Large ensemble


My commissioned work for Oslo World 2020, called RORAIMA, was premiered October 29th in the wonderful Kulturkirken JAKOB. I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to compose new music for this great festival, and it was a thrill performing it alongside the amazing musicianship of Trygve Seim, Frode Haltli, Tanja Orning, Helga Myhr, Håkon Aase and Per Oddvar Johansen. The concert was recorded, and will be released worldwide as a live album on digital platforms and CD on February 18th 2022.

"Roraima" reflects themes such as solidarity and ecological vulnerability, and draws inspiration from the creation myth of the Yanomami people as expressed in the book "The Falling Sky" by Yanomami shaman and spokesperson Davi Kopenawa. The music also includes field recordings of the Amazon biophony by US soundscape ecologist Bernie Krause. This album is a live recording from the premiere; a rare live-audience event in between corona-lockdowns in Jakob Church, Oslo, October 29th 2020.

The album booklet also contains text excerpts from "Less is More" (a Financial Times book of the year 2020) by economic anthropologist Jason Hickel. In Less is More, Hickel proposes a complete restructuring of our economic system in order to bring it back into balance with the living world. To accomplish this, according to Hickel, we have to build a new kind of relationship between humanity and nature.

Roraima is the northernmost state of Brazil. It is home to the Yanomami and several other Indigenous peoples, and like the rest of the Amazon basin it is also home to an incredible diversity of animal and plant life. While listening to field recordings from the Amazon for the first time, I was surprised by how densely packed the whole sound spectrum was; a perfectly executed orchestration literally teeming with life. It took some time getting accustomed to this intense quality of sound, but after a while I settled into a more relaxed mode of listening. Suddenly, a bird cut through the dense wall of sound repeating a simple phrase with a very distinct tonality. This phrase, which I later learned was performed by the red-billed toucan, reoccurs in many of the different movements throughout the musical work "Roraima".

"Roraima" is both a celebration of the soundscapes of the natural world, an expression of grief as many of these sounds fade away – and a prayer. A prayer that world leaders will finally listen to the voice of our planet as it begs us to change our course. The growth imperative of our economic system wreaks havoc on all of nature, and will ultimately lead to our own demise.

However, there is another way to be found. The ancient wisdom of Indigenous peoples gives us clues to a completely different approach to interacting with nature. We should listen to what they have to say.

– Sigurd Hole


Interview in German magazine Jazzpodium

8 months 2 days ago

Being close to nature has always been important to the double bass player SIGURD HOLE. Now he puts ecological questions fully in the center with a septet.


LISTENING IS A MAJOR WAY FOR ME TO INTERACT WITH NATURE. Our modern dwellings keep out the cold - but also the sound. Living in the big city, almost everything we see and hear is man-made. If we don't become quieter, we don't hear that nature is fading away," says Norwegian bassist Sigurd Hole. Sound and nature and we as humans in between - Hole's current album "Roraima" (Elvesang) also puts the shaky ecological balance in the foreground musically, with field recordings playing an important role. The musicians from Norway in the line-up of saxophone, violin, accordion, box-neck lute, cello, vibraphone and double bass, among them saxophonist Trygve Seim, are complemented and contrasted by sound recordings from the Amazon region, for example. In the liner notes to "Roraima," Hole writes: "One of my favorite childhood memories is sonic. I grew up on a sheep farm, in the deep Norwegian forest. Every morning I woke up to the sound of animals, insects, birds." Today, Hole lives in Oslo and has traveled widely. Along the way, he absorbed sounds of Japan, India, New Zealand, the United States, the West Bank, Brazil, and the Azores. Hole's story could be packaged as a success story: The Norwegian boy, born in 1981, from a village of a hundred people in the municipality of Rendalen - will be on stage at Carnegie Hall, New York City, on February 3, 2020, alone with his double bass and the program of his solo album "Lys/Morke"...

It all started at the age of six on the violin. At thirteen, Hole switched to the double bass. In the early 2000s, he studied at Norges musikkhogskole (NMH), the music academy in Oslo, where he later returned as a lecturer. After graduating, Hole quickly became a decisive figure in the Norwegian music scene, playing with guitarist Jon Eberson and saxophonist Karl Seglem, for example - on whose label NorCD a large part of Hole's recordings appeared as a sideman.

