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Maja Ratkje – key role at Imogen Heap’s new Reverb Festival

By Tomas Lauvland Pettersen Posted: 20. Aug, 2014

Imogen Heap’s new Reverb Festival kicks off this weekend. Composer and vocal artist Maja Ratkje is featured prominently on the Roundhouse festival’s exciting roster.

Composer and vocal artist Maja Ratkje plays a central role at Imogen Heap’s new London Festival Reverb, performing as part of the event ‘One Man Band’ on Friday 22nd while her vocal work ‘Ro-Uro’ sees its UK premiere the following day, performed by The Norwegian Girls Choir.

Staged at London’s the Roundhouse, Reverb 2014 is curated by Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Imogen Heap.
Described by Heap as an exploration in living contemporary composers with heavy leanings toward technology, Reverb will center around four shows in the Roundhouse’s central stage, alongside free workshops, talks and interactive sound installations.

Additional artist highlights at Reverb include performances by Arve Henriksen, Plaid & Bruno Zamborlin, Tim Exile, London Contemporary Orchestra, Alexander Schubert, Joby Burgess, Simon Steen-Andersen, Nick Ryan and Mira Calix to name just a few.

Earlier this year, Heap traveled to Norway to meet and be inspired by Ratkje, a visit that resulted in a closer bond between the two as well as this video:

One-Man Band

Friday 22nd sees Heap presenting an inspiring ‘One-Man Band’ event at the Roundhouse, featuring 6 diverse pioneers of new instrumental and electronic music, each hand-picked by the festival’s curator.

The Roundhouse’s Main Space will be transformed to contain 6 performance podiums, each with a virtuoso composer/performer in their own space including Imogen Heap (piano/vocal improvisation), vocal/electronics from Maja S. K. Ratkje, cello/electronics from Peter Gregson, violin/electronics from Pekka Kuusisto and trumpet/electronics from Arve Henriksen.

Each performer will take to their podium for 40 minutes in a completely unique performance specially created for Reverb. Audiences will be invited to gather around each stage as their moment comes, and will also witness unique collaborations between each of the artists.


Saturday 23rd of August sees The Norwegian Girls’ Choir performing the UK premiere of Ratkje’s ‘Ro-Uro’. The piece focuses on war, peace, order and chaos through a collage of historic material and traditional Norwegian folk music and lullabies.

‘Ro – Uro’s’ (‘Peace – Unrest’) theme is centred on war and peace, order and chaos. The work aims at describing for the listener, through the use of old, pre-Christian texts from the Nag Hammadi Library, how chaos evolves when the sources of the universe are not in balance. It brings in from the shadow of modern Christianity the feminine power of God, through the myth of Sophia.

The piece challenges the choir members to use not only their voices, but also movement on stage space. The piece is composed with light design, and directions. The use of folk songs is important, as is giving new hope through the playground material and lullabies.

The work was originally written for, and premiered by, the Norwegian Girls Choir.

Full festival programme HERE.


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