Episode 4: Maja S. K. Ratkje – Contemporary sound from the North

Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje, composer

In the new episode of “the Nordics Unveiled”, Eldbjørg Hemsing is joint by one of the Nordic’s most exciting composers of the younger generation, the bold and charismatic Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje. Maja is most definitely on the forefront, when it comes to the musical avant-garde, known for stark contrasts and a nuanced balances. She is celebrated and awarded with prizes both in Scandinavia and abroad, including the Edvard Prize and prestigious UNESCO Rostrum Award.

Throughout the episode, Maja S. K. Ratkje joins Eldbjørg Hemsing for a conversation exploring the Nordic sound, contemporary music impulses and her playfulness with improvisation in sound making.

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The Nordic expression in music can be clear, often very strong and intimate. It’s probably not the right to say it in such way, but it is ‘very often to the point’. Even in making complex contemporary music, there is still a clear music expression. Arne Nordheim, probably the most famous Norwegian composer after Edvard Grieg, is the first name that comes to my mind, when people talk about Nordic music. And it is still full of warmth, directness and in some way comfort.

Maja S. K. Ratkje, The Nordics Unveiled

Maja S.K. Ratkje, composer in her home in Svartskog Foto: Ellen Lande Gossner
Maja S.K. Ratkje, composer in her home in Svartskog (Foto: Ellen Lande Gossner)

We need to re-define what the Nordic identity is, as the world around is changing and we are becoming a bigger part of it. We need artistic reflections on what the rest of the world does to us and not only being nostalgic. We need the good art that lifts up the dark spaces and criticizes things that we too often take for granted. We need art that is beautiful in new ways and does not play only on clichés.

Maja S. K. Ratkje, The Nordics Unveiled

Listen to Maja S. K. Ratkje’s music


Production of podcast “The Nordics Unveiled” was made possible with generous support form foundations Dextra Musica and Bergesenstiftelsen.

The Nordics Unveiled © Hestia Arts AS

Matic Gajsek, Executive producer
Mathias Myren, Sound production