Les Tisserands

— Cross-over between folk, jazz and early music in the spirit of the Cathars (2006)

Zefiro Torna – Amorroma – Traces

The traditional music group Amorroma, the historical music ensemble Zefiro Torna and jazz saxophone player and flute player Philippe Laloy (Traces, Tricycle) meet in a programme imbued by the spirit of Catharism. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the Cathars formed an important spiritual movement. Averse to all dogmas, they aimed at elevated human values such as austerity, immaterialism and noblesse de coeur. In Flanders, they were sometimes called phiphles (flute players?) in France parfaits, bonhommes or tisserands (weavers). They were persecuted by the Inquisition for heresy, and finally brought down in Montségur, a town in the French Pyrenees.

Occitania was the region where the Cathar phenomenon flourished, and where at the same time the troubadour repertoire developed. Several poetic texts by individuals such as Marcabrun, Bernard de Ventadour and Raymond de Miraval lean towards the ideas and the actions of the Cathars, and give expression to a strong sense of liberty. The medieval texts and melodies serve as a source of inspiration for this programme, just like the melodies composed by Jowan Merckx – contrafacts that evoke reminiscences of earlier times and various European and Eastern cultures. The ensemble’s arrangements of these melodies stand out for their variety of textures and their colourfulness.

The duality of the Cathar doctrine, based on the contrast between good and evil, Yin and Yang, manifests itself in a multitude of contrasts. Complex polyphony is opposed to the simplicity of a unison melody; elating dance music to epic ballads; the strong, dark and piercing tones of the bagpipes, the bass, the viola da gamba and the bouzouki to soft instruments like the lute, the harp, the viol and flutes. The soprano sax improvisations, the female voice and the poetry of the troubadours enter into a compelling dialogue.

Amorroma
Jowan Merckx flute, bagpipes, gaita, compositions
Maarten Decombel mandola

Zefiro Torna
Els Van Laethem vocals
Jurgen De bruyn lutes, artistic direction
Liam Fennelly / Manuela Bucher fiddle, viola da gamba

Traces
Philippe Laloy soprano saxophone
Vincent Noiret bass

CD