London’s Nordic culture fest, Ja Ja Ja, returns later on this month with yet another varied and grabbing line-up of artists from across the Scandinavian and Icelandic shores. With Emilíana Torrini on top billing and what organisers promise will be a cutting edge food programme presided over by Finnish gastronome Antto Melasniemi, the festival is pulling out all the stops for its 2014 outing.
Spread across two venues, the festival will also host ‘remixed’ editions of the feted Ja Ja Ja club night at The Lexington (on the Thursday and Friday) before a special all-day performance at Queen Mary University’s historic Great Hall on the Saturday, headlined by Torrini. Other acts performing this year include When Saints Go Machine, Asbjørn, Fufanu, Nils Bech, Sumie and Swedish powerhouse, Jenny Wilson, whose sell-out show at The Lexington back in February remains one of the year’s live highlights.
Wilson has had a whirlwind 12 months with the release of her latest long-player, Demand the Impossible!, which earned her several Swedish Grammis. In a chat with Londonist ahead of her appearance at Ja Ja Ja, Wilson is effusive about her last gig here. “That night was absolutely wonderful,” she recalls. “The crowd was crazy. I loved every minute of that show!”
With adoring reviews for the album and much buzz around her live shows, we ask Wilson whether there is one achievement from the past year which she is particularly proud of. “I am very proud of the fact that my political stand has received so much attention,” she says. “This has given me a real good platform to express what I think is important and worth fighting for. There is, for me, only one way to work and that is from the bottom of my heart. I have to feel and believe in what I do, otherwise there is no meaning to it. And I guess that's the only way to reach out to other people, to the audience, giving the very distillate of what I think matters.”
Wilson is currently writing poetry for a new art project, A MILLION MILES FROM CIVILIZATION. “This is going to be a collection of poems that I will perform as my alter ego, The Street Prophet,” she tells us. The Street Prophet was originally a character Wilson created for University of my Soul, a hard-hitting track on Demand the Impossible!, and she is excited to be able to bring it to life outside the album.
After Ja Ja Ja Wilson will continue touring around Europe. A deluxe re-release of Demand the Impossible! will be available in the UK in early 2015, via Danish indie label Crunchy Frog.
Ja Ja Ja is on between 13-15 November. Tickets £10-£40. For more information and a full line-up visit the festival website.