The CD TIME CRAWLS is out on the label HOMERECORDS.BE and also available on our webshop (> CD).
Zefiro Torna takes us into a timeless universe with a reinterpretation of the 17th century broken consort music. Melodies intuitively created by flute player Jowan Merckx received a new arrangement for flute, violin, viola da gamba, violone, harp and lute by composers Marnix De Cat and Martin Valcke. The new written music bears traces of baroque and traditional music from all over Europe. The music, which is sometime melancholic, sometimes nimble and festive, fascinates by its ingeniously crafted texture and invites to dance.
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.
"There is nothing that man fears more than the touch of the unknown." So begins Crowds and Power (1962) by Elias Canetti. In this book, the Nobel Prize winner records his experiences with the mass movements of the early twentieth century and provides striking sociological and anthropological insights. The book is not only a reflection on the past but also a guide for the present. Today too, the masses are mobilizing, uniting against injustice or for a better climate. They gather on social media, occupy the Capitol building, set fire to a city or flee. They revolt, swell, seek an outlet and then collapse again.
A sequel to Earth Diver
Earth Diver (Ruhrtriennale 2016), by director Wouter Van Looy and video artist Wim Catrysse, is a multimedia work of "breath-taking power" (Financial Times) which, with music by Heinrich Schütz and footage of an old coal mine on a frozen island, dissects our ‘human condition’. With Elias Canetti’s Crowds and Power as a guide, The Mass Man delivers a sequel. Whereas Earth Diver focused on the grieving process in a disaster situation, The Mass Man is about survival strategies in a conflict situation.
In The Mass Man, Wim Catrysse turns his camera on a place of conflict, where violence and resistance can be traced back thousands of years. A seemingly irresolvable ideological and territorial conflict is raging, leaving a grotesque trail of death and destruction and further disrupting the fabric of society. The occupiers deliberately and relentlessly conjure up an enemy and, under the pretext of defence, launch daily attacks. The ‘fear of touch’ with which Canetti begins Crowds and Power acquires a very sinister connotation in the context of these occupied territories. The fear of ‘an unexpected touch in the dark’ is not used as a metaphor here; it is in bitter earnest and palpably real. In the film, his images testify to an institutionalized us-against-them mentality.
Peter Verhelst is writing a new text for The Mass Man using Canetti’s magisterial book as a sounding board but with today’s world as its focus.
The music of The Mass Man is provided by Jurgen De bruyn and ensemble Zefiro Torna. It consists of a contemporary interpretation and adaptation of crusader songs from the eleventh to the thirteenth century. Solo singers, a folk choir, musicians playing the fiddle, lute, cornetto and trumpet, and electronic soundscapes give form and expression to a wide range of medieval subgenres of the crusader song. They deliver a nuanced picture of a complex time and turning point in history. Monophonic call-up or recruitment songs, such as the famous Palästinalied by Walther von der Vogelweide, can be heard alongside Occitan pilgrim songs, lamentations, sirens, pastorellas, love songs and polyphonic Ars Nova motets from the socially engaged Roman de Fauvel by the composer Philippe de Vitry. In response to the early crusades, these songs uphold changing identities and world views. They reflect both the outside world and the inner life, and often their interrelationship. They also give form and expression to homeland concerns, spatial aspects and new emerging positions in socio-political history.
Strikingly, the troubadours touch on themes that also characterize our own precarious times: religious and political propaganda in the service of geopolitical strategies, lust for power, corruption, disruption of social systems, migration and broken family ties, stigmatization, oppression and persecution of minorities, anti-democratic (irrational) reactions of the so-called threatened majorities, the genesis of a collective identity, and the existential compulsion to anxiously cling to the familiar – reinforced by the current pandemic – set against the need to have new experiences, explore unknown worlds and encounter the other. According to the impoverished knight and troubadour from Carcassonne, Raimon de Miraval, what drives human survival is "compassion, youth and love, which restore what reason and moderation take away".
Production Muziektheater Transparant and Zefiro Torna
In coproduction with DE SINGEL, Concertgebouw Brugge
With the support of Tax Shelter of the Belgian Government and The Flemish Government
Premiere: 11.08.2022, MAfestival Bruges