Thu 26.10.17

EUROPALIA: Moondog For Gamelan

+ Ben Bertrand

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Tribute to The Viking of 6th Avenue i.c.w. Europalia, Barbican, Unsound and Berghain

American eccentric Moondog will always be remembered as ‘The Viking of 6th Avenue’. That was the place in Manhattan where this street musician always stood busking, dressed in Viking attire. It was his form of protest against the Christianity – a religion that he had rejected in his teens – that people often associated him with due to his long white hair and ditto beard.

His compositions – that are often shorter than your average pop song – are often regarded as ‘sketches’, but those who dig deeper will recognize a great composer. Antony & The Johnsons covered his ‘All is Loneliness’, Steve Reich considers him to be the father of the minimalists, Elvis Costello invited him to his Meltdown Festival, he was to be heard in The Big Lebowski, T-Rex and Daniel Lanois sang about him, Andy Warhol designed the cover of his album ‘The Story Of Moondog’, he even recorded an album with Julie ‘The Sound Of Music’ Andrews… and our very own Stef Kamil Carlens had to change his band name Moondog Jr. at the personal request of Louis Tim Hardin (Moondog’s real name).

After a true AB-tribute at the Feeërieën in ’16 on the occasion of what would have been Moondog’s 100th birthday, AB & EUROPALIA now get together for a new homage! A unique project for that matter, one that takes place not only in AB, but also London’s prestigious Barbican and also at the trend-setting Unsound festival in Krakow.

Moondog For Gamelan is a commissioned work in assignment to EUROPALIA, where the work of Moondog is the focus point and the gamelan is taken out of its traditional context. Iwan Gunawan (and his ensemble Kyai Fatahillah) and Stefan Lakatos  will bring Moondog-compositions on gamelans, especially designed for this project.

Iwan Gunawan is considered to be one of the most important contemporary composers of the present-day West Javan culture. Without reneging on his roots, Gunawan is also a master of Western keys and techniques. Gunawan and his ensemble even reworked Steve Reich’s composition ‘Six Marimbas’ for gamelan at the time.

Swedish percussionist Stefan Lakatos was not only a student of Moondog, he was also a friend of the master. In the late ‘40s, Moondog even entrusted Lakatos with his self-built percussion instrument, the trima.

More info about EUROPALIA INDONESIA here.


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décevant et assez pauvre musicalement parlant... > Ben aurais mieux fait de ne pas déballer sa clarinette! c'était d'un conformisme académique navrant et sans liaison aucune avec Moondog! > quant à Moondog for Gamelan, Moondog n'a rien à voir là-dedans, encore un coup monté d'Europalia!
De muziek van Moondog is sowieso ingenieus en de interpretatie ervan was zeer geslaagd !!!! Ik heb ervan genoten.
Soirée sans aucun intérêt. La prestation de la classe de percussion d'une d'académie de musique lors d'une remise de prix aurait éveillé davantage mon attention. Il y a 20 ans, André Jaume avait tenté le même genre de rencontre entre jazz et gamelan ( avec notamment certains morceaux de Monk). Le résultat était bien plus excitant.
Déçu par ce concert. Le seul-en-scène de Ben Bertrand m'a laissé sur ma faim (les limites du seul-en-scène avec une loop pedal). L'hommage à Moondog était peu palpitant. Les musiciens étaient bons, les transpositions intéressantes. Mais était-ce le parti-pris de tout jouer aux percussions indonésiennes, la courte durée des pièces entrecoupées d'applaudissements, ... ? Impossible de réellement s'immerger dans le concert.
Magnifique concert ! et une premiere partie tres bien choisie avec le talentueux Ben Bertrand ! Merci l
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