CreaTeME presents “Alumni-in-Residence 2024”: Balgyp

“We are thrilled to announce the launch of the first “Alumni-in-Residence”(AIR) programme. AIR is aimed at supporting alumni from the Department of Popular Music, while also bridging the gap between past and present music students, fostering networking and experience sharing. Balgyp, with their diverse musical journey from the University of Agder, embodies the spirit of this initiative,” says Stina Ask Mikkelsen at UiA Alumni.

Collaboration between the Department of Popular Music, CreaTeME and UiA Alumni
AIR 2024 is a collaboration between the Department of Popular Music, CreaTeME and UiA Alumni. There were a total of 13 applicants who applied for the alumni in residency programme for spring 2024. 
Balgyp, a band with a diverse musical background, has been awarded the prestigious first edition of the “Alumni-in-Residence” in 2024. Comprised of members who have traversed various musical disciplines during their academic pursuits at the University of Agder at the Department of Popular Music, Balgyp’s journey is a fusion of cultures and genres.

The band’s bassist, 
Sondre Evora Voie-Jessen pursued a bachelor’s degree in rhythmic music and a master’s degree in world music at UiA (University of Agder). The guitarist, Adrian Eidhamar McAllister on the other hand, delved into bachelor’s and master’s studies in classical music and the vocalist Johanna Tiedje navigated through bachelor’s studies in classical music followed by a master’s degree in world music.

Collective passion for Balkan, Romani, and Arabic music
Their collective passion for Balkan, Romani, and Arabic music sparked the inception of Balgyp during their time at UiA. Their mission was clear: to delve into the intricacies of these musical traditions and craft their own interpretations through collaborative arrangements. Drawing inspiration from jazz, classical music, as well as African genres like soukous and Congolese rumba, Balgyp’s sound becomes a vibrant tapestry of cultural influences.

Since their inception, Balgyp has left an indelible mark on the Norwegian music scene. They have released an EP featuring their unique arrangements of Bulgarian music, performed numerous concerts in Kristiansand, and embarked on a successful tour across Southern Norway. Now, with the impending release of their second EP comprising reimagined Romani tunes, the band is gearing up for a southeastern Norway tour to showcase their latest musical endeavors.

Furthermore, Balgyp is 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 hold dear, the album will serve to Balgyp’s commitment to preserving and reinventing cultural musical heritage.

A testament to Balgyp’s dedication, innovation, and artistic vision
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 also will 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,” says Stina Ask Mikkelsen at UiA Alumni.

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
Serhat Sahin – Drums

Check out Balgyps music here on Spotify: DoQUYw

Photo by Marcel Tiedje