Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Support: Lay Low [Cancelled]
venue: Stereo, Glasgow, 24th November 2007

Stereo was previously up the west end of Glasgow, the sister to Mono in the city centre. Both vegan cafe/bars, stemming out of a history of bars/record shops in Glasgow. The previous Stereo closed, and has been refurbished as something else. The previous Stereo put on gigs, but was never ideal. In the meantime, a stage was set up in Mono, filling in the gap left by the absence of Stereo.

Radio Five Live has a show called Up All Night. On a Saturday morning between 1.30am and 2am they have a World Music slot. Here I have heard various world music bands for the first time. A couple of weeks ago I heard a curious Norwegian folk piece, missed the name but heard something about a music style called joik. A week ago I heard another piece of interesting music, by a band called Adjagas, who were playing the new Stereo on 24th of November. Which was the first time I had heard that a new Stereo had opened.

Following up on the name Adjagas I realised they were the same joikers I had heard previously. I watched a video on YouTube, listened to a couple tracks on MySpace, and decided I liked what I heard and it was worth giving them a go. According to the MySpace page doors opened at 7pm, which seemed a little unlikely for any gig. I got there after 8, to find that support Lay Low had cancelled due to illness - again I had looked her up on YouTube and heard something which seemed to be a "country" influenced Icelandic pop. As a result, doors won't open till 9. But it is ok; the new Stereo is a cafe upstairs and venue downstairs, so it is easy enough to hang around upstairs till its time.

Down two flights of stairs, the hall is a big space, cube chairs and tables scattered around the far end of the room, in front of the stage. The audience isn't large, 30 or so people scattered across the tables. The band goes on stage, led by the two singers, the Sámi joikers Sara Marielle Gaup and Lawra Somby. The rest of the band play drums, guitar, bass, keyboards and trumpet, providing a range of folk/rock sounds according to the mood of each particular joik.

The Sámi are the "reindeer people" or Lapplanders, the band explaining that there are only about 300 people who still speak their language, up in the northern tundra of Norway. The name Adjagas apparently a Sámi word describing the state between being fully asleep and fully awake. To start each song, the singers tell little stories, of the chaos of modern life, the pressures, contrasted by the forests, the endless night and the white tundra. The singing has a tribal sound, the tones and patterns, the integration of animal sounds. The male and female voices work off each other, though the two singers take turns doing solo, accapella joiks as well. At times the music is perhaps fairly regular, a folk/rock sound, though the electronic elements and trumpet add another level to the music. But it is the vocals, the harmonies and contrasts, which make Adjagas really interesting.

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