Important for his musical biography was the Eple Trio. There, together with Jonas Sjovaag (dr) and Andreas Ulvo (p), both also NMH graduates, Hole processed influences from Norwegian folk music, from romantic-classical and baroque traditions and contemporary (sometimes minimalist) music. The exploration of so-called "ethnic music," of classical idioms in the broadest sense, as well as approaches to contemporary modern jazz, continues to inform Holes' music today.

2018 was the year of establishing himself. Hole released his solo album "Elvesang" and with "Encounters" his debut as a leader in a trio (with Häkon Aase, vl & Jarle Vespestad, dr) and he recorded for the first time as part of pianist Tord Gustavsen's trio for ECM ("The Other Side").

On the double bass solo double album "Lys/Morke" from 2020, Hole showed his preference for both extended technique, which he masters with virtuosity, and his ongoing closeness to nature, as he included sounds of nature in the project, recorded at a lonely cabin. For "Roraima," inspiration came from the work of American ecologist Bernie Krause, among others.

"The sound of a habitat can be used to understand its state of health," says Hole, referring to Krause, who sees the concept of "biophony" as central, a collective and organized acoustic output of different species and creatures. He goes on to say: "Biophony is prudently orchestrated. Each sound has its own frequency spectrum: mammals and amphibians in the depths, birds in the middle and above, the supersonic communication of bats in the highest regions. " Where animal voices fall silent, it becomes audible - the biophonic "soundscape" goes out of balance.

" The most important thing I learned during >Roraima< is: hope ... Hope that change is possible," Hole says. What the listenership might learn from the album? "Maybe it will make people ask new questions. Like how we can become better integrated and also more humble musicians in the amazing orchestra that is our living planet. In our ability to listen, in our ability to collaborate, and in our curiosity, real hope can be found. These qualities will be of utmost importance in the future. " "Now is the time," Hole says at last, "to start listening. "


Das biophonische Orchester
Dem Kontrabassisten SIGURD HOLE war Naturnähe stets wichtig. Nun stellt er mit einem Septett ökologische Fragen vollends ins Zentrum.

DAS ZUHÖREN IST FÜR MICH EINE WICHTIGE ART, mit der Natur zu interagieren. Unsere modernen Behausungen halten die Kälte ab - doch auch den Klang. Lebt man in der Großstadt, ist beinahe alles, was man sieht und hört, menschengemacht. Werden wir nicht leiser, überhören wir, dass die Natur schwindet«, sagt der norwegische Bassist Sigurd Hole. Klang und Natur und wir als Menschen dazwischen - auch Holes aktuelles Album »Roraima« (Elvesang) stellt die wackelige ökologische Balance musikalisch in den Vordergrund, wobei den Field Recordings eine wichtige Rolle zukommt. Zu den Musiker:innen aus Norwegen in der Besetzung Saxophon, Violine, Akkordeon, Kastenhalslaute, Cello, Vibraphon und eben Kontrabass, unter ihnen Saxophonist Trygve Seim, werden ergänzend und kontrastierend Tonaufnahmen etwa aus dem Amazonasgebiet gesetzt. In den Liner Notes zu »Roraima« schreibt Hole: »Eine meiner liebsten Kindheitserinnerungen ist klanglich. Ich wuchs auf einer Schäferei auf, im tiefen norwegischen Wald. Jeden Morgen erwachte ich zum Sound der Tiere, der Insekten, der Vögel. « Heute lebt Hole in Oslo und ist weit gereist. Unterwegs sog er Klänge Japans, Indiens, Neuseelands, der USA, der West Bank, Brasiliens und der Azoren in sich auf. Holes Geschichte ließe sich als Erfolgsstory verpacken: Der norwegische Junge, 1981er Jahrgang, aus einem Hundertseelendorf in der Gemeinde Rendalen - steht am 3. Februar 2020 auf der Bühne der Carnegie Hall, New York City, allein mit seinem Kontrabass und dem Programm seines Soloalbums »Lys/Morke«...

