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.


The Mass Man in Amsterdam

De Theaterkrant describes The Mass Man as "intriguing musical meditation on mass, power and manipulation".
The full review is available on the website.


MAfestival - PREMIERE

We had the pleasure of showing THE MASS MAN to a sold out audience in Concertgebouw Brugge. Prior to the performance, Muziektheater Transparant director Wouter Van Looy and artistic director of Zefiro Torna Jurgen De bruyn shared their thoughts with the audience. They explained how Nobel Prize winner Elias Canetti and his masterly book on the themes of mass and power, medieval crusader songs and film images by Wim Catrysse form the raw material for a gripping music theatre performance.

Theatre critic Johan Thielemans wrote an engaging review.


CD release Time Crawls

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.


BALSAM on tour

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


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— A lab of senses (2018)

Zefiro Torna

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 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 du Fay. They refer to texts of Virgilius and Horatius, or of the Song of Songs or verses by Charles Baudelaire or Emile Verhaeren.

This recording is a synesthetic homage to music which explores the passion, lust, love, hallucination, and healing induced by herbs and flowers. It is a sensuous quest for the melting point at which very different repertoires and literatures dissolve into an unctuous and euphonious balsam for the mind and the soul. In its own inimitable interdisciplinarity, the Belgian ensemble Zefiro Torna takes us from Norway to Greece, from Virgil to Emile Verhaeren, and from Hildegard von Bingen and Guillaume du Fay to music newly composed in honor of the power of plants. A truly intoxicating experience. Stef Grondelaers

  1. O spectabiles viri - Hildegard von Bingen
  2. La rosée de larmes - Jowan Merckx, lyrics: Publius Virgilius
  3. Sous le noyer - Jowan Merckx
  4. Les roses de Saadi - Philippe Laloy, lyrics: Marceline Desbordes-Valmore
  5. A un lilas - Jowan Merckx, lyrics: François Coppée
  6. Yggdrasil / Fossegangar - Raphaël De Cock, lyrics: trad. Iceland / trad. Norway, Magnus Stinnerbom, arr. Philippe Laloy & Jowan Merckx
  7. Balsamus et munda cera - Guillaume du Fay
  8. Sous le figuier I - Jowan Merckx
  9. Purior in vicis - Jowan Merckx , arr. Jurgen De bruyn, lyrics: Quintius Horatius
  10. Sous le figuier II - Jowan Merckx
  11. Où rien ne bouge - Els Van Laethem, Bert Van Laethem, lyrics: Emile Verhaeren
  12. Le doux désir douloureux - Jowan Merckx, arr. Jowan Merckx, Natacha Simmonds
  13. Meninas vamos à murta - trad. Portugal, arr. Jowan Merckx, lyrics: trad. Portugal
  14. Artemisia absinthium (polska) - Jowan Merckx, arr. Philippe Laloy
  15. To yasemí - trad. Greece
  • Elly Aerden vocals, chatkan
  • Philippe Laloy flutes, soprano saxophone, compositions
  • Jowan Merckx recorders, French bagpipes, flugelhorn, percussion, ukelele, compositions
  • Raphaël De Cock uilleann pipes, bawu, chatkan, kaval, Hardanger fiddle, harmonic flutes, Jew's harp, duduk, overtone singing, vocals
  • Jurgen De bruyn lute, baroque guitar, chitarrone, vocals, artistic direction
  • Jean-Philippe Poncin B-flat clarinet, bass clarinet

Recorded at MotorMusic Studios, Mechelen, Belgium on 3, 4, 5 and 6 of July, 2018 by:

  • Steven Maes (for MotorMusic) recording, mixing and mastering
  • Felicia Bockstael musical director and editing
  • Ellen Janssens assistant engineer

Released by Antarctica Records