Spring 2018

"Raise the glass! Start the song! Come, let’s cheer, let’s drink, As long as the bright stars shine, as long as the fine bottle bestows on us its content, and the full glass beckons us to enjoyment. Come, my friends, let’s make a toast! Let us all drink!" (Anon., 16thC)

We would like to raise our glass with you on the dawn of this new year in a literal way: during the performance of Lassus Grand Cru, wine flows abundantly to the sounds of Lassus' sweet and danceable songs. In our performance of Slumber, soprano Lore Binon, cellist Benjamin Glorieux and lutenist Jurgen De bruyn will submerge you in nightly atmospheres. Furthermore, 2018 brings many foreign adventures. Coming spring, Zefiro Torna will tour the Netherlands (Slumber and Lassus Grand Cru), France (Scattered Rhymes), Italy (De Fragilitate), Germany and the Czech Republic (Lassus Grand Cru).

We wish you a creative, lovely and exquisit 2018!


Warm and festive sounds

Sunday 29 October is the end of daylight saving time. No better medicine to enter the cold winter days than the warm, healing sounds of the Balsam production. After a sold-out Belgian premiere in Leuven, we will bring this program to Bierbeek on 29 October.

A day earlier we will make some Brugse cafés unsafe, together with vocal ensemble Viermaliks, with drinking songs of Orlandus Lassus during Klara's event 'Iedereen Klassiek'. The grand finale of this Lassus Café Chantant will take place in the Concertgebouw Brugge.


Premiere B.I.G.

After the successful collaboration with the puppet theatre group Ultima Thule during NERF (2013), we are presenting a second music theatre performance B.I.G. (14+). The production will be premiered on 15 September at the Minardschouwburg in Ghent, and will then continue on a tour through Flanders.


Summer 2017

A month ago, we ended our concert season with JUST =, an extraordinary production in cooperation with ARSENAAL / LAZARUS, commissioned by the city festival OP.RECHT.MECHELEN. In the meantime, we are working on the brand new musical theatre production B.I.G., which will premiere coming autumn. And of course, we are looking forward to the summer festivals in Belgium and abroad.

Read our newsletter and find out where to find us this summer. We wish you a splendid summer!


Impressive closing of our season

JUST = was not only an impressive closing of the cultural part of the city festival OP.RECHT.MECHELEN., but also the icing on the cake of our anniversary season. Over 1500 spectators witnessed scenes on the Solomon judgment, a post-war process, a scandal concert, letters of detainees and disarmed justice systems, performed by an impressive cast under the supervision of Willy Thomas and Jurgen De Bruyn.

"The concept created by Willy Thomas and Jurgen de bruyn invites the spectator to think about a system that judges people. (...) JUST= entertains the audience with a variety of artful scenes that serve a wide palette of taste, supported by a strong musical soundtrack. " (25.05.2017, Jan De Smet for De Morgen)

Check out the photoshoot by Kurt Van der Elst



— Titillating herbal lab (2017)

Zefiro Torna

“La Nature est un temple où de vivants piliers
Laissent parfois sortir de confuses paroles;
L’homme y passe à travers des forêts de symboles
Qui l’observent avec des regards familiers.
Comme de longs échos qui de loin se confondent
Dans une ténébreuse et profonde unité,
Vaste comme la nuit et comme la clarté…”
Ch. Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du mal IV

For a long time shamans, Chinese, Persian and Roman masters of (folk) medicine, Indian Ayurvedans, medieval monks, homoeopathists, alchemists and quacks have tried to fathom the healing powers of plants. Their findings and formulas for the galenic preparation of ointments, capsules and syrups were expressed in symbols or recorded in scientific reference books such as the ‘Liber compositae medicinae /Causae et curae’ (von Bingen) and in numerous ‘Kruydtboeken’ or ‘Herbals’. Herbs and plants with a medicinal effect, whose perfume becomes bottled emotion, that awaken desire, set in motion hallucinogenic transportations or poisonously lead to ruin have been portrayed in literature, visual arts and music.

The production Balsam sees the daylight following the elaborate concert tours and international acclaim of Les Tisserands, in the spirit of the Cathars en O, Monde Aveugle!, songs for the Apocalypse. The hybrid collective consists of musicians coming from a wide range of musical genres such as old, traditional, ethnic and jazz music. They find each other in their love for singular vocal and instrumental nuances, in their delicate musical preferences and in their engaging performance. The compositions from the program Balsam bear names such as Alchemilla/Lady’s mantle, les Roses de Saadi or Artemisia absinthium. They resound in the company of traditional songs from Portugal or Greece, Old Norse Edda songs about the Yggdrasil or tree of life, spiritual songs from Hildegard von Bingen and close-knit 15th-century music of Guillaume Dufay or the baroque splendour of Heinrich Schütz. They refer to texts of the Song of Songs or verses by Charles Baudelaire or Emile Verhaeren.

The programme was selected by REMA, the European Early Music Network.

ReZipe (creation spring 2019)
Theatric chef Peter De Bie creates imaginitive productions that are all about smelling, feeling, seeing, hearing and tasting. Together with companions Jo Roets and Michiel Soete of the internationally renowned Theatre of Senses – LAIKA – he conceived an immersive global concept built around herbalism. During the concert, the audience finds itself in an alchemical and mysterious laboratory where it can discover pills, elixirs, syrups and unguents. They are created live on stage by a cook-performer, and served by artists while the Balsam-music simmers and enchants.

  • Elly Aerden vocals
  • Philippe Laloy flutes, soprano saxophone, compositions
  • Jowan Merckx recorders, French bagpipes, flugelhorn, percussion, ukelele, vocals, compositions
  • Raphaël De Cock uilleann pipes, bawu, chatkan, kaval, Hardanger fiddle, harmonic flutes, Jew's harp, duduk, overtone singing, vocals
  • Jean-Philippe Poncin B-flat clarinet, bass clarinet
  • Jurgen De bruyn lute, baroque guitar, chitarrone, vocals, artistic direction
  • Els Van Laethem composition, musical advice