With YANN TIERSEN, GENT JAZZ FESTIVAL adds another headliner to its bill!
More new names: Jasper Steverlinck, J.S. Ondara, Guy Van Nueten & Tristan
· The first names of Saturday June 29 are in: the French legend Yann Tiersen will headline that day, while the Belgian legend Guy Van Nueten will open the Main Stage.
· On Sunday July 30, Jamie Cullum, who has already been announced, will be joined by class act Jasper Steverlinck on the Main Stage. The Garden Stage will be in the (good) hands of the increasingly surprising Ghent trio Blow 3.0 and the Antwerp Ethio jazz band Kolonel Djafaar.
· Black Flower drummer Simon Segers is the twelfth and last act for Wednesday July 3, the day of STUFF. and James Holden & The Animal Spirits.
· Rising star J.S. Ondara opens for Joan Baez and Cowboy Junkies on Thursday July 4.
· Sunday July 7, the day of Gregory Porter and José James, is already sold out, and the bill for that day is now also complete with the Ghent-based trendsetter Tristan.
· Also sold out: Monday July 8, the day of Sting. Which is good news for the wonderfully crazy Big Whoop and the pop sensation Jaguar Jaguar, both of whom will be joining us on the Garden Stage that day.
First the mandatory statement: yes, Yann Tiersen is that guy from Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain. But even more important: Tiersen is also that incredibly versatile composer who incorporates influences from Frédéric Chopin and Erik Satie as well as Philip Glass and Michael Nyman into his music, and collaborates with idiosyncratic rock and pop musicians such as Stuart A. Staples (Tindersticks), Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins) and Jane Birkin. In other words: Yann Tiersen should feel right at home at Gent Jazz Festival. Especially now that he has just released a new album that, according to many, towers above the rest of his already impressive oeuvre. All is full of ingenious compositions, not so much to close your eyes to, but to get into a deep trance. Be sure to expect the most magical concert of the summer.
Guy Van Nueten
Last year, Guy Van Nueten wrote history as the first Belgian ever to be signed by the prestigious Sony Classical label, with his sublime album Contact. “In one fell swoop I found more listeners”, said the pianist in Belgian magazine Humo. Though it must be said that, over the past thirty years, Van Nueten has never actually had much trouble finding an audience. And a very diverse at that! In the 1990s, Van Nueten played with the Belgian cult band The Sands, he recorded a terrific live album in the noughties with dEUS frontman Tom Barman, and in between he wrote music for dozens of films and plays. And now he is officially a classical composer.
Precisely 20 years after releasing the acclaimed Belpop classic Little Things of Venom with his band Arid, Jasper Steverlinck is still going strong … solo. His second album, Night Prayer, not only received nothing but rave reviews last year, with the subsequent tour, Steverlinck played one sold-out gig after another. Remarkably enough though, he hadn’t felt that sure of himself at first: “I thought the music world had forgotten me”, he admitted when the album was released. But the music world had not forgotten the singer-songwriter with the angelic voice, and music lovers certainly hadn’t. Of course, truth be told: Night Prayer, for which Steverlinck recorded every song in a single take, is just impossible to ignore.
BLOW is dead, long live Blow 3.0! The difference? In the past, the masked trio proclaimed they made electronic music for which no electricity is needed. Today, they are starting to cause power outages with their songs. But as Indiestyle pointed out when the band accompanied Mark Guiliana Beat Music at AB in early May: “Their approach remains the same: the three make danceable, atypical music, between jazz, hip hop and funk.” And it’s exactly that approach that is key to their success.
Kolonel Djafaar is known for its delicious and quirky mix of Afrobeat and Ethio-jazz. And so, it should not come as a surprise that the nine-strong Antwerp band is heavily influenced by Fela Kuti, Jungle By Night, The Budos Band and Mulatu Astatke. Sultry, danceable, sweaty and infectious: a performance by Kolonel Djafaar is often an even greater delicacy than their recently released debut album Forgotten Kingdom.
Simon Segers makes his way through time and space as the drummer of De Beren Gieren, Black Flower, STADT and MDC III. What he has added to these bands over the past ten years, he now transforms into melodic and polyrhythmic drum vigour in his solo performances. Don’t expect classical songs, nor purely technical exercises in style. While improvising, Segers searches for the perfect non-music – dormant soundscapes that evolve into tribal escapades.
J.S. Ondara’s life story was already pretty improbable, and since he recently released his outstanding debut album Tales of America and was asked by Neil Young to go on tour with him, it has only become even more improbable. Six years ago, 26-year-old Ondara was still living in Kenya, where he dreamt of a career as Bob Dylan. Only problem was: he didn’t have enough money to buy a guitar. A plane ticket to the US was in it at some point, and once he arrived, he almost literally threw himself at a career in music. Fast forward to 2019, when Rolling Stone called him “an invigorating new voice in American folk music”, and it’s not just the legendary magazine that feels that way.
Belgian magazine Knack Focus already compared Tristan (or Isolde Van den Bulcke, as her friends get to call her) to jazz singer Melanie De Biasio. And according to Belgian newspaper De Morgen her first EP Illusje was reminiscent of “the glassy, jazzy future pop of Dani Siciliano, with a pinch of Hiatus Kaiyote, a puff of Kate Bush, an ounce of Bat For Lashes”. Something between krautrock, post-rock and jazz rock, the newspaper concluded. And then, at the beginning of this year, there was that brilliant second EP, Delidomia, and that four-star review in that other Belgian magazine Humo of her still blistering concert in De Handelsbeurs: “It is impressive how the 23-year-old Van den Bulcke built up a world of her own, when no one even knew her name one a year ago. We have only heard about ten of her songs, but we would already recognize her out of a thousand.”
According to Urban Dictionary, the only dictionary that truly matters, a big whoop is “a big deal or important occurrence”. But wait! There’s a catch: “It is usually used sarcastically, or to blow something off.” Truth be told, the Belgian quartet Big Whoop seems to do just about everything not to be taken too seriously – like having Fun on stage and grooving like there is no tomorrow. On top of that, their pumped-up, booty shaking, sweat dropping and crazy-ass sets will make you dance from beginning till end. But make no mistake about it: if you blow these brilliant musicians off just because of that, we will personally Big Whoop your ass!
The fact is that jaguars are incredibly fast animals, but for the Antwerp band Jaguar Jaguar, things are going ridiculously fast at the moment. The five-piece band “without frontman” has already been noticed by Knack Focus, Humo, Vice and everyone who loves sunny and above all extremely danceable pop songs with infectious vocals, dreamy synths, woolly guitars and groovy drums. In short: everyone who loves music, quoi!
Gent Jazz Festival 29/06-09/07/2019, Bijlokesite, Ghent, Belgium
Tickets available on www.gentjazz.com or via Fnac
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