LEIF 2020 graphicThe pandemic has forced the cancellation of many summer and fall festivals.  The Leif Eriksson International Festival (LEIF) took this time as an opportunity to reimagine the festival.  Rather than an in-person series of music and religious services in Minneapolis, the LEIF Committee asked, “what if”.  The result is a shorter festival, but much richer in offerings from the Nordic communities of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and the Sámi people.  The virtual festival runs October 2-11, 2020.

On October 2, the Edvard Grieg Society will live-stream the River Winds Nordic Collection Concert at Augsburg University in Minneapolis at 7:30 PM (CDT) which will begin with Thorkell Sigbjörnsson’s Heyr, Himna Smiður.

Many days of the festival feature a Destination of the Day.  Some of these programs are museum tours.  Not into museum tours?  How about an Iceland Travel Adventure or North American Finnish Wife-Carrying?  There are also special videos just for kids.  Something for everyone!

A special celebration of Leifur Eiriksson will be held on October 9 at 2:00 pm (CDT).  Kristjana Gunnars from Vancouver and a professor at the University of Iceland will talk about Christianity in Greenland and how Christianity helped unite northern Europe.

Besides the Grieg Society’s concert on October 2, two other concerts will be presented.  The DUO IHANA concert on October 4 features Rie Tanaka at the piano and her husband Jesse Nummelin on cello.  “Ihana” is a Finnish word for “wonderful,” acknowledging Jesse’s three-quarter Finnish Heritage, while it could also mean “one flower” in Japanese. The duo’s name carries the meaning of their two cultures coming together.  The Norwegian group Tidløs (Timeless) will play a concert of Norwegian hymns and folk tunes on October 11.  Their mission is to get the beautiful lyrics and melodies out to people in a slightly new way.

Religious services on October 4 and 11 will feature pastors representing Swedish and Danish cultures along with special music and greetings from the Nordic Consuls.

The events are free, although donations are welcomed.  Some programs are broadcast at specific times, while others will be available on demand.

The schedule and links to events and detailed information may be found at www.LEIFMN.org.