Spoken Word Festival - When all words are welcome

Spoken Word Festival - When all words are welcome
Guide | Written by: Anna Skau Tolstrup | Translated by: Laura Malahovska | Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The art form of the spoken word takes over Odense again

Odense is invaded by words once again during the annual Spoken Word Festival that takes place from 17th August to 27th August. I still remember when the festival started in 2010:  like a fresh breath of words. Now the festival has taken over all of the Odense, from Studiestuen to Vollsmose Kulturhus and Den Fynske Opera. And the spoken word is in the centre of it all. Readings or recitings as a performance. Spoken Word Festival still stands strong with its own profile and purpose, sharing words - the spoken words. To share them, reflect, entertain, overwhelm and surprise. In short: to explore what the spoken word can do.

This diversity is also evident in this year’s program, which includes everything from stand-up to lectures to stories about bitter old men, told by bitter, old men. The clever and versatile selection of poetry brought from all the corners of the world. And even though I think all of it should be seen, I have selected some special pearls that both emphasise the spoken word festival's all-encompassing vocabulary, but also look after your wallet.


Studenterhuset makes room for the sound of poetry and the development of the art form


Glæd dig til et krydsklippet, samhørighedsskabende svar på alt det, der undre os alle sammen i livet.

Look forward to a cohesive response to all that marvels us in life. Photo: David Ramirez Gomez.

It was a couple of decades ago that people flocked to smoky rooms where a pulsating base concluded Rune T. Kiddes poems about everyday life, the road and the lady, whom he once loved. Playing music at poetry readings has been on retreat for many years, like the smoky rooms. Many still know the spoken word trio ‘We Are Just Sitting Here With Jørgen Leth, Michael Simpson and Frithjof Toksvig’ (‘Vi Sidder Bare Her med Jørgen Leth, Michael Simpson og Frithjof Toksvig’), who have brought spoken word back into Danish consciousness. The Spoken Word Festival offers you to enjoy poetry, that is enhanced by complex music. The music that wraps the words. Grab them in hand or turn their backs on them. This part of the spoken word art form continues to unfold and evolve, and one of the very interesting names this year is ALLE SVARENEs concert on August 26th.

ALLE SVARENE is a mix of videography, electronic music and voices of the young and the old, who both together and each on their own explore all our basic human conditions. I hope for a bombardment of chaotic combination of love, art, education and nature. I hope to get answers to all that we do not know, maybe we can find out together if we REALLY listen to each other. I hope that the artist, David Nordtoft, blows my senses and gives me the "what happened" creative ecstasy.

If my SU-funded account allowed me to spend more than hundred kroner for an event, I would like to be blown away by the troubadour Nikolaj Nørlund. He performs together with pianist Adi Zukanovic and a handful of strings. Nørlund performs his latest album ‘Villa’ on August 19th.

Furthermore, if it does not rain on August 24th, the concert at the Amfiscenen is also at the top of my list. First on stage is the spoken word duo Virga together with musician Nicolas Koch-Simms on the turntable and loop pedals and poet Nikolaj Johansen, focusing his poems to man and nature. Afterwards multi-talented Kristian Leths takes over Odense with his stories.


When the story stands for itself

Pak strikkepindene og tag med en tur ind i Jens Peter Madsen og Anne Marie Nielsens Hjemmestrikkede Historier.

Pack the knitting needles and take a tour into Jens Peter Madsen and Anne Marie Nielsen's Home-knitted Stories. Photo: Historiefortæller Jens Peter Madsen

I saw this performance a few years ago. And I am looking forward to Home-knitted Stories again on August 21st. Odense's grand-old storyteller Jens Peter Madsen is joined by Anne Marie Nielsen for an evening filled with calm, stories and knitting. Well, I am not a big knitter, and it is certainly not a requirement to be able to swing the needles to the rhythm of the story. You can also just come to enjoy listening. There is something special about being able to disappear into a tale, and it becomes even more special when the story is told by true storytellers.

It is not an experience that leaves you blown away. You are more likely to leave with a sense of calm and acceptance of being a part of someone else's story. It of course, requires that you dare to listen to the simple, big things that you are being told.

