This autumn, the alchemistic laboratory BALSAM with Laika, Theatre of the Senses will be on tour again. After two series of performances at the Boulevard Festival in Den Bosch and Cultura Nova in Heerlen in August, the team is ready for it! Prepare yourself for a bewitching ritual in which music, scents and flavours immerse you in the shimmering world of alchemy. Besides the Greenwich+Docks International Festival in London and a tour to Portugal and France, BALSAM also passes by a number of Belgian venues.
--> Take a look in the agenda for all dates
As an introduction to the performance PAST >I ORALE Zefiro Torna asked film maker Mathias Ruelle to create a short documentary. Through the eyes of five characters, this film highlights a few elementary parts from which the performance originated. The music of PAST >I ORALE - a wonderful mix of Beethoven, sound art and alternative pop - resonates as a soundtrack.
> Watch the documentary here (from June 15th until July 13th)
'A summer evening in Catalonia, 1399. A group of pilgrims are sitting next to the wall of the abbey church of Montserrat. They have come in search of forgiveness, purification, a fresh start.' Zefiro Torna and Psallentes re-opened this famous "Llibre Vermell de Montserrat". You can find our intimate version of the pilgrim songs on our newest CD, out now on the label Le Bricoleur. Get your copy here, it's the ideal soundtrack for a relaxing summer evening.
Tune in to Podium 19, a new tv-channel for culture, on Sunday 21 March at 6pm for BALSAM, and let yourself be carried away by the enchanting music and images of the alchemistic concert by Zefiro Torna and Laika. Afterwards you can watch the show for another month on VRTnu.
Of course we look forward to welcome you live again into this magic laboratory. We are planning a long tour in Belgium and abroad, which we hope to start in June.
Tired of yet another version of Jingle Bells or All I Want for Christmas? Maybe you'll like our 'Special Seasonal Mix' on Spotify, a selection of songs to spice up this cold December month.
Even though we celebrate Christmas a little differently this year, presents are always nice to receive and to give. Balsam's music literally works as a balm to many souls in these times, an ideal gift for under the Christmas tree. Thanks to a stock sale of the Homerecords label, you can buy the Scattered Rhymes CD with the Frank Vaganée Trio at a discount price of 5 euros. For a swinging start of 2021!
“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
The production Balsam was developed following the elaborate concert tours and international acclaim of ‘Les Tisserands’ and ‘O, Monde Aveugle!’. The hybrid collective consists of musicians coming from a wide range of musical genres such as ancient, traditional, ethnic and jazz music.
Herbs, flowers 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 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 Virgil and Horace, or of the Song of Songs or verses by Charles Baudelaire or Emile Verhaeren.