Unity in Diversity #2

The second edition of the European lute song project Unity in Diversity starts at the end of April. Lutenist Jurgen De bruyn and mandolin virtuoso Alon Sariel will be joined by singers Lore Binon and Elly Aerden, by Vittoria Pagani on the Indian Sarod and by the ney and lavta player Christos Barbas. The creation takes place during LUNALIA, Festival of Flanders Mechelen, and is part of the Mechelen city festival Construct Europe, which coincides with the Belgian presidency of the EU Council. The premiere will be followed by concerts in Hasselt and Dilbeek.

To tune in, you can listen to the podcast made by Evita Nossent, in which the musicians talk about their experiences during the first residency at Laus Polyphoniae Antwerp. They testify about their personal music practice and how they set themselves up for new encounters.

In the words of Alon: “...what we present on stage is the wishful thinking of what could be in Europe in the future, if the European dream actually works”.



The Mass Man at O. Festival

On 17 May, The Mass Man, a collaboration between Zefiro Torna and Muziektheater Transparant, will be a guest at the O. Festival in Rotterdam.

Director Wouter Van Looy, video artist Wim Catrysse and writer Peter Verhelst base the performance on Elias Canetti's book 'Mass and Power'. The Nobel laureate describes his experiences of mass movements in the early 20th century and mixes them with impressive sociological and anthropological insights. The book not only reads like a reflection on the past, it is also a guide for today.

Soloist singer/performers, instrumentalists on lute, cornetto, trumpet and drums, a sound installation artist and electronic soundscapes give new form and expression to a wide range of subgenres of medieval crusader song. They deliver a nuanced picture of a complex time and turning point in history, marked by changing identities and worldviews.




L’ALQUIMISTA in Barcelona

Next week we will begin the rehearsals for music theater performance L'ALQUIMISTA in Barcelona, at the Teatro Nacional de Catalunya. Michael De Cock created and directs a theatre adaptation of the book The Abyss by Belgian writer Marguerite Yourcenar. Lutenist Jurgen De bruyn joins the stage and, together with composer Alain Franco, provides the soundtrack for the story, which is set in 16th-century Europe with a focus on the last years of the Bruges doctor and alchemist Zeno and on universal themes of humanity and freedom in turbulent times.

The premiere will take place on the 11th of May 2023. The tickets are on sale vie TNC.


Release documentary PAST >| ORALE

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)


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Unity in Diversity

— A European Lute Song Project (2023)


Let there be spaces in your togetherness,
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you alone
Even as strings of a lute dance alone though they quiver with the same music.
(Khalil Gibran, from the book The Prophet)

On the occasion of the Belgian presidency of the European Union in 2024, Zefiro Torna initiates the project UNITY IN DIVERSITY.

The ensemble, in collaboration with European concert halls and festivals, invites singers and lutenists from diverse cultural and musical backgrounds. Per residency, concerts, workshops and lectures are organized with about 6 musicians. Space is created for dialogue and experimentation in a search for a common language. The music refers to social events, religious rites, economic conditions and significant historical events that are part of the DNA of the European identity.

The encounters across Europe lead to a unique patchwork, and are reflected in media content and a podcast.

A first residency UNITY IN DIVERSITY #1 took place in August 2023 during the festival Laus Polyphoniae Antwerp. New editions are planned in festivals and and concert halls in Mechelen (BE), Sofia (BG), The Hague (NL), Riga (LV) and Osnabrück (DE). In the coming years, the ensemble welcomes new collaborations within and outside Europe.

UNITY IN DIVERSITY #1 @Laus Polyphoniae, Antwerp (BE)

Lore Binon vocals
Elly Aerden vocals, colascione
Joel Frederiksen vocals, lute
Alon Sariel mandoline, archlute, artistic advice
Jurgen De bruyn lute, theorbo, colascione, vocals, artistic coordination


Lore Binon vocals
Elly Aerden vocals
Christos Barbas (GR) nej, kaval, lavta, vocals
Vittoria Pagani (IT/CH) sarod, vocals
Alon Sariel (IL/DE) mandolin, archlute, artistic advice
Jurgen De bruyn lute, archlute, theorbo, colascione, artistic coordination


Aija Veismane (LV) vocals
Anda Eglīte (LV) kokle
Anete Viluma (LV) vocals
Alon Sariel (IL/DE) mandolin, archlute, artistic advice
Jurgen De bruyn lute, archlute, theorbo, colascione, artistic coordination

UNITY IN DIVERSITY #4 @Morgenland, Osnabrück (DE)

Maureen Nehedar vocals, Persian setar
Doron Schleifer countertenor
Christos Barbas ney, lavta, vocals
Alon Sariel (IL/DE) mandolin, archlute, oud, artistic advice
Jurgen De bruyn lute, archlute, theorbo, colascione, artistic coördination

UNITY IN DIVERSITY #5 @Sofia Music Weeks, Sofia (BG)

Anna Yankova vocals
Hristina Beleva vocals, gadulka
Boris Ilyev tambura
Kalina Andreeva double bass, vocals
Alon Sariel (IL/DE) mandolin, archlute, artistic advice
Jurgen De bruyn lute, archlute, theorbo, colascione, artistic coördination

In co-production with AULOS Music Management

In the context of Construct Europe

Avant-premiere: AMUZ
24.08.2023 (Laus Polyphoniae)