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!
We are all in need of cultural activities after the past months. It's something we noticed from the many moved reactions after playing Balsam at the Zomer van Antwerpen in July. The press has repeatedly called the performance "a balm for the soul." This autumn we bring you extra oxygen for the soul with the reprise of Balsam in Rotterdam and Heerlen.
On October 14, Zefiro Torna and the contemporary French Ensemble Variances will unite music from the 14th to the 21st centuries during the premiere of BACHC®AB in deSingel. And a month later we'll launch you 'im glückliche Fahrt' into a new time and space with the long-awaited premiere of PAST | ORALE: BTHVN transhumanized during the Lunalia festival. Looking forward to this special reunion!
Zefiro Torna and theatre company Laika created the musical and sensory performance BALSAM. An alchemical concert. A stimulating laboratory in which the live music merges with surprising smells, flavors, visual and physical experiences.
First there was the music. A collection of vocal and instrumental compositions with titles such as “Alchemilla”, “Artemisia absinthium” and “Les Roses de Saadi”. Titles that refer to the healing, stimulating and enchanting effect of herbs and plants. The lyrics of the songs go back to verses from the Biblical Song of Songs, to poems by Vergilius and Horatius and to the poetry of contemporaries of Baudelaire and Verhaeren. About the game of love, about desire and sorrow, about the sweet scent of jasmine or the beauty of a tree. Above all, they sing about nature, which is overwhelming and incomprehensible. The music is an adaptation of traditional songs from Portugal, Greece and Iceland, of the mystical sounds of Hildegard Von Bingen and of 15th century polyphonic music, supplemented with own compositions. It is music that makes you dream, that is spiritual and sensual, earthy and heavenly at the same time - as an ode to life and its mystery.
This music is the backbone of the performance. It inspired theatre makers Peter De Bie and Sara Sampelayo to create an alchemical laboratory. The spectators sit around the musicians in a pentagram. This placing goes back to the ancient form that refers to the idea of the quintessence or five elements. A form well known to alchemists, who believed that the fifth element can only be known through a lifelong search - hence their experiments to find the “ultimate gold.” While the music resounds, the audience witnesses all kinds of experiments in which ingredients are converted into something else through alchemical processes of distillation, fermentation, solution and so on. Liquid becomes solid; wet becomes dry; cold becomes hot, and vice versa. Oil solidifies drop by drop into edible pearls, a flower feels electrically charged, charcoal a sweet treat…
The result of this visual spectacle is a sensuous experience of balms, powders, drinks and amuse gueules in all kinds of scents, colors and flavors. They are presented to the public by the performers and shared with the person sitting next to you. Conviviality as comfort, because the question remains: will the “ultimate gold” ever be found?
Infused by contemporary alchemist and French top chef Alexandre Gauthier
Coproduced with Le Volcan, scène nationale du Havre and Le Channel, scène nationale de Calais & with the support of The Flemish Community and the Federal Belgian Government's Tax Shelter