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)


CD release Llibre Vermell

'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.


BALSAM on Podium 19

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.


Music for the Christmas Season

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!


Fall 2020: Balsam and two premieres

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!


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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