Los ging es im Alter von sechs Jahren an der Violine. Mit dreizehn wechselte Hole zum Kontrabass. In den frühen 2000ern studierte er an Norges musikkhogskole (NMH), der Musikhochschule in Oslo, wohin er später als Dozent zurückkehrte. In der norwegischen Musikszene avancierte Hole nach dem Studium schnell zu einer entscheidenden Figur, spielte etwa mit dem Gitarristen Jon Eberson oder dem Saxophonisten Karl Seglem - auf dessen Label NorCD auch ein großer Teil von Holes Einspielungen als Sideman erschien.

Wichtig für seine musikalische Biografie war das Eple Trio. Dort verarbeitete Hole gemeinsam mit Jonas Sjovaag (dr) und Andreas Ulvo (p), beide ebenfalls NMH-Absolventen, Einflüsse aus der norwegischen Folkmusik, aus romantisch-klassischen und barocken Traditionen und der zeitgenössischen (mitunter minimalistischen) Musik. Die Auseinandersetzung mit sog. »ethnischer Musik«, mit im weitesten Sinne klassischen Idiomen sowie Ansätzen des kontemporären Modern Jazz prägt Holes Musik auch heute noch.

2018 war das Jahr des Sich-Etablierens. Da veröffentlichte Hole sein Soloalbum »Elvesang« und mit »Encounters« sein Debüt als Leader im Trio (mit Häkon Aase, vl & Jarle Vespestad, dr) und er nahm das erste Mal als Teil des Trios des Pianisten Tord Gustavsen für ECM auf (»The Other Side«).

Auf dem Kontrabass-Solo-Doppelalbum »Lys/Morke« von 2020 zeigte Hole seine Vorliebe sowohl für Extended technique, die er virtuos beherrscht, als auch für seine fortwährende Naturnähe, denn er nahm bei dem Projekt, eingespielt auf einer einsamen Hütte, Naturgeräusche mit auf. Bei »Roraima« kam die Inspiration unter anderem von den Arbeiten des amerikanischen Ökologen Bernie Krause.
» Der Sound eines Habitats, eines Lebensraums also, kann verwendet werden, um seinen Gesundheitszustand zu begreifen«, sagt Hole an Krause angelehnt, der den Begriff der »Biophonie« als zentral begreift, eines kollektiven und organisierten akustischen Outputs der ver-schiedenen Spezies und Lebewesen. Weiter sagt er: »Die Biophonie ist umsichtig orchestriert. Jeder Klang hat seine eigenes Frequenzspektrum: Säugetiere und Amphibien in den Tiefen, die Vögel mittig und oben, die Überschallkommunikation der Fledermäuse in den höchsten Regionen. « Wo Tierstimmen verstummen, wird es hörbar - das biophonische »soundscape« gerät aus dem Gleichgewicht.

» Das wichtigste, das ich während >Roraima< gelernt habe, ist: Hoffnung ... Hoffnung, dass ein Wandel möglich ist«, sagt Hole. Was die Hörerschaft aus dem Album lernen könnte? »Vielleicht wird es die Leute dazu bringen, neue Fragen zu stellen. Etwa, wie wir besser integrierte und auch bescheidenere Musiker in dem erstaunlichen Orchester, das unser lebendiger Planet ist, werden können. In unserer Fähigkeit zuzuhören, in unserer Fähigkeit zusammenzuarbeiten und in unserer Neugier lässt sich echte Hoffnung finden. Diese Qualitäten werden in Zukunft von größter Wichtigkeit sein. « »Now is the time«, sagt Hole zuletzt, »to start listening. «

JAZZ PODIUM 5 12022 27

Roraima won the German Music Critics´ award!

8 months 11 hours ago

I am deeply honored and very happy to be awarded the German Music Critics´ Award (Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik) for my latest album RORAIMA in the category «Crossover productions» !

