaped by geography and shared histories, which really does make an interesting comparison when looking at how the different components of the UK interconnect” says Jamieson.
“There are similarly complex questions when looking at Nordic art, and these seem shaped more by national contexts. There’s a shared Nordic agreement surrounding the importance of art as a means of creating greater understanding of what constitutes a Nordic identity, and all the Nordic countries are committed to public funding for art and are deeply reluctant to leave it to market or private provision. I hope this indicates another convergence between Scotland and the Nordic countries.”
• When Saints Go Machine play the Liquid Room, Edinburgh, tonight; Peter Moren of Peter, Bjorn and John DJs at Modern Lovers at the Dram House, Edinburgh, tonight; Lindstrom DJs at Nightfilm at Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, tomorrow.