Reggae music meets Nord-Trøndelag
Heidi Håvan Grosch
When you think of Norwegian music, I would guess Edvard Grieg comes to mind before Lius Machado, but as Bob Dylan once sang, “the times they are a changin’,” and now the music of the world is playing a Norwegian song.
I recently participated in Barnas Verdensdag (World Children’s Day) in Levanger (North Trøndelag), contributing a couple shakes of a tambourine to a 5th grade choir led by a group of musicians from Oslo. Lius Machado was one of those musicians, playing amazing rhythms on a variety of instruments, many of which I had never seen before. He was patient with my amateur claviers, and after observing his “style” I asked if he worked with children much. Thus began an interesting conversation about a man seriously contemplating trading the nightclub stage for a career filled with opportunities to inspire a younger set. “It’s nice to see how they react,” Machado says, “and we gain more than they do. One can learn so much with so much good energy!”
Like many of us, love brought this drummer, composer, singer, and festival producer to Norway seven years ago from his native Brazil, but it was music that made him stay. “It is easier to get both funding for projects and to find high quality musicians to collaborate with here in Norway,” he told me. Machado specializes in Reggae music, and I asked how this had been received in Norway. “We haven’t had the biggest audiences,” he says, thankful now that it is getting better. “When you play in a show, people begin to know your work and become very interested in going deeper in knowing you and what you do and where you come from.”
Machado and his band, the Chakras (started in 2001), have a new CD made possible with funding from FFUK (www.ffuk.no). Although it is directed to an adult audience, I have no doubt that a children’s CD is in his future. “A child’s feedback is so pure and honest,” he reflected, so different in many ways from working in a nighttime club or festival environment. Machado is currently working on a full show for kids including Brazilian songs and stories in Norwegian. “Music is important to develop your brain skills and body coordination,” he says, and the magical rhythms he brings to life are sure to get kids a-hoppin’ … and a-learnin’. Fingers crossed.
FOOTNOTE: FFUK (www.ffuk.no), or the Fund for the Performing Artists (Fond for utøvende kunstnere) helps fund recordings involving collaboration between professional artists in Norway. With their help, Machado and a group of fellow musicians put together their newly released CD, Understand. For more information, visit Machado’s website, www.chakras.no.
This article is a part of Heidi Håvan Grosch’s column Rønningen Ramblings, which appears a couple times a month in the Norwegian American Weekly.
This article originally appeared in the Oct. 31, 2014, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.