If for some reson you can't make it to  Home-knitted Stories, you will have a second chance to see Jens Peter Madsen in Grumpy Old Men show on the 22nd of August. 


The open word and your words

Grib dagbogen, lyt til andres og bliv (måske) klogere på, hvorfor det også kan være dejligt at dele det lidt for pinlige og alt for personlige.

Grab your diary, listen to some else's and (maybe) learn why it may be nice to share the bit too embarrassing and way too personal stories. Photo: Katinkamusik

Den Fynske Opera hosts the open words on August 25th. The words that open you up and make you laugh like no other and cry like no other. The diary is a special genre at the Spoken Word festival, because the diary often contains all the things we would never ever say out loud. At the same time, however, it is often the innermost thing, which is written down, sung and expressed. The Spoken Word Festival has invited Katinka Bjerregaardwho often talks about what happens when true honesty becomes public. At the same time there is also an opportunity to get to better know Katinka Bjerregaard's band Katinka. Furthermore, very brave people will read out from their diaries, as we know from the "Dear Diary" television program, which was broadcast on DR.


Golden one-liners, hardy golden grains and (hopefully) golden beer

Lad særpræget velartikulation, opfindsomhed og hårdtspændte beats efterlade dig mundlam.

Let distinctive, well-articulation, ingenuity and hard-wearing beats leave you speechless. Photo: Thorsten Iversen.

This year's Spoken Word festival program has also made room for some painful words. On purpose. Fortunately. WomBattles and Pede B take over Studenterhuset on the 17th of August with freestyle rap competitionand as Pede B himself says, "Those who say that  Fight Night Rappers are useless / Can get a pair of cement shoes and we will see if they can walk on water" in the song Isbjørn. Freestyle rap is both enormously fun, very difficult and intricate, which is a combination for an entertaining evening - and preferably with many golden beers.

If it seems a bit like gibberish, then The Retoric Battle on the 21st of Augusmay also be a good place to experience the evil words.


The wonders of the translation and reflections

En artist talk der går under huden på oversættelsens kunst.

An artist talk that explores the art of translation. Photo: Lyrikporten.

The poet Ursula Andkjær Olsen says in her award-winning poem collection ‘Det tredje årtusindes hjerte’: ”Du er mit // fremmedlegeme, // navnlegeme, / sagnlegeme, / favnlegeme. // Hvis din død er meningsløs, må det være, fordi du er mening, og din / forsvinden ville være forsvinden af mening, dér i mit fjerne indre, dér, / dér rinder mening ud, rinder rose, navn / ud. //”. It's beautiful, straight-forward and incredibly painful. There is a rhythm determined by breaks and intelligent use of the Danish language. And the use of the Danish language creates painful circles in the written expulsion of an abortion. How can that pain be translated so that it appears as powerful, desperate, confusing and meaningful in English? What about the rhythm, the rhymes?

Each language has its own force. Its own distinctive character, accents and words. It recalls me to the lyrics classes I attended couple of semesters ago, in which we were presented with two very different translations of a poem. Ever since, the question has followed me every time I have to translate something: what the hell should I do?

Ursula Andkjær Olsen is flanked by translator Katrine Øgaard Jensen during an artist talk on the 26th of AugustUrsula will read ‘Det tredje årtusindes hjerte’ and Katrine will read the translation of ‘The Third-Millennium Heart’. Afterwards, they will talk about how the hell it is done - the right translation. I am looking forward to it; not necessarily to get an answer, but to become much smarter and get an insight into a translator's work.

Click on the links to events to see location, time and price. And enjoy yourself!


Guide | Written by: Anders Skovgaard | Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Odense’s restaurant revolution continues!

Odense’s restaurant revolution continues!
Opinions | Written by: Bo Jessen | Translated by: Laura Malahovska | Sunday, November 13, 2016

The English-speakers in Odense also need to know what is cooking on the local culinary scene. In this updated translation of our fall text we take a look at the trends and point out new and upcoming restaurants.

