Icelandic percussionist Halldór Lárusson will again be joining forces with musician, artist, jeweller, and all-around renaissance man Natsuki Tamura on October 8th at Mengi for a performance that is sure to delight and captivate attendees.
While Halldór is a traditional western drummer and percussionist, Natsuki utilises everything from traditional Japanese instruments to modern electronics to create sound sculptures that have delighted and confounded listeners for years.
So how did these two get together?
“Actually Natsuki and I met in 2019, because we both participated in Fresh Winds, which is an arts festival that takes place in Garður in Reykjanes,” Halldór tells us, referring to the very tip of the southwest Iceland peninsula. “I participated as the Icelandic musician and he was one of the people from Japan. We just kind of understood each other from the first moment.”
From that first meeting, the idea to collaborate was born. The start of the coronavirus pandemic scuppered plans to perform in France in the summer of 2020, but they remained in contact, and Natsuki was eager to return to Iceland.
“He kind of fell a little bit in love with Iceland, which was very strange because the weather was extremely bad,” Halldór recalls, recounting Natsuki’s visit over New Years of 2019 into 2020.
The choice to perform at Mengi came naturally, and not just because of the floorplan.
“I think Mengi is kind of an open, open space,” Halldór says. “And what I mean by that is like,
everything is allowed. Like Natsuki, because it’s very difficult to categorise him because he’s a painter. He’s a sculptor. He’s a jewellery designer and maker. He’s a musician. And I don’t think he knows what he is.”
The music itself is nearly impossible to categorise, if Halldór’s description is anything to go by.
“I mean, it’s really not traditional music,” Halldór explains. “It’s quite experimental. It’s also quite improvisational. And for this particular performance, we are using some traditional Japanese instruments, but Natsuki has a lot of electronics also. So he’s combining those two by hand, and what I will do is use a very traditional Western drum kit, and I’ll explore what I can do with that. So basically, anything can happen.”
The mystical part
I can’t help but wonder what drew these two people of such different backgrounds together. Not even Halldór is really sure.
“That’s kind of a mystical part,” he says. “It’s really difficult to say what it was. It was kind of just like … yeah, we just kind of got drawn to each other. And when we started to play I mean, it’s not like we talk and decide what we’re gonna do. We just play. So it’s kind of approached from mindless states, not a thinking approach. And we just always click, like, he’s my brother from another mother or something.”
He continues: “That’s the beautiful thing in music and art in general because it kind of unites people and cultural backgrounds and nationalities. It just doesn’t matter.”
When asked what attendees to the performance should expect, Halldór is succinct. “Prepare for adventure,” he says.
Super Natsuki Tamura & Halldór Lárusson will perform at Mengi on October 8th. The house opens at 20:30, with the performance beginning at 21:00.
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