Yggdrasil is a Nordic ensemble based in the Faroe Islands, formed in 1981 by composer & pianist Kristian Blak. For their NZ tour Yggdrasil will be a trio of Kirstian Blak, bass player Mikael Blak and Heðin Ziska Davidsen on guitar. Both Kristian and Mikael collaborated with the late Richard Nunns during Nunns' visit to the Faroe Islands in 2011. At their Pyramid Club concert the ensemble will play as a trio and in collaboration with taonga pūoro player Alistair Fraser and drummer Anthony Donaldson.
In Norse mythology, Yggdrasil is the World Tree. The branches of the mighty ash reach up above the heavens, and its three roots pass into the realms of the Æsir and of the frost giants and descend deep into the underworld. In the very top of Yggdrasil sits the wise eagle, keeping watch. The three Norns water and nurture the tree each day, while the great serpent Niðhøgg, together with a host of lesser snakes, gnaws at its root. Thus the tree is in a state of cosmic equilibrium, constantly threatened and devoured as it grows and flourishes.
The Yggdrasil ensemble has, from its inception, had a distinct concept including collaboration with other forms of art or, in some cases, with nature. Over the years many musicians and artists have contributed to Yggdrasil’s projects, which include visual art, poetry, ballet, opera, concertos in caves; and essential to the Yggdrasil concept is that the personality of each individual member of the ensemble be heard or seen. Musicians that have been part of the ensemble, whether on long-term basis or as participants in a particular project, have varied musical backgrounds, mainly in jazz, but also in ethnic, folk, rock and classical music. While the works draw ideas or themes from ethnic material, improvisation ranges from free to classical style.
Many thanks to Creative NZ for supporting Pyramid Club's programme