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tonight: Kaurna Cronin @ RETRO Nørrebro

So this week, we’ve managed to collect a handful of lost Aussies off of Dronning Louises Bro and get them to play a spontaneous show at RETRO Nørrebro’s final Friday night concert series before closing for the month of July.

Kaurna Cronin (harmonica, guitar, vocals), along with Dominic Symes (bass), were just stopping through Copenhagen on their way up to Stockholm for the first leg of their
their European tour. Thanks to some misguided directions from the CPH Visitor Center, they ended up wandering aimlessly around the bridge, when RETRO’s very own Aussie bartender Henry recognized the guys from his morning Spotify session… After establishing the initial from-Adelaide-to-Copenhagen connection, he found that the folk trio, which also includes Delia Obst (vocals), loved to perform in the warm and cozy café atmospheres, and would still be in town on Friday. Which is tonight. In less than five hours.

In case you already had plans, here’s a little bit about these youngsters that will convince you to come drink some beer and hang out with us before you go out and spend your paycheck elsewhere…

To put it simply, Kaurna Cronin is ‘new folk’, combining the traditional with some experimental, atmospheric elements, giving audiences a fresh angle on what is considered folk. It’s breakfast music. Really, though, give them a try while you eat breakfast sometime. It’s really nice.

“It’s still based on really organic singer-songwriter stuff written on an acoustic guitar,” said Symes, who will be bringing in his uke-bass for this gig. “But there’s a lot of stuff on the record that has electric guitar, drums, bass, and keys that wouldn’t ordinarily be included in folk. I think it adds a lot to the character of what Kaurna’s trying to do with new folk. This is new, and this is now.”

from left: Symes, Cronin, and Obst.

from left: Symes, Cronin, and Obst.

The trio met by chance just last year at Adelaide Fringe festival, an open-access arts festival that runs over four weeks in the winter in Adelaide, Australia.

“I was at a show Kaurna and Dom were doing around nine,” said Obst, who had only started recording solo work six months prior to meeting the other two. “We went in and met them afterwards and did an impromptu show of our own at midnight. We’ve been playing together ever since.”

Cronin, Symes, and Obst look to Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams, and Paul Kelly as their influences; as far as likeness in sound, those who dig Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers, Fleet Foxes, and Boy and Bear will probably dig this.

“It always just comes back to good songs,” said Cronin, who does much of the initial lyric writing on his own, but collaborates with the group to construct the song. “We never want to record anything that we don’t think is good.”

Their process reflects the value of creative collaborations. While each of the three work on several projects outside of Kaurna Cronin, Obst said that the group’s ability to help morph a single idea into complex one is what keeps them playing together.

“I had never performed with anyone before [meeting Kaurna and Symes],” Obst said. “Every time we record or bring someone else in to record with you… you can take a song to the group that you think is fully formed. But these are the people you trust, and they’ll say what parts they like and what parts they don’t like at all… and the song will go somewhere else. It has real value for me and has taught me so much.”

The group is versatile; each track is developed from an original acoustic guitar song, but can be adapted to be performed in any venue and with any instrumentation. They try out the street music scene in different cities (Berlin has been the nicest to them), perform in larger venues, and set up in train stations, bridges, and in small coffee shops.

“We’ve done plenty of café tours,” said Symes. “The thing for us is that we want to really engage an audience- as in, ‘Here’s us playing a song. See if you like it.’ And then we can sell a CD. But pretty cheap.”

“Like the cost of a 6-pack” kind of cheap, as Cronin put it. Copies of their most recent record, Pistol Eyes (2013), will be on sale for around 50 DKK. But it’s the tours, bringing out the relational potential of their music to listeners face-to-face, that motivates these three to pursue their projects.

“We want to be in front of people as much as possible,” Symes said. “You can buy all the Facebook ads you want, but the value is really in reaching out and getting that, ‘Holy shit, that’s something I’ve never heard before…”

Which is why they’re embarking on their European tour, starting it off at RETRO… tonight! This post comes with little notice, but the best evenings often do. Move your pre-Friday night hygge to RETRO Nørrebro and catch these guys while they’re still in town. They’ll sail off to Stockholm in the morning… then off to Holland, Ireland, and London, and beyond…

Or come for the ‘just great banter’. I have a newfound love for Aussies. See you all tonight.


20.00 @ Jægerborggade 14, 2200. Per usual, profits from drinks go straight towards the RETRO Association’s projects in Sierra Leone, including KONODreamtown, and REACT. Start your Friday night off the right way!


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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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