About a year ago, we wrote about the restaurant revolution that has transformed Odense into a gastronomic destination. Since then, Restaurant Pasfall has been mentioned in the Michelin Guide, the latest White Guide lists 11 of Odense’s restaurants and notes the city’s development as particularly interesting. The city’s gastronomic scene has also been covered in a series of articles in SAS Travel Magazine, where they also interviewed members of This Is Odense. Food critic Anders Husa has written a food guide for the city, I Pupi Siciliani is ranked amongst the 19 best Italian restaurants in Denmark by the Italian Chamber of Commerce, and Burger Anarchy’s festival burger has been named Denmark's best by Gastromand.dk. The latest praise for the local culinary scene comes from Euroman in an article with the title: “World Class Wines and Michelin ambitions. Odense is no longer just a bump in the road”.

Burger Anarchy being awarded "Best Festival Burger". Photo: gastromand.dk

In the past year a whole lot of new restaurants have opened and there are even more to come...

Lunch restaurants popping up

Light lunch/dinner restaurants emerge both in the centre of town and in nearby neighbourhoods. In November 2015, AC Deli opened its doors on Læssøegade. The restaurant serves hearty, mostly organic salads inspired by Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. Around the same time, Soup Stone Café opened on Store Gråbrødrestræde, and they have been rewarded for their daring dedication to the soups of the world (psst. follow head chef Stephen for an upcoming revelation of the location of restaurant number two. In May 2016, Den Grønne Café opened on Skibhusvej - they serve a variety of salads and light lunches with lots of organic options; in August, Banh Mi Sai Gon opened on Vesterbro, offering nourishing, healthy and authentic Vietnamese street food on the go; in late summer, a space opened up for the sushi street food restaurant Seaweed in Brands Passage, and only a month ago, one of the city’s night club owners, Oliver Gorju, launched Oliver’s Salat Bar in Pogestræde.

AC Deli. Photo: marialouiseskovbo.com

It is a giant leap forward that Odense has reached a point where lunch restaurants are springing up left and right, not only in the city centre, but also in the neighbourhoods around it - as is the case with both AC Deli and Den Grønne Cafe. It makes me hopeful for new restaurants, cafes, or bars opening on the harbour soon. It is also time for the next wave of places to show even greater ambition in exploring different realms of taste and high quality. I hope that the next ones will dare to stand out even more, and that instead of just opening another salad bar, they will find their own niche. The possibilities are endless.

The street food scene is thriving and there is more on the way…

In February 2016, Geoff Bubar opened a Mexican street food place called Gringas in Overgade, built around simple Mexican food based on local and organic ingredients. No misguided adaptations to Danish taste buds, as with most Mexidanish restaurants, but instead uncompromising and authentic. And the overall street food scene has been revived: food trucks from Pedros Grill & Veggies, Allô Bahn Mi, Mads og Mikkel's Lune Pandekager (Mads and Mikkel’s Warm Pancakes) can be found at different events around town. Mads og Mikkel's Lune Pandekager even did a pop-up pancake joint at Kongensgade 8 in december. Very soon a Vietnamese street food restaurant is opening in Vestergade, and we happen to know that there is more (very) exciting street food-news on the way, but it is still too early to talk about that.

Pedros Grill & Veggies. Photo: Pedros Grill & Veggies

Michelin stars in Odense?

Something big is happening on the gourmet scene. Funen’s new gourmet restaurant The Balcony opened this spring at the intersection of Vestergade and Kongensgade. The Balcony's balcony overlooks what once was the most dangerous street corner in Denmark, but the city is changing and this is one of the major signs. Strictly seasonal ingredients from Funen in a formal decor bordering on decadent. Already in June, the restaurant was announced among the high class restaurants in White Guide and named Odense’s best restaurant. In the brand new edition of White Guide, The Balcony ranked as Odense’s best and Scandinavia’s 40th best restaurant - an impressive achievement in such a short time for the young kitchen team. The food has been called ‘excitingly ambitious’ and now the restaurant just needs to find its own way without borrowing from the other Danish top restaurants. Who knows - maybe Odense’s first Michelin star will land above Froggy’s (who could have guessed!?)

