“Alumni-in-residence” Balgyp at the Masters ceremony at the University of Agder!

In an event at the University of Agder, Balgyp captivated an audience of 900 people at “Plenen” during the Master’s ceremony, heralding the commencement of the inaugural “Alumni-in-Residence” (AIR) programme. This initiative is designed to support alumni from the Department of Popular Music, fostering a bridge between past and present music students while promoting networking and experience sharing. “Balgyp, with their diverse musical journey from the University of Agder, embodies the spirit of this initiative,” said Stina Ask Mikkelsen of UiA Alumni.

Collaboration Between the Department of Popular Music, CreaTeME, and UiA Alumni

AIR 2024 is a collaborative effort involving the Department of Popular Music, CreaTeME, and UiA Alumni. Among 13 applicants for the spring 2024 alumni residency, Balgyp stood out and was awarded the prestigious first edition of the AIR programme. The band’s members have explored various musical disciplines during their studies at the University of Agder, resulting in a unique fusion of cultures and genres that defines their music.

A Fusion of Musical Disciplines

Balgyp’s lineup includes bassist Sondre Evora Voie-Jessen, who holds a bachelor’s degree in rhythmic music and a master’s in world music from UiA; guitarist Adrian Eidhamar McAllister, who pursued bachelor’s and master’s studies in classical music; and vocalist Johanna Tiedje, who transitioned from bachelor’s studies in classical music to a master’s in world music. Their diverse educational backgrounds have enriched their collective passion for Balkan, Romani, and Arabic music, sparking the inception of Balgyp.

Crafting their own Sound

Their mission to delve into and reinterpret these musical traditions has led Balgyp to draw inspiration from jazz, classical music, and African genres like soukous and Congolese rumba. This has resulted in a vibrant tapestry of cultural influences that defines their sound. Since their formation, Balgyp has made a significant impact on the Norwegian music scene. They have released an EP featuring unique arrangements of Bulgarian music, performed numerous concerts in Kristiansand, and successfully toured Southern Norway. With the upcoming release of their second EP, reimagining Romani tunes, Balgyp is preparing for a tour across southeastern Norway to showcase their latest musical endeavors.

Creating Their Debut Album

Balgyp is also in the process of crafting their debut album, which promises to be a culmination of their collective creativity. Featuring original compositions inspired by the folk music traditions they cherish, the album will highlight Balgyp’s commitment to preserving and reinventing cultural musical heritage.

Recognition of Dedication and Innovation

Receiving the “Alumni-in-Residence 2024” honour is a testament to Balgyp’s dedication, innovation, and artistic vision. As they continue to push boundaries and explore new musical horizons, Balgyp remains a shining example of the power of collaboration and cultural exchange in the world of music. “We’re hopeful that this alumni initiative will also spark inspiration across disciplines at UiA, prompting the creation of their own ‘Alumni-in-Residence’ programs. Such initiatives have the potential to cultivate meaningful collaboration among alumni, students, and employees at UiA,” stated Stina Ask Mikkelsen.

Members of Balgyp

Jo Tiedje – Vocal and percussion

Bjørn-Petter Tøsse – Accordion

Adrian McAllister – Guitar, mandolin, and choir

Sondre Evora Voie-Jessen – Bass, baryton-guitar, and choir

Michał Nietyksza – Drums

Explore Balgyp’s Music

Discover Balgyp’s unique sound on Spotify: Balgyp on Spotify here:

Photo by CreaTeME-team