Spring 2019

2019 will be a year to look forward to. A beautiful spring is approaching, with numerous extraordinary productions touring both in Belgium and abroad. From renaissance and baroque music to jazz and traditional music. Zefiro Torna wishes you an inspiring and heart-warming 2019!

Discover Zefiro Torna's plans during spring 2019 in the latest news letter.


CD release BALSAM

Zefiro Torna releases 'Balsam' at Antarctica Records, successor to the productions ‘Les Tisserands’ and ‘O, Monde Aveugle!’. The project unites musicians who are experts in various genres such as old, ethnic and jazz music. This time the mysterious forces of plants, flowers and herbs formed the starting point for the programme.

"An unctuous and euphonious balsam for the mind and the soul. A truly intoxicating experience." - thus Stefan Grondelaers. Have a look at our trailer for a first impression.

Order the CD here - for yourself or as a Christmas gift. And for extra listening pleasure we offer the trilogy 'Tisserands - O Monde Aveugle - Balsam' for a small price.


Launch museum podcast Hof van Busleyden

From 9 November, you can discover the Hof van Busleyden museum in Mechelen through the eyes of three idiosyncratic storytellers. A musician translates Burgundian life into music, a classicist recounts the rebirth of the Court of Busleyden, and a psychiatrist connects past and present. The musical part is told by Jurgen De bruyn (the other museum podcasts were compiled by Patrick De Rynck and Dirk de Wachter), in an audio directed by the young radio producers Wederik De Backer and Lucas Derycke.


Allegoria at Ghent Festival of Flanders

This autumn a retrospective exhibition of Baroque painter Adriaen Brouwer will be held in his native town of Oudenarde. Brouwer was a master in painting lively folk scenes. With his sublime landscapes he inspired great masters such as Rubens.
As part of the Ghent Festival of Flanders, Zefiro Torna brings the paintings of Brouwer and contemporaries such as the young Pieter Breughel, Frans Hals and Jan Steen to life with soprano Annelies Van Gramberen. The allegorical themes from their graphics and paintings are the guiding principles: Love and Vanity, Death and Transience, Wisdom versus Foolishness and 'Rudities'. Zefiro Torna draws on a treasure trove of picturesque folk and Beggars’ songs and from collections of songs and madrigals by publishers, poets and composers such as Bredero, Vallet and Hacquart.

On Friday 28 September Klara will broadcast live from the MOU Oudenaarde. Jurgen De bruyn will be a guest at Pompidou (5-7pm), and will talk about the symbolic themes that inspired him to create the programme ‘Allegoria’.



Les Tisserands

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

Zefiro Torna

  1. Jowan Merckx - arr. R. Schlesinger - La cara originala
  2. Peirol, Els Van Laethem - arr. Les Tisserands - tekst Peirol (c1188-c1222) - si be'm sui luènh
  3. Jowan Merckx - arr. Vincent Noiret - L'uelh del vesent
  4. Els Van Laethem - arr. Les Tisserands - tekst Bernard de Ventadorn (c1145-c1180) - Tant ai mon còr
  5. Jowan Merckx - sander
  6. Jowan Merckx - arr. M. De Cat - Lo present etèrn
  7. Jowan Merckx - arr. R. Schlesinger - L'illusion demascada
  8. Els Van Laethem - arr. Les Tisserands - tekst Peirol (c1188-c1222) - En jòi que'm demòra
  9. Els Van Laethem - tekst Raimon de Miraval (c1190-c1220)/Jowan Merckx - Entre dos volers/scoone figure
  10. Jowan Merckx - arr. R. Schlesinger - pur amor
  11. Jowan Merckx - arr. R. Schlesinger, B. Van Reeth - fama publica
  12. Jowan Merckx - arr. B. Van Reeth - Arbor vitae
  13. Giraut Riquier - arr. Els Van Laethem, Jurgen De bruyn - tekst Riquier (c1230-c1300) - No'm sai d'amor
  14. Jowan Merckx - arr. B. Van Reeth, Vincent Noiret / Jowan Merckx - colèra ò pietat / l'indivisible

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.
  • Jowan Merckx flute, bagpipes, gaita, compositions
  • Bert Van Reeth bouzouki
  • Rheidun Schlesinger celtic harp
  • Philippe Laloy soprano saxophone
  • Vincent Noiret double bass
  • Els Van Laethem vocals, compositions
  • Jurgen De bruyn lutes, artistic direction
  • Liam Fennelly fiddle, viola da gamba
  • Michel Van Achter recording, mixing, mastering, producing
  • Els Sallets artwork
  • & Stefaan Algoet photography

  • Released by