The grandness of Dalsland, one of Sweden's smallest regions, can only be appreciated by experiencing it first-hand. The gates of the innovative contemporary music world are accessed through a narrow gorge in the majestic mountain range that illustrates today's society. The creativity of young artists today resonates more vibrantly than ever before, and we yearn to accompany them on their journey through that gorge, leading us further into the magical world that opens up beyond . Hence, Kontinent Dalsland provides artists with a unique forum, aiming to nourish the yet unknown creativity of the future, forming an international cultural hub in Dalsland. Here, strong and meaningful artistic imprints will be delivered with uncompromising honesty. In today's society, we are at risk of being consumed by fear of journeys leading us into territories unknown. By romanticising the past, we feel as if we can no longer identify with our current society, thus rather wishing to continue to sing along to what we already know and understand. Therefore, Kontinent Dalsland's conviction is to illuminate the importance of collectively serenading the song we have not yet mastered.
About the festival
Experience contemporary music in the remote woodlands of Dalsland, Sweden
Kontinent Dalsland is a new festival that presents some of the most celebrated contemporary artists, composers and sound artists of our time in a forum where the creativity of the future is nurtured and presented in new and innovative ways in order to connect with a wider audience. World premieres and older masterpieces are performed by pioneering artists from jazz, opera, avant-garde, folk music, classical music and local windbands, which are united in this year's theme: InterNationalromantik.
Kontinent Dalsland annually presents a festival theme that is linked to current issues and trends. This year's theme, InterNationalromantik, glances back on Nationalromantiken, which came to be the name of how artists and intellectuals saw, or wanted to see, their nation's characteristics during the period from the middle of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. With its craze for nature, the countryside and the simple life, this era provided an opportunity for creative souls to have their dreams and visions realised and presented to the world. Sweden has been constantly influenced and enriched by other cultures, and thus has been in a constant state of transformation, as any country and culture should be in order to avoid the risk of decay. Today, the visions of Sweden, and what is perceived as Swedish, have changed radically, and Kontinent Dalsland hereby offers an update.
Citizens of Kyiv – photo exhibition at Dalslands center 13 July-14 August
A series of 24 images and texts by Alexander Chekmenev of people enduring the siegeof Ukrain’s capital.
In the weeks after President Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, Kyiv, the capital, became a transformed city. Much of its population evacuated. New defense units gathered and took up arms. Spontaneous social support — field kitchens, aid stations, bomb shelters, evacuation convoys — sprouted into functional shapes. The city endured intermittent bombardment throughout. This altered streetscape became the uneasy milieu of Alexander Chekmenev, a Ukrainian documentary photographer who since the 1990s has visually chronicled his country’s post-Soviet life.
Like many of his fellow citizens, Chekmenev, who is 52, took care of his family early on, ensuring that his teenage daughter reached safety in Slovakia. He himself opted to remain. In a climate of indiscriminate attacks, a circumstance in which anyone might be randomly harmed at any time, he felt an imperative to work, venturing out on assignment for The New York Times Magazine to find those who stayed put.
Carrying a medium-format Pentax camera he met some people by appointment and approached others as they walked the streets, labored in their new roles, or huddled in shelters. Chekmenev brought a professional ideology as well — his belief that ordinary people are worthy of personal dignity and artistic attention, whatever the geopolitical tide. “For me, the first place has always been the human,” he says, “the country is made up of people, and I want to elevate and respect each one of them”
After the brutal invasion of Ukraine, we want to highlight and pay tribute to the country's unique culture and independence. Alexander Chekmenev's photo exhibition is accompanied by two concerts for Ukraine featuring Ukrainian artists and composers. We are grateful that four Ukrainian artists join the festival, on July 13 at Dalslands Center in Håverud and on July 15 in Åmåls church.Anna Korsun-vocals and organ, Ganna Nuhza-cello, Polina Pohozha-piano and Kontinent Dalsland's and ABF's first fellow Khrystyna Pukhalska-violin perform side by side with Kontinent Dalsland's artists. The photo exhibition and two concerts for Ukraine are made possible by contributions from ABF Fyrbodal, Sandengs Ram, Konsttryck, Sensus Bengtsfors, Tire Recycling AB, Åsensbruk, Dalslands Center, Åmåls kommun, Dalslands Sparbank, the Church of Sweden and generous contributions from the festival's artists. All proceeds go in full to the "Kungliga Musikaliska Akademiens" fund opened for coordination of support for the reconstruction of Ukraine's musical scene.
Together with Kontinent Dalsland , the tireless saxophone wizard Mats Gustafsson been inspired by the idea of bringing all of the festival's musicians together with Dalsland's national hero, the painter Otto Hesselbom. The iconic painting 'Vårt Land' will be re-painted by the multifaceted sound spectrum that this year´s invited artists have to offer. Here, the festival's soloists, coming from a vast variety of different genres, will unite with two local wind bands to reflect the colourful musical landscape of modern day Sweden.
"The Eye of the Ox"
During the festival, a number of musicians will meet as duos under the title OXÖGA, which translates into "The Eye of the Ox". The title refers to the small round windows often placed just under the roof of historic buildings, in order to enable the most majestic view over a city or a landscape. Oxöga presents 2 dimensions; To look through your own window from the outside depicts at best security, familiarity and a sense of home. Standing on the inside looking out offers constantly changing views, new possibilities and visions. What happens when one's own creativity is placed in unknown territory and what is to be presented a few days later is no longer predictable? During “Oxöga”, internationally celebrated artists will be challenged in unimaginable formations, where recognition is replaced by the unknown in order to inspire an inner journey to search for similarity in diversity.
Kontinent Dalsland's and ABF's Scholarship
Kontinent Dalsland will each year award a scholarship for local talent's music education. Our first scholarship goes to the 13-year-old Ukrainian violinist Khrystyna Pukhalska who recently came from war-torn Ukraine and now lives in Åmål. Khrystyna will enrich the festival with her fantastic violin playing on the 13th of July at Dalslands Center in Håverud and on the 15th of July in Åmål's church.