Monthly Archives: April 2013

poetry + music @ RETRO Nørrebro

As promised, some news on what’s on this Friday night in the café.

Twice a month, RETRO Nørrebro hosts an open-mic night, featuring local musicians and singer-songwriters in a cozy, intimate setting. This week, however, we’re changing it up: we have a returning series of poetry readings accompanied by music.



  • Rasmus Brix Jacobsen, singer-songwriter whose work includes a recently released EP, “Paper Boats”

So, how is this all going to come together? Each poet has his own distinct style, but expect Jacobsen’s indie-folk sound to give the performance a unifying theme, through a reasonable amount of improvisation.

Earlier this week I met with Jonas Reppel, one of tomorrow night’s poets, to give me some insight into this unique performance concept and talk about his goals within the Copenhagen poetry scene.

“There is never anything planned when we go on stage with a musician, so it is always interesting to see what happens,” said Reppel, who, since his first reading with music at Jazzhouse, has read with guitar players, pianists, bassists, and electronic DJs to provide counterpoint for his readings. “A good poem must be able to stand strong if there is music or not, but music can make the poems more edible for people. When a man reads with music, he needs to follow the musician and listen… it’s always exciting because the poetry is no longer an independent instrument, but it is forced to work with the atmosphere created.”

Reppel co-founded a reading project called Poetry and Piano to further this concept, alongside poets Claus Høxbroe and Kasper Bjerre. Readings are accompanied by jazz pianist Viktor Dahl.

Jonas Reppel, who began writing at the age of 12, regularly hosts readings at the Copenhagen Poetry Club.

“Good poetry is music,” Reppel said.  “A good poem is full of music, color, rhythm, and is like a mirror for listening, so it must be able to stand strong if you hear it with music or without, I think. But I’ve always thought that poetry and music belong together.”

To contrast the romantic and symbolic nature of Stochholm’s poems and the contemporary, biting language of Bjerre’s, Reppel’s lyrics are sharp, real, and adamantly devoid of fiction.

“My inspiration comes from my everyday life- I write about the things I see,” he said. “You could call my poems photos and my books photo albums. My inspiration is what I experience at the moment it is happening. I write about everything from childhood memories, love, daily life, nature, country and city… nothing is too big or too small.”

Above: Reppel reading at Næstved Hovedbibliotek in 2011 (Danish)

Reppel is currently working on his second anthology, and has done a handful of small reading tours around Copenhagen, as well as in the towns of Næstved and Stege. While his ultimate goal is to invest some time and money into compiling anthologies and possibly a novel or collection of short stories, he is happy to be one of RETRO’s returning volunteer performers tomorrow night.

“It supports a good cause, and it is important to use your art to achieve that cause,” Reppel said. “RETRO is a beautiful and very intimate place where audiences and performers come in a very special atmosphere. I love to perform at RETRO.”

Reppel, Bjerre, Stochholm, and Jacobsen will perform at RETRO Nørrebro, Jægersborggade 14, 2200 starting at 20:00. Come have a beer or two, grab a seat on the couch, and start off your evening the inspiring way.






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a little buzzed blogging for ya

It’s kind of amazing, what’s going on at this bar I suddenly have the privilege of working behind.

I say this because being there is so fun already and feels so perfect that I’m worried that writing about it so admiringly will jinx it.

I’ve spent the past two evenings working behind the bar at Søernes Ølbar, the new sister bar of Ørsted Ølbar. Tonight was the third night in a row I’ve had chips, sausage, peanuts, and high-gravity porters for dinner (and subsequent fourth meal) and I’m totally okay with it BECAUSE this new bar is the greatest thing ever.

Part of assimilating into Danish culture (or just out of American culture) is dropping the overuse of hyperbole. Example: “This is the best mocha I’ve ever had!” or “OMG this salad is inspirational, how did you make it? Tell me everything!” Statements like this are usually answered with doubtful smirks. Over complimenting does not exist in the Danish language. It leaves a fine vernacular code to decrypt in order to understand how Danes really feel about anything.

I am drunkenly digressing. The point is, after being present for the bar’s opening and first Friday night on the lakes, I am pretty sure that the surrounding community is crying happy tears that there is a new super-sweet afternoon drinking spot located smack in the middle of their neighborhood. Tonight, my favorites were the two fifty-year-old men who came up and squealed, “Are these ALL taps??!” and then started clutching each other with joy when I said yes. Here, the excitement is not understated. They are just as happy as I am.

But what I think is most impressive about what I’ve seen over the last few days is the beginnings of a loyal customer base we already seem to have. Prior to this weekend I was unaware that there was a huge community that truly appreciated what the owner, Kim Christiansen, had done with Ørsted Ølbar and loyally followed him to the lakes to check out his new location. Not that I am at all surprised! But after having my Facebook feed flooded with Mikkeller updates about its new bar on Stefansgade for months before their opening and not hearing a peep from Søernes, I wasn’t sure how the crowds at this week’s grand opening would compare.

The place was packed shoulder to shoulder when I walked in for my first shift at 6pm, when the bar was only an hour old! The crowd of 2000+ at Mikkeller was proof that social media works, but the crowd that showed up to Søernes to shower Kim in congratulatory cards, beer, and gifts at Søernes were proof that some people are big enough ballers not to need it. It’s interesting to think about in terms of arts management; Mikkeller beer might be high art in the Danish craft beer scene, but nobody said it needed to be served in such a sterile environment. Søernes has it all. DJs, soccer, ducks, mood lighting, and the best beer I’ve ever had.

It’s gonna be hard to get me away from this place. Good thing I’m on payroll.



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