2010 – 2011
The founder of Nedland Kultur, Sigbjørn Nedland, spent his teenage years in Mandal, a small town in the south of Norway. So did composer and musician Bjørn Charles Dreyer. Returning to his hometown after several years as one of the top musicians in Oslo, Dreyer composed a piece of music based on the sounds and rhythms of the famous boat motor “Marna”, which was produced in Mandal for many years. On hearing this composition, Sigbjørn Nedland approached him, saying: “You have now invented a new form of cultural expression: Maritime Musical History, but you must realise that you have just started on this new journey. Now you have to move on from the old time boat motors to the 1970, Mandal-invented, water jet driven Westamaran!“
The first Westamaran was built in Mandal, Norway in 1971, and it played an important part in revolutionising boat transport and in the introduction of fast ferries. It weathered the fierce polar storms along the coast of Northern Norway. It sailed smoother waters bringing passengers from one Greek island to another, and it ventured into the Carribbean and Indian Oceans, and many other places.
Bjørn Charles Dreyer pondered this idea for some time, while Nedland Kultur stood by, ready to start organising a project. In 2010 the idea and the project had ripened, funds had been provided, and Dreyer gave the project a go. The idea was to create a piece of music based on the sounds of the Westamaran – its motor, its motion through the water, the sounds on board and the sounds of the boat from under the surface of the water – and to complement this by soundscapes, atmosphere and music from one or more of the many harbours where Westamarans has rendered its services to travellers. A rather weird and unusual idea indeed, but somehow suppport was gathered – from the Norwegian Cultural Fund and others – enough to make the idea a reality, and to travel to one of the harbours where the Westamaran had been serving travellers for years. t
December 2011 saw Bjørn Charles Dreyer and Sigbjørn Nedland in Zanzibar, together with Erland Dahlen and Hallvard W. Hagen, doing recordings for the Westamaran music production. Two Tanzanian musicians, Mohammed Issa “Matona” Haji on oud and violin, and Anania Ngoriga on kalimba and guitar, added their African flavours to the music. Studio was set up in a hotel room.
The motor, the boat, the harbour, the sea – everything was recorded to provide the composer with the right sounds to create his work from.
Back in Norway, the music was carefully crafted, outgrowing the original sketches made before departure to Zanzibar. Sounds of music, machines, instruments and electronics were melted together into a unique piece of music, released on the CD “wESTAMAN” in November 2013 to very good reviews, for instance in “All About Jazz”: