Andreas Johnsen: Efterklang – The Makedonium Band & Concert

The perfect combination! First we watched the film “The Makedonium Band” directed by Danish Andreas Johnsen and then the musicians from the film (most of them) – Danish and (North) Macedonians – went on stage performing for a full hall at the DR Concert House Studio 2. Wonderful atmosphere, great music, lots of applause, a unique event as part of the CPH:DOX.

The film with the Efterklang trio (Mads Brauer, Casper Clausen og Rasmus Stolberg) is full of wonderful scenes or should I call it episodes, which for the most part is thanks to the local manager and musician Grga, who brings the band around to meet people, musicians who can take part in the band and join the rehearsals; this process is followed due to Johnsen’s skills to catch the not-arranged “documentary” moments as they pop up. One scene is hilarious – Grga takes the trio to visit the President of the Republic, Rasmus Stolberg har brought him a present, a pair of red socks, Casper Clausen plays a freedom song on his guitar, the President seems to be fascinated, and quite surprised. The band members are looking for members to join the Band, they walk around in the big square, put up flyers here and there, find out that the square is mostly for tourists… they are right, I was there in August in Skopje, a city full of kitch monuments.

But the Makedonium in Krusevo is not kitch, built as a memorial for freedom fights of (North) Macedonia. This is where Grga wants the concert to take place and it ends like that… he even wants pigeons to be there, the film makes it happen.

It’s great to meet the Macedonian musicians and their instruments. One comes with a theremin, she was at the concert as well and there is the man who plays the flute and the one with a tanpura – a string instrument, could also be another one. The latter is Dejan who was also performing at the concert, in the film he is visited in the countryside, where he asks the Efterklang trio to be silent, and he makes a silent festival. Listen he says, look around, don’t say anything, hilarious!

Johnsen’s film goes from (in b/w) rehearsals, also with a choir of young girls, who came to the concert as well, to situations where the trio is taken around to see and experience and find inspiration in a culture far away from the Danish searching for what the lead singer Casper Clausen calls music that cross borders. The Efterklang music has a strong spiritual element, and at the concert – with the Makedonium Band – you could experience how excellent the band is building their compositions.

The CPH:DOX catalogue says: “A charming tour of Macedonian folk music and a fascinating insight into the creative process of the Danish band Efterklang”. Indeed!

Grga, for me the protagonist of the film, is the one at the microphone.

Denmark, 81 mins. 2024

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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