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 EDN1073 Eyolf Dale Wolf Valley

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Oslo based pianist and composer Eyolf Dale has successfully carved a path as one of the most important emerging Norwegian artists to develop an international profile in recent years. Praised for his lyricism and exploratory improvisational style, Eyolf follows the likes of countrymen Tord Gustavsen and Bugge Wesseltoft in developing global audiences and media recognition for Norwegian music.

His work with fellow Norwegian tuba player Daniel Herskedal (‘Slow Eastbound Train’, Edition Records 2015) garnered him much attention from the international press for his lyrical, introspective style and roaming imagination. This prompted Dale to release his own album as a leader, ‘Wolf Valley’: a highly personal album featuring a who’s who of Norwegian musicianship, also released on Edition Records in 2016.

Described as a ‘masterpiece’ by Tor Hammero in Norway, the music on ‘Wolf Valley’ is unfailingly melodic, dynamic, meditative, rhythmically exciting and constantly challenging both for those who play it and for those who have the pleasure to listen to and experience it. The album was ecstatically received internationally and went on to appear on the iTunes A-list for over four months, and was chosen in the opening list for 2017 Grammy’s, developing Dale significant profile.

Known for his solo work, including successful collaborations with a great number of jazz artists, and from bands such as Albatrosh, the Hayden Powell Trio and Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, Dale is a busy touring and frequently recorded artist, and has contributed to most  Norwegian jazz festivals and to international festivals such as the North Sea Jazz Festival, 12 Points!, Shanghai Arts Festival and Südtirol Jazz Festival. As sideman and solo performer, he has performed in the US, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic, Finland, Estonia, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, England, Ireland, South Africa, Tanzania, South Korea, Italy and China.

An interview with Eyolf

What would you say is your major inspiration in your writing? People, Oslo, other composers?
The major inspiration for my writing is the sounds in my head. My life, my country or other artists – I have no idea where it all comes from. But I try, as well as I can, to translate the emotions and landscapes that I want to express into melodies, chords and structures that gives me goosebumps. I look for musicians that appreciate these things, artists that seek something real and unique. And, when I find them, they are also a huge inspiration.

After growing up in a small city, moving to Oslo at the age of 19 was a big thing. Things started to happen, and both my studies and city’s (relatively big) size gave me a much needed resistance and pushed my artistry further. Oslo is a city with great potential, lots of artists with different artistic expressions, and lots of possibilities for actually making things happen. It’s really a vibrant scene for jazz and improvised music, and it continues to inspire a generation of young artists.”

Where do you see your music fitting into today’s music scene?
My core audience has been the general music lovers as such, though I’ve never found my place within one particular genre. I love the sound of classical music, free improvisation, classic jazz, and contemporary music. Some place in the centre of all these, you’ll probably find the music of Wolf Valley. The music is melodically/harmonically oriented, unafraid of grooves and unafraid of beauty.

What got you into the music and at what age?
I grew up in a musical family, with a piano playing father and lots of choir music. My parents’ old records were easily available, and my first musical experience is that I fell in love with their collection of jazz-orientated music. At the age of 6, I realized that I could make music on the piano at home, a very powerful experience that made me never look back. Playing and composing music both at the piano and at my father’s midi-studio soon became one of the most important things in my childhood.

What’s the significance of the title Wolf Valley?
Wolf Valley is my name, ‘Eyolf ‘meaning ‘wolf’ and ‘Dale’ meaning ‘valley’. This music is the most defining production of my own music at this point in my life: hence a self-titled album. It is something totally different from my previous solo projects, and it´s a different approach to my musical vision, something much bigger! The concept is basically me writing music for my good friends and colleagues. After nearly 20 releases since 2009, both as a soloist and a sideman, it felt right to take a new step forward and challenge my own musical world in new ways.

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