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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Melfi

Native Young and Alex Serra team up for debut in Copenhagen’s Christiania

Updated: Dec 17, 2019

More from Denmark’s capital of cannabis—and world music?

On September 29, Copenhagen’s Freetown Christiania experienced another example of its notoriously liberal arts scene. Except the performance by Native Young and Alex Serra in the Byens Lys cinema wasn’t an example of radical hedonism, but rather relaxed artistic expression.

Hosted by a crew of artists, singers and dancers surrounding South African musician Yannik Meyer and Barcelona-based multi-instrumentalist Alex Serra, it was the crew’s debut collaboration in Denmark. It was also the first in a line of planned annual gatherings in the Copenhagen neighbourhood.

The scene was a melange of old, cinematic character and a botanical wonderland. As the artists navigated a sonic space new and contemporary, they did so whilst resting upon an antiquated stage, their audience sitting comfortably in the cushions of the theatre’s aging red felt. The Byens Lys theatre is one of the small community’s most central spaces, but rarely used for much else than the occasional screening. For Elias Lindhardt, a Christiania native in charge of the event’s promotion and curation, it was an experiment that worked out.

Native Young’s selection of South African, folk-inspired singing and guitar proved a timeless match to its surroundings. While Alex Serra—who is also a founding member of Native Young—opened, his beat boxing and loop station enabled the artist to add an organic percussive element to what was a flawless display of guitar and falsetto. Whether in Spanish, English or the aboriginal tongues of South Africa, Native Young and Serra cultivated a rich oral tradition and a performance that was more than just harmonic indie rock.

“We are hoping to do it again next year,” Lindhardt posited after the show. “In celebration of Christiania’s birthday.” The semi-autonomous zone which was originally founded in the 1970s, recently celebrated its 47th birthday.

Christiania has become famous across the world for its liberal consumption of cannabis and hashish. But on September 29, many of its residents, as well as its curious visitors, were reminded of a different kind of creative colony; a community of artists, who while self-reliant, continue to propel the positive cultivation of artistic assistance and radical self-belief.

Native Young is on Spotify | Facebook

Alex Serra is on Soundcloud

Photo courtesy of Facebook.

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