Voxtra is the extraordinary musical encounter of 5 different singing traditions. A fusion project without compromises: every tradition retains its distinctive character - the sobbing Iso-polyphony of Albania, Sardinia’s rural Cantu a tenore, Madagascar’s southern Beko style, Finland’s Rune songs and Joik and Belgian narrative folk song can be identified. Alongside deep emotion and daring combinations, experience uplifting and humour-filled dance music in a performance that is always exiting.
This project is about the exploration of common ground between different traditions: a particular rhyme, similar harmonies, a melody that reminisces another one... We don't ask the Sardinian musicians to yoddle like a Malgash, but rather to create a vocal tapestry that supports Talike's singing. Anu doesn't sing in Albanian with the Gjini-ensemble but the songs of her youth in Finland resound as an echo of the Albanian polyphony. Voxtra allows the traditions to engage in a dialogue with each other, the similarities come to the surface, but the emphasis lies on the uniqueness of each tradition.
Two years of intense collaborations have led to unforgettable concerts (Festival d'Art de Huy, De Centrale, Muziekpublique) and an extensive repertoire. We have plenty of material to make a blast of a record. In line with the Muziekpublique's tradition, it is a musical statement that age-old tradition can sound refreshingly lively. Moreover, the record is meant to be a document in time of the remarkable encounter in Belgium, year 2016, when we witness the vocal crossing of very distinct story lines, leading to a common plot.
L'ensemble Gjini, (c) Dieter Telemans
With its label Muziekpublique seeks to be an added value for the Belgian music scene. We actively look for the authentic sounds that represent the different cultures that our country harbors. The songs and music traditions are the treasured resources; we then use to come up with surprising records that allow new audiences to discover the music, without making compromises in terms of authenticity. The records can help the artists considerably to develop their careers in Belgium (and internationally).
The recordings take place on different locations and days according to the availability of the musicians. For the recordings and mix we count on the musician-producer Emre Gültekin. He proved worthy several times with other Muziekpublique productions, featuring the musical sense, patience and creativity that will definitely result in a remarkable record.
Meet the artists…
Voxtra is the story of hidden treasures in the Belgian musical landscape. Sardinians from Genk, Albanians from Aalst, a Finn from Brussels, Walloon Malagasy and a Belgian from Antwerp, find each other in their love for spontaneous musicality and vocal experience of century-old traditions.
Tenore de Monte de Arvu, (c) Dieter Telemans
- Brothers Ivo and Salvatore Deledda, daughter Manuela, Uncle Giovanni Carta, Domenico Nanu and friend Raphaël De Cock form the ensemble Tenore Monte de Arvu. They are the result of several generations of migration from Sardinia to the mining region Limburg. Thanks to their strong family and community they managed keeping the heritage of 'Cante a Tenore' alive, far from home. Manuela is not only the youngest member of the group (and stands for a new generation), what she does as a woman is quite revolutionary in this singing tradition dominated by men.
- Father Gramoz Gjini had a rich career as a singer in Albanian polyphony in his homeland Albania, where he among other things sang in Tirana Ensemble. Brihans grew up with his parents in the village ‘Aalst’ and was surrounded with the Albanian polyphony at an early age. Completed by opera singer and Uncle Ylber Gjini they bring the best Albanian polyphony that there is to offer.
- Anu Junnonen is mostly known in Belgium as a jazz singer in various collectives and solo projects. Even though her life and career take place in Belgium, she never lost her ties with her home country Finland. She has been giving workshops of Finnish traditional music for several years now. For the Voxtra project she delved into the songs of her musically inspired youth in Finland.
Anu Junnonen, Talike Gellé, Raphaël De Cock, (c) Dieter Telemans
- Talike Gellé is an amazing musician and performer. She is a composer, singer, storyteller and percussionist form the town of Ifotake in the south of Madagascar. She has been the leading lady of the trio Tiharea, specialised in the polyphony singing in her native language Antandroy. Moreover, she founded the duo Talilema with valahi player Kilema in 2011, the same year she was one of the musicians on the wonderful Muziekpublique recording ‘Blindnote’. She has been living in Belgium for a long time, but she seems to be continuously travelling as an active performer on concerts internationally.
- Besides having a PHD in biology, Raphaël De Cock is ever present on the Belgian folk and world music scene as a multi-instrumentalist and singer. He specialised in the overtone singing from Tuva, he is co-founder of Griff and Osuna (just to mention a few). His fascination for traditional singing has lead the way to the Sardinian and Albanian polyphony, which makes his presence in Voxtra multi-dimensional.