AB is back. Time to cautiously look ahead to the approaching autumn.

To our own surprise, we realised in recent months that we possess other professional skills aside from organisational skills. You see, AB transformed into a more than well-oiled moving company that has attempted to relocate, and still is relocating, about 250 concerts. But, here at AB, a botched year-end calendar is inconceivable. So AB is doing all it can to be able to look back with pride in 2021 on an exciting year of work in 2020. Action, indeed! As a symbol of the belief that everything will be alright!

#1: AB resumes its concert activities as of September 2020.

Kelis (© Michelle Geerardyn)

As of September, AB will resume its concert performances. As is to be expected, they will be small-scale and, of course, (mainly) Belgian. The Main Hall will temporarily become the AB Theatre, with a capacity of 200 people. Naturally, the focus here will be – with possible exceptions – on intimate enjoyable shows in an adapted setting. Artists will be asked to play stripped down sets or share brand new material, that may (or may not) have been created in times of Corona, for the first time with an audience. Incomplete or embryonic: it only makes the listening experience more fascinating. This programme will be communicated in July and August. 

In turn, AB Salon concerts will move to the AB Club – also in a seated set-up – with a capacity of 40 people. The focus here is on contemporary electronica, neo-classical and improv, with concerts by the likes of Razen, Hanne De Backer, Kaboom Karavan, David Edren, Miaux, Farida Amadou, Ignatz, Karen Willems, … .

#2: Ticket income will flow entirely to the artist and his/her entourage

AB has chosen to have ticket revenue flow entirely to the artists this fall. Support that artists sorely need, seeing as their incomes have been decimated or even reduced to nothing during these times. And the music lover? This is how he/she can directly support their favourite artists during this difficult period.

#3: AB opens its doors to Brussels’ (cultural) organisations and Artists In Residence.

Our calendar is generally jam-packed during a regular operating year. Logically, we give priority to publicly accessible concerts. Things are different now though, and so AB wants to respond to the need for performance spaces that smaller organisations can’t offer due to the social distancing rules. Motivated by a reflex of moral and social solidarity with the suffering sector, AB makes is spaces available to Brussels’ cultural organisations in neatly defined periods. To this end, AB launches a call via the BKO (Brussels Kunstenoverleg), which is affiliated with no less than 175 Brussels organisations.

Chibi Ichigo (© Michelle Geerardyn)

In addition, AB also embraces a series of Artists In Residence for smaller periods, to accommodate immediate needs (rehearsals – recordings – pre-production - …). Think: young talent like Chibi Ichigo (from Limburg and with Russian roots, who now lives in BXL), Brussels duo Maze & Lindholm, or the Brussellian/Rotterdammer Hi Hawaii & The Extensions who is soon to debut on Bruges’ (jazz label) De Werf. There’s also the follow-up course for the finalists of the Brussels music contest Sound Track – the electro-pop of Coline & Toitoine, the R.A.P. (Rhythm And Poetry) of Linca, and the global sounds of M.Chuzi – that receives a spot in the fall calendar.

Artistic commitments that we entered into with young artists can now fully flourish behind the scenes. Think: the collaborative project of Dutch slam poet Lisette Ma Neza and Antwerp pianist Neil Akenzua that will take shape as a part of GrensGeluid (in collaboration with Motel Mozaïque and Brakke Grond).

The collaboration with Mophradat – an organisation that supports projects from the Arab world – also intensifies. So, together with our partner venue in Berlin, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, we will be supporting two exciting projects. MC/producer/DJ/songwriter Makimakkuk – a young artist who is growing strongly in the Palestinian alternative music scene – will create her project ‘Alien Nation’. Tunisia’s Deena Abdelwahed will, in turn, be examining the authenticity of Arabian dance music and wants to create a futuristic take on it.

#4: AB breaks all the way out its comfort zone and introduces a number of notable dance and theatre companies

AB will retrieves the theater tradition once again this fall and we welcome notable theatre companies, (young) theatre makers, and choreographers that are possibly not familiar to our AB audience. Each presentation/introduction by the company will result in a production that receives room in AB for the season 2021-2022.

AB thus presents the contemporary dance company Voetvolk of dancer/choreographer Lisbeth Gruwez (previously to be seen in dance performances by Jan Fabre and Wim Vandekeybus) and musician/composer Maarten Van Cauwenberghe. Their performance ‘Into The Open’ is in full production and will be a spectacular show spiced with repetitive krautrock.

Voetvolk (© Danny Willems)

In turn, the interdisciplinary opera ‘Dance of The Seven Veils (Salomé)’ brings together soprano Astrid Stockman, singer/multi-instrumentalist Colin H. Van Eeckhout (AmenRa), contrabassist Pieter-Jan Vanassche (Innerwoud), dancer Germán Jauregui (Wim Vandekeybus) and visual artist Rui Barros. This show is a part of a theatrical triptych that questions the female antihero.

Countertenor Benjamin Abel Meirhaege will bring about a show at the crossroads of performance and music with ‘Spectacles’ (in a dramaturgy by Louise van den Eede). Just like Voetvolk, they are in search of a concert audience that – in Meirhaege’s words – ‘is much more active than the theatre or performance audience’.

Lastly, the polyphonic musical company graindelavoix keeps itself far removed from historical performance practice. De Standaard once described them as ‘the thorn in the side of the old music scene’ and also pulled out the adjective ‘world class’. They worked together with Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker on the performance ‘Cesena’ in ‘11. Today Björn Schmelzer’s ensemble is seeking new audiences.

On behalf of the entire team at AB, we welcome you with open arms …

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