Oysters at The Balcony, Vestergade. Photo: The Balcony

In October 2016, in the extension of Odense Theatre, Restaurant Kongens Have opened. Out with the ticket office in the beautiful extension and goodbye to the fact that Odense Theatre has so far been without a proper restaurant. Even though the logo design does not exactly signal 'quality', the tenant proves the opposite. The restaurant is managed by Stefan Graversen, who also runs Restaurant Nordatlanten at the harbour. The interior is light and Scandinavian and an elegant spiral staircase connects the ground and first floor. The café opens in the morning, while the restaurant is open in the evenings and offers three-, five-, or seven course menus - a Danish-French mix with promising combinations. Fyens Stiftstidende seemed excited in their review, and I am looking forward to meals on the summer terrace in Kongens Have. Hopefully other cultural institutions will follow the lead and add food to their the menus.

Café & Restaurant Kongens Have. Photo: Odensespiseguide.dk

Wine bars galore!

It is not only restaurants that proliferate in Odense’s streets. More than five (!) new wine bars have opened in the past year: first came S'vineriet vinapotek that since November 2016 has served fine wines in an industrial setup in Klaregade. Almost at the same time, the guys from mmoks opened a wine bar in the backroom of their restaurant in Kongensgade. In the early summer, it was Lalou Vinbar’s turn to open in Pogestræde, named after the French wine goddess from Bourgogne and this has become my preferred vinous joint. Here Ivan Laursen and Thomas Brieghel serve natural wines (among other choices) and French specialties at a very reasonable price. Almost simultaneously, Noé Vinbar in Kongensgade opened, and finally, during the summer, Amy's Bar & Winehouse - more regular bar than wine bar - raised its curtains.

Lalou Vinbar, Pogestræde. Photo: letsblogsomeshit.dk/

Odense is already home to some of the country's best beer bars, like Christian Firtal - Odense and Carlsens Kvarter, but this summer Bryggeriet Flakhaven got new owners and with them came an even greater focus on local beer from Funen. Add to that a new, bright star among beer bars, namely Dunkbar in Jernbanegade. Behind Dunkbar are two beer nerds, Peter Pagh and Stefan Lund Jørgensen, both of whom used to man the bar at Christian Firtal. Ten taps for beer with focus on quality, and two taps for cocktails. We love nerds and their beers are not just good, but fantastisc. The decor, the lighting, and the music? I could do with a little less midday canteen and a bit more evening beer bar.

Dunkbar's alterpiece

The revolution continues…

There is no indication that the revolution is subsiding. On the contrary.

In November 2016 Bar'Tapas opened its doors between Restaurant No. 61 and mmoks in Kongensgade (will someone please urge construction magnate Thomas Lund to sell Kongensgade nr. 67, so the street can finally be complete?). Mickey og Malte Christensen from Sæson Spisested teamed up with their friend Amir Alwa and have hired Tony Linde, who has previously worked at Ruths in Skagen. They are serving the world’s first running tapas in a Spanish-Danish country kitchen mix with a focus on quality ingredients from small producers and Spanish wines. All-you-can-eat thinking is rarely linked with quality, but in this case the kitchen actually comes close. It is a restaurant with few airs and room for everyone - we called this style ‘gourmet with a hugh-gear attitude’ in our recommendation of Sæson Spisested in our 2016 city guide, and we meant that in the best way possible.

The young team behind Bar Tapas. Photo: Bar Tapas

In December, the exclusive steak restaurant MASH Odense (Copenhagen, Aarhus, London and Hamburg) launch in the nearly completely renovated property at Vestergade 11 with a summer terrace facing Flakhaven. Even though we are more passionate about local food than restaurant chains, we still welcome MASH as another step towards making Flakhaven a vibrant square with an abundance of eateries. The people from MASH themselves point to the shift in mood in Odense as their main reason to open. They are calling Odense “the new Aarhus - a city all restaurants will flock to”. We don’t agree that Odense is anything other than itself, but we are glad that more people are becoming aware of the city’s transformation.

The MASH Odense storefront in winter time, doors will open in summer. Photo: MASH

This isn't all. The city’s vegan food scene - until now kept alive by ØKOllektivet's catering, communal dining in Kærnehuset in Nedergade, Ungdomshusets Café's vegan Thursdays and the Rise of Veganism DK’s occasional events at the harbour - just got a major overhaul with the opening of two new restaurants.

