10 JunFrom Neil: ETHEL’s TruckStop™: Mundial
[Reposted from Neil's Blog: Urban Modes]
Tillburg is not a large city, but it has a wonderfully rich and varied cultural scene that includes the excellent Mundial Festival and Muzieklab,
a forward-thinking production company directed by Theo Andriessen and
Gert Gering. These two organizations have joined forces to bring us
together with four compelling performer/composers from around the
world: Simone Soul (percussionist from Brazil), Carlo Mombelli (bass player from South Africa), Oleg Fateev (accordionist from Moldavia), and Rutger Hoedemaekers
(singer/songwriter from Holland). Andriessen and Gering have created
perfect working conditions here in Tillburg: a large rehearsal space
that we can use any time, very comfortable accommodations, and no
This is not a common situation. Having enough time and space to work
properly seems to be rare in the US. Muzieklab has provided a full week
for rehearsing and creating music with our collaborators (before any
public appearance). They value process as much as product.
We arrived on June 2nd, and our first concert takes place on June 10th.
Before our festival concerts on the 14th and 15th we will perform four
evenings at Paradox — four nights to “play in” this new collaborative material.
So far the process has been fascinating. We have been working with
Carlo and Simone (Oleg and Rutger will be joining us tomorrow). Hearing
their perspectives on some of our standard rep has been refreshing;
creating string parts and improvisations for their compositions has
been equally exciting. We have also created one new piece together – I
look forward to premiering it next week. Every collaboration brings
forth new musical illuminations – our education never ends.
Muzieklab’s mission statement encapsulates their artistic outlook quite nicely:
‘Muzieklab’, residing and rooted in Brabant, Netherlands, is the
first genre-transcending platform founded for the production of
innovative music projects.
‘Muzieklab’ covers the wide range of today’s music: from dance and pop
music to improvised (jazz) music and from contemporary composed music
to sonic art, all of both western and non-western origin. Special
attention is paid to cross-overs between these various musical styles.
Central is the initiating, producing and presenting of projects which
have music as their main ingredient. Activities of a multidisciplinary
character are paid attention to. These are important as starting
points: inherent quality, innovatory or experimental content, added
value and the necessity to use the ‘Muzieklab’s expertise.
‘Muzieklab’ investigates, develops and produces.
‘Muzieklab’ stimulates and offers opportunities.
‘Muzieklab’ seeks, creates and organises collaboration.
‘Muzieklab Brabant’ is a catalyst, a laboratory promoting experiments with new musical movements and in new directions.
Here projects come to life that would not otherwise be viable,
unconstrained by any direct pressure to produce or excessive demands as
to the audiences reached, but with great concern for musical and
Our distinctive quality is an independent, autonomous, passionate and non-conformist approach aimed at innovation.
Muzieklab is a creative musician’s dream, and a great inspiration to
American artists who struggle to fit into a narrow minded and
genre-specific market. Musical experimentation isn’t all about being
“rebellious” or “daring” (the way it is so often portrayed by American
publicists and media). It is about keeping the art alive and vibrant,
and keeping audiences interested and excited by new musical
developments. Muzieklab and the Mundial Festival are true idealists,
and we in the US can learn a great deal from their endeavors.