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Finnish ensemble Oddarrang to heat up for jazz fanatics

By Grania McFadden

Belfast is a city fairly brimming over with jazz these days. Step into any city centre bar at the weekend and the chances are a jazz band will be tucked into the corner, the strains of Canteloupe Island wafting across the room.

Jazz cats looking for a different buzz will be heading for the Elmwood Hall this evening, for something a little more contemporary – a little more Scandinavian.

And fans of the late Esbojorn Svensson will already have booked their seats to hear Finnish ensemble Oddarrang.

They blew audiences away with their performance at last year's London Jazz Festival, and look set to do the same in the Elmwood Hall.

Oddarrang create a sound that ricochets from free jazz to lyricism and on to rock anthem sounds, with a line-up that features electric guitar, cello and trombone. There's even a hint of Irish folk in some of their pieces. There's a cinematic feel to it all, and it's not surprising they cite Sigur Ros as one of their inspirations.

In fact, drummer Olavi Louhivuori denies Oddarrang are a jazz band at all. The group like to play in places which don't determine the musical style too much. He says the band's sound is influenced by musicians as varied as Arcade Fire, Steve Reich and Brian Eno. Something for jazzers and non-jazzers alike.

They'll be supported by Danish group Girls In Airports, whose global sound includes Jamaican dub, a splash of Ethiopian music, and the rhythms of Brazil.

If you prefer something classical, festival has got it sorted for you, too. The stunning surrounds of Clonard Monastery provide the backdrop for Vivaldi's Four Seasons – an appropriate venue for the composer nicknamed the Red Priest. The performance will be given by one of the UK's leading historical performance ensembles, La Serenissima. The programme includes the violin concerto Grosso Mogul, and a double violin concerto. The music will float to the very rafters. Nice.

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