In December Vladimir Stanić and Elisa Bresson opened Venchi, an organic vegan cafe in Pantheonsgade, close to Vestergade. Their menu includes burgers, sandwiches, smørrebrød and, my personal favorite, Balkan- and Mediterranean-inspired dishes. I have long waited for someone to serve good Jugoslavian dishes in Odense and even though the traditional regional cuisine is very meat-based, their greens are an often forgotten delicacy. The interior is industrial-yet-warm.

Furthermore our good friends at ØKOllektivet, who took part in our street event “Gaden som lærred”, have announced the opening of Cafe Kosmos Vegan & Organic in Lottrups Gård, offering vegan and organic dishes with local ingredients and focus on sustainability and animal welfare. Equally worth celebrating is the fact that they plan to host small cultural events at the cafe. That is really exciting stuff, and we are thrilled to watch their plans become reality in the near future.

The team behind ØKOllektivet and Café Kosmos. Photo: ØKOllektivet

The city’s new cultural venue ODEON will also be opening a cafe in the early spring. Fortunately, their initial plan to open another nacho place hell fell apart, and instead they are collaborating with Bo Lindegaard from I’m a Kombo in Copenhagen to create a reasonably priced community oriented dining concept. There will be homegrown vegetables, fish, and more on the menu, focusing on local ingredients from Funen. An eatery for all the different people who will be working and living in and around Odeon and the revived Thomas B. Thrigesgade area in the future.

Looking further ahead, plans for a new indoor farmers market on I. Vilhelm Werners Plads were greenlighted earlier this year, as part of the new project for Thomas B. Thriges Gade. It is a little early to speculate what it will have to offer, but I am hoping for a good relationship between them and Grønttorvet, dedication to produce from Funen and uncompromising quality. So far the first visualisations of the building are looking good with skylights and lots of foliage.

The projected Farmers Market on I. Vilhelm Werners Plads

The Restaurant scene in Odense has taken leaps and bounds in the past few years, and it is important for the city that these initiatives spring from local forces, young and old; people who believe in Odense and show their passion through their work. I have already had quite a few of last year's wishes granted, but there is still great potential for new projects to unfold. I still long for a high quality Middle Eastern restaurant in town, as well as a gourmet Latin American restaurant to supplement Pastel Brasil's informal take on Brazilian cuisine. And what about a farm-to-table restaurant that exclusively cooks with local produce? More venues that combine culture/books/ideas and food? Or what about a seaweed restaurant - we have Denmark's foremost expert in this field, Ole Mouritsen, walking the streets of Odense, after all! What would you like to see in the city? Share your culinary dreams with us in the comments, and then get out and support the new (and the old) restaurants.

ALSO, remember to read our recommendations of the city's 92 most interesting venues, restaurants, shops, and sights of 2016 at www.thisisodense.dk/en/places



Essay | Written by: Jakob Cæsius Krohn | Translated by: Pil Lindgreen | Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The party is over. It's the day after. It's doomsday now. It's Ole Jastrau looking at his pallid face in the mirror on the wall there, citing Pilate's words to the thorn-crowned: "Ecce Homo!". Behold the man! It's Alex Chilton waking up from the euphoria to the sight of a dead parent: ”You’re a wasted face/ You’re a sad eyed lie/ You’re a Holocaust”. It's straight-to-the-point with Iggy Pop's "I Got Nothin": ”Out of the cradle – straight into the HOLE”. It's the second icy winter in a row, and it feels endless. You are on the brink of the abyss, on the edge of the precipice. In other words, you're on Nyborgvej.

Let's rewind a bit.

The eternal Terp and I are at "Restaurant" Østerport. Right away a lady asks him for a dance. She goes by the name of Tina Turner. Everything else is quiet. I go to the bar and carefully choose a seat next to the apparently most normal individual in that waxworks. The completely petrified bartender has no name. I learn that he once, in the beginning of times, had a nasty story with drugs and since then has kept a low profile. Right after a regular comes in and whispers warningly in my ear that the woman I'm talking to is totally nuts.

