There were two of them, they barely spoke, they wanted to rehearse quietly and take a nap. They had a specific idea of what they wanted to create – the atmosphere, the room, the acoustics – and their impassive reaction to our attempt to shift the control was enough to make us abandon the idea. We are used to directing the events, to inspiring and motivating the artists, to warming up the audience. But this evening we were no longer the ones in control. The directors were Erlend and Eirik, the Kings of Convenience.
Shortly before the arrival of the public, I tried to convince them to start their performance in another room. Erlend calmly responded ‘I’m a very anxious person. Let me feel comfortable and you’ll see…’ Eirik added, smiling, ‘something spontaneous will always happen’.
It was if they had planned every detail. They were waiting in a back room, playing quietly to themselves. When signalled, we joined them. They told us where we should sit, and asked us not to clap, but to rub our hands together instead. Erlend was rather exact with the seating arrangements, determined not to have his back to anybody. When we were all seated, he asked for silence.
Straight away it felt as though something a bit unusual was happening, something a bit crazy. At first there wasn’t even any singing, just a few tunes floating around in the air, creating a bubble, a little cocoon, in which we sat, carefully listening. As they sang, their eyes routinely met those of the other, creating an extraordinary intimacy between the two of them. An intimacy far deeper than the word’s all too frequent use nowadays. The last time we heard such accomplished singing is when Fleet Foxes – also great masters of the harmony – took over the Grand Palais.
The pair got up, Erlend danced with his imaginary trumpet and they accepted the fact that we couldn’t help but applaud. We were invited to join them in singing an old cover, and did so whilst parading down the stairs with them. We were trembling with excitement. Arriving downstairs, in a resurging silence, we were left to listen to the final two songs and contemplate the chaps in front of us. There were two of them, but we were most certainly all with them.
Thank you to Francis and Chiara, who welcomed us into their beautiful apartment, and to Clementine who convinced them to do so.
Thank you to our team for successfully adapting to changes at the last minute, and still leaving us with a great film.
Thank you to Arte Live Web for their patience. And thank you to Kings of Convenience and their families for agreeing to participate.
It must also be noted than Kings of Convenience have a new album, Declaration of Dependence. It is sublime.