With film and television productions halted, and art galleries essentially shut down, music artists took a particularly exigent position at the forefront of our cultural survival in the early months of the coronavirus crisis. Frederick Saroea, frontman of Norwegian indie stalwarts Datarock, in particular wrote and recorded the album Rona Diaries, which came out in May of 2021, just as the first vaccination programs brought an initial wave of hope – which would later be daunted by surges of the deadly Delta and Omicron variants.
Remarkably, the Bergen International Festival carried on in that same month, as live music was first attempting to make a comeback. Saroea, certainly no stranger to grand gestures, teamed up for a performance there with fellow countrymen/women the BIT20 Ensemble, a contemporary chamber concern founded in 1989 which has commissioned more than a hundred original works since its inception. The result is the strikingly truly exquisite LP Rona Diaries: The Chamber Versions Live at Grieg Hall, Bergen, which will be released via YAP Records on June 10 – nearly three months after Norway lifted the last of its COVID related travel restrictions. READ MORE