Fakta has the biggest choice of jarred potatoes in the whole city, as my landlord told me. At the junk dealer I've never found something I can use, that is, except for Mark Twain's weird apocalyptic novel "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court". The kebab-goop wasn't even attractive for my son. When the children's mother came along with a broken vacuum-cleaner at "Nalle", she was told that it would've been cheaper to buy a new one somewhere else. It's a combination of a laundromat and a solarium. From the houses' asbestos trap to Aldi's eastern German misery. Nyborgvej is just a HOLE or ...

And you philosophize about the neighborhood's name: Korsløkke. "The Crucified" and "Dionysus", as Nietzche, author to "Ecce Homo", signed his name on the edge of the precipice. With a noose around his neck? And this despite Claus Deleuran, one of the funniest men in Denmark's history, grew up here. Yes, the street has housed uncountable generations, which since the Middle Ages have been able to see the Cathedral dominate in the distance. Sorrow and joy go hand in hand. And your sweet child is walking beside you. And despite that, the sun warms a bit from the merciless March sky. And just around the corner, your new partner is waiting. In other words, you're on Nyborgvej.


Festivals on Funen

Festivals on Funen
Guide | Written by: Peter Kohlmetz Møller | Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It’s a great pleasure for me to be able to recommend three great festivals on Funen.

I have chosen to focus on what I have experienced and had great fun with – typically what you would categorize as "love hippy festivals", where you can meet up with like-minded and listen to music and partyi in a personal and intimate setting. Things you could easily miss in a time, when major new international festival concepts are being brought to Denmark.

My three picks range from the really quirky, hippie-ish festivals into something more like the established music festivals, but still with the heart in the right place.

Hesbjerg Circus Rally

We start the hippie journey in Hesbjerg. My first recommendation is “Gøglertræf” (Circus Rally) in Hesbjerg, which takes place in the start of August. Here you can enjoy both entertainment and circus, cooking and live music. And Hesbjerg is incredibly beautiful. Sitting around the campfire with a little spliff and watching the stars above can be highly recommended. also, the festival is very family-friendly, so if you bring your kids you are guaranteed great entertainment for them as well. Music wise, genres range from pleasant folk to music in danish.

Read more: https://www.facebook.com/groups/T.0108/

Gøglertræf in Hesbjerg

Common Festival

If you move ever so slightly from the more sloppy hippie-like festivals to the more activist and cheeky department, then course is set for Fællestival; the psychedelic late-hippie festival of Southern Funen. Fællestival is a 100% non-profit festival. The title means “Common Festival”, and it is really a festival of pure community spirit where everyone contributes and helps to create a great event. This means, among other things, that everybody is cooking the meals together, conducted by a competent kitchen crew who put together a fantastic menu. Last time I was there, we baked lamb clubs in large excavated holes in the ground, it was pretty awesome. I have played  at the festival several times and enjoyed the crazy community that arise in such a place. Musically it is in the somewhat more progressive department, and this year the festival seems to have a special focus on underground acts from the metal scene as well as some electronic music. But I wonder if there won't still be room for some crazy bookings? - There usually is!

Read more: http://www.faellestival.dk/


Love in Skarø

For the more postmodern hippies, who pay for their own food and sleep in their own tents (unless...), but want to experience the spirit of "the universal 60s festival", the Love In, Festival On Skarø is an unforgettable little gem. Lasse Bekker, journalist, Skarø inhabitant and entrepreneur, has managed to transform what once was a little annoying sailor festival with miserable copy music to a serious contender for the title as leading music festival on Funen in just a few years.

Located on the incredibly small and incredibly cozy island Skarø in Svendborgsund, Lasse and co. has put up a wonderful little festival. It literally takes place in Lasse’s own house and garden and is inherently surrounded by water on all sides. So if you get a little light-headed, you can go for a swim and get your mind dusted off a bit after a hard night.

The festival has had an impressively large number of guests; not least because of the combination of both gambled and safe bookings which really is the heart of the entire experience.

Read more: http://www.lovein.dk/

Love In, Festival of Skarø

Have a nice summer! See you out there in the Funen summer!


This Is Odense