The prize, which is commercially independent and highly regarded, has four annual nominations in 32 categories featuring music from all over the world. The jury currently consists of 154 music critics from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

I would like to say a big thank you to the musicians playing on the album: Trygve Seim, Frode Haltli, Hakon Aase, Helga Myhr, Tanja Orning and Per Oddvar Johansen. Also, a thank you Bernie Krause, Oslo World, Kulturkirken Jakob, Strype Audio, Jan Erik Holto, Rain forest foundation Norway, Bjørn Kruse, Elin Waagen, Dan Snow, Jason Hickel, and my dear family - Ida, Einar, Liv, Åse, Karl Sigurd, Ivar Roger, Helen and Rigmor for all your love and support along the way ❤️

RORAIMA nominated for Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik ("German Music Critics Award")

9 months 3 weeks ago

RORAIMA reviewed by AllAboutJazz

7 months 3 weeks ago

"Hole has assembled the perfect roster to bring this ambitious vision to life, with Trygve Seim on saxophone, Hakon Aase on violin, Frode Haltli on accordion, Helga Myhr on hardanger fiddle, Tanja Orning on cello, Per Oddvar Johansen on vibraphone, and of course, himself on the double bass. It is difficult to believe that the album was recorded in a live setting (during its premiere in Jakob Church, Oslo in 2020), as it has the feel of being meticulously wrought and impeccably detailed."


RORAIMA featured in article about UN sustainable development goals

9 months 3 weeks ago

The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) is Norway’s largest public employer organisation. In their recent article on how art might contribute to reaching the 17 sustainable development goals set by the @UN, they point to "Roraima" as an example:


What's it about?

Protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable use of ecosystems, ensuring sustainable forest management, combating desertification, halting and reversing land degradation and halting biodiversity loss.

Why can the cultural field contribute to this goal?

Bassist and composer Sigurd Hole was inspired by an indigenous people in Brazil when he wrote the piece "Roraima". The indigenous people's habitat in the rainforest was subject to major natural disasters caused by illegal gold mining. Recordings of natural sounds in the rainforest, wind in the trees, chirping birds and an approaching jaguar, sounds that are disappearing with the destruction of mankind, were the starting point for the composition. Artists are able to put themselves in different situations, and then turn that knowledge into expressions that touch and inspire to reflection.

RORAIMA reviewed in national Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten (5/6)

9 months 3 weeks ago

RORAIMA on national Norwegian TV (NRK)

10 months 3 weeks ago

Roraima reviewed in NY Times

11 months 1 week ago

Music video from RORAIMA out today!

11 months 3 weeks ago

The video features a track from my upcoming album RORAIMA, out February 18th. RORAIMA was made as a commissioned work for Oslo World in 2020 and reflects themes such as ecological vulnerability and solidarity through listening in on the soundscapes of the Amazon rainforest. Several of these sounds became an important inspiration in the music - both through transcriptions of the singing of birds and other sounds, and in the direct musical interplay between the ensemble and rainforest field recordings.

RORAIMA is also a tribute to the ancient ecological wisdom of Indigenous peoples and brings together old and new ideas about ecology in the form of field recordings by soundscape ecologist Bernie Krause, texts by economic anthropologist Jason Hickel and the mythology of the Yanomami people as described by shaman Davi Kopenawa.

Sound is a fundamental part of how we experience the world around us. As the pace of extinction and loss of natural habitats around the world increases, the sounds of nature – of the animals, birds, insects, fish, trees and rivers – slowly fade away. We need to ask ourselves: what do we want the future to sound like?

I started composing the music for RORAIMA during the first lockdowns in March and April 2020. One of the things I enjoyed the most in the process, was delving into the soundscapes of the Amazon rainforest. In a period of great uncertainty for what the future might hold, these immersive sounds of nature were as much a comfort as they were an inspiration to never stop searching for a brighter future.

David Bowie once said: “Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming”.

Now is the time to start listening.


Video credits

"The presentation dance"
Music by Sigurd Hole

Trygve Seim - saxophone
Håkon Aase - violin
Frode Haltli - accordeon
Helga Myhr - hardanger fiddle
Tanja Orning - cello
Per Oddvar Johansen – vibraphone
Sigurd Hole - Double bass

Sound recording, mix and master by Audun Strype / Strype Audio
Produced by Sigurd Hole and Audun Strype

Live visuals by Jan Erik Holto
Video by Millimedia AS and Oslo World
Edited by Millimedia AS and Sigurd Ytre-Arne

Copyright Elvesang 2022

Release concert for RORAIMA in Hamar, Norway on February 18th! Album out same day - CD, download and streaming.

11 months 3 weeks ago