Song & walk (Sång & Gång)
"The Path", the song-walk that started 2012 from Trondheim and went singing and dancing, walking and talking all the way to Copenhagen, was an overwhelming experience! The mere numbers; 5 months, 1000 km, 25 concerts and 3 seminars fail to capture the heart of its impact on those who took part. But if you shared in a phrase of the singing or a phase of the walking, you probably know better what it was all about in essence.
Once we had reached Copenhagen we could not stop there. For three summers thereafter Peter Elmberg, Anders Nyberg and Anders Claesson walked through Denmark just for the fun of it without having had much of events to worry about. In 2016 we sat foot on the continent and walked from Puttgarten to Lübeck where Jennifer and Anders ended with a lovely workshop and a concert in St. Jacobi-Kirche! I am sure pilgrims have blissfully danced around this old pilgrim-church previously in its long history, but probably never to African songs! What a beautiful ending of a walk-week as this multi-culti choir, in the midst of surprised Lübeckians and in a year of great migrations, spiralled around the church to ululations and circular singing!
In 2017 we reached Hamburg and in July we did one of the most remarkable song-walks in the history of the Path. The event just preceded the G20 meeting in Hamburg where the city was visited not only by world leaders but there was an even stronger felt presence of protesters and police. Led by pilgrim pastor Bernd Lohse of the Sankt Jakobi Kirche in Hamburg 300 people walked through the city center continuously singing in harmony. We passed some of the city's central sights representing 10 different themes where we after a short introduction introduced a new song that rapidly spread its 4 parts through the 300-headed crowd before we sat off singing to the next sight. A prerequisite for the success of the event was of course the presence of the Hamburger Oratorienchor with 60 good singers who had had the benefit of learning the songs beforehand under the beautiful leadership of Tekla Jonathal. But the impact was great as we songwalked passed the endless rows of police doing high-fives with them as we passed. They could not help smiling at this unusual break from their otherwise rather harsh routines those days.
The Hamburg experience marked the beginning of a new stage of the path. A lot of inspiration and repertoar at our gatherings are drawn from the South-African experience of singing for freedom in rather hostile and urban situations. That has merged with experiences from the Nordic horizon of pastoral singing in nature. The South-African cultural context has often been a very spirited but sometimes less organised event while the Scandinavian has been the opposite; great organisation but less inspiration. The Singing on the German soil in Hamburg somehow brought the best from the two worlds. A great spirit found a fitting and magnificent form. The best of the North and the South met on the continent and something new manifested.
We carry on walking and singing. From 2018 the Path has wound its way upstream the Elbe. A week of walking took us from Hamburg to Hitzacker on either side of Elbes surprisingly pastoral and natural shores accompanied by songs of birds and sights of beaver. We carried on in 2019 to Wittenberge, being forced to a halt in the Coronayear 2020 and in 2021 we will hopefully reach Magdeburg.
For more information on the Path we refer to its own homepage: www.thepath.nu