The traditional music group Amorroma, the historical music ensemble Zefiro Torna and jazz saxophone player and flute player Philippe Laloy (Traces, Tricycle) meet in a programme imbued by the spirit of Catharism.
Jowan Merckx : flute, bagpipes, gaita, compositions
Rheidun Schlesinger : celtic harps
Bert Van Reeth : bouzouki
For the mediaeval "Cathares" AMOR (love) was a positive word and ROMA (Rome) as a symbol for power and oppression a negative one. Putting these words into one these musicians want to create a tension between good and bad, happy and sad, longing and content, progressive and conservative, peaceful and vehement,... It's in all these interactions that they situate their music.
Zefiro Torna (old music)
Els Van Laethem : vocals, compositions
Liam Fennelly : fiddle, viola da gamba Jurgen De bruyn : lutes
The Flemish vocal-instrumental ensemble Zefiro Torna was founded in 1996. Zefiro Torna consists of musicians who have won their spurs in ensembles such as the Huelgas ensemble, Collegium Vocale, Capilla Flamenca en Het Muziek Lod. Zefiro Torna brings the cultural heritage to life in a unique fashion, departing from a deep respect for the past. Authenticity is combined with creativity. They incorporate literature, theatre and contemporary or ethnic music in their productions. These are at times thematic, at other times strongly conceptual or experimental, always showing a strong sense of inspiration.
Philippe Laloy : soprano saxophone
Vincent Noiret : bass
Since 2001 Traces is experimenting with fusioning jazz, classical and world music. The repertoire of the group balances between own compositions and new arrangements of European traditionals. Free interpretation and improvisation, essential elements of jazz, play an important role. Oriental influences lead us into a musical universe with strong melodies and enchanting rhythms.
In the 12th and 13th centuries, the Cathars formed an important spiritual movement. Averse to all dogmas, they aimed at elevated human values such as austerity, immaterialism and noblesse de coeur. In Flanders, they were sometimes called phiphles (flute players?) in France parfaits, bonhommes or tisserands (weavers). They were persecuted by the Inquisition for heresy, and finally brought down in Montségur, a town in the French Pyrenees. Occitania was the region where the Cathar phenomenon flourished, and where at the same time the troubadour repertoire developed. Several poetic texts by individuals such as Marcabrun, Bernard de Ventadour and Raymond de Miraval lean towards the ideas and the actions of the Cathars, and give expression to a strong sense of liberty. The medieval texts and melodies serve as a source of inspiration for this programme, just like the melodies composed by Jowan Merckx - contrafacts that evoke reminiscences of earlier times and various European and Eastern cultures. The ensemble's arrangements of these melodies stand out for their variety of textures and their colourfulness. The duality of the Cathar doctrine, based on the contrast between good and evil, Yin and Yang, manifests itself in a multitude of contrasts. Complex polyphony is opposed to the simplicity of a unison melody; elating dance music to epic ballads; the strong, dark and piercing tones of the bagpipes, the bass, the viola da gamba and the bouzouki to soft instruments like the lute, the harp, the viol and flutes. The soprano sax improvisations, the female voice and the poetry of the troubadours enter into a compelling dialogue.