The Edge of Wrong Music Festival returns to Cape Town this week from tomorrow until Sunday. For those not in the know, Edge of Wrong (EOW) is one of the only fully improvised music festivals in the country and each year includes collaborations between musicians from Norway and South Africa.
Thus far, the organisers have presented works in the form of dance, storytelling, music, cooking, fine art, literature and stranger performances such as those by a world-record-holding yo-yo champion and music co-ordinated to live ping-pong.
The festival is the brainchild of Norwegian musician Morten Minothi Kristiansen and has been running for the past nine years in South Africa, with help from his partner, Simen Skoe.
The festival started for the first time in Joburg last week with performances at Wits. Though there had been previous plans to launch the festival in Joburg, this was the first year that this idea had reached fruition.
After arriving from a long drive to Cape Town, Kristiansen says: “It was fun getting so lost in a new city. We had less funding than previous years, but it was an idea that was matured enough and ready. Life moves faster in Joburg and it was an amazing experience.”
He says the festival was well received, including the most extreme performances, and that they were helped tremendously by South African bassist Carlo Mombelli.
The theme this year is The Naked Truth, which features a slightly risqué image of Kristiansen dancing naked on a bar counter for the festival poster. A radical move for any festival director, Kristiansen says that although he is not entirely comfortable with it, “the image stands for what the Edge of Wrong is all about, in the sense of being an exploratory, open and honest music festival.”
Each year the festival requires a considerable amount of work and receives most of its funding from Norway. This year, Concerts SA have come on board to aid the festival. For the past few years, parallel Edge of Wrongs have happened in Norway in September.
Kristiansen says: “This is taking shape as a residency for South African artists to come over and explore the scene here.”
Nine years later, he reflects: “I’ve become much better at organising. I’ve learnt much more about South Africa and people in general. I’m also constantly amazed by the cultural difference between life in the cities and in the townships. It has been a humbling experience for me. Coming from being lost in Joburg and the longest drive ever, it feels good to come home to Cape Town.”
Performances start tomorrow evening at Ibuyambo in Langa, followed by gigs at Straight No Chaser (ex-Mahogany Room) on Saturday and Sunday. Artists on the line-up are from New York, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden and France and some of the local artists include Dizu Plaatjies, Kesivan Naidoo, Brydon Bolton, Makeson Browne and Shane Cooper.