Here is some committed music from two opposite corners of Europe, but sharing the same original and offbeat world-view.
Does the green part of the pear contain more vitamins than the white part? Why is a hunter authorized to shoot animals dead without an anaesthetic? When shall we set off somewhere? An absurd age calls for absurd questions, and Hans Mortelmans can allow himself to ask them. He tramps the well-worn cobbles of swing, blues and calypso and gazes at the swamp of fashion. Will this arouse much interest? Moreover, will he gain something from it? On the contrary! However, to keep on keeping on is a noble art in this brief existence of ours. The Hans Mortelmans Group is an acoustic sextet, formed around the composer-guitarist Hans Mortelmans. Since the beginning, the group has been strongly influenced by the French chansonnier Georges Brassens, the Belgian-born jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and by Wannes Van De Velde. The sextet speedily found its own universe, one in which humour, rebellion and melancholy come together.
And it’s exactly the same idea on the other side of the Mediterranean, where Monsieur Doumani has revolutionized traditional Cypriot music with humility and humour. This trio of young musicians unburdened by complexes seduces us by its unconventional identity. Their album ‘Angathin’ (“thorn”), tackles more than ever the political, social and activist preoccupations and sensitivities of the group’s members. It has attracted great interest at international level and was declared the best album of the Transglobal World Music Chart in 2018. Coming from diverse musical backgrounds, but influenced by Cypriot tradition at various levels, the musicians of Monsieur Doumani compose songs inspired by contemporary Cypriot society, as well as by the precarious conditions of our present era, with a humorous and distinctive tone and colour.
- Hans Mortelmans: words, music, vocals, guitar, accordion
- Joke and Valerie Dedain: vocals
- Lieven Keymolen: clarinet
- Benny Van Acker: bass
- Lodewijk Dedain: guitar, percussion
- Antonis Antoniou: vocals, tzouras, stomp box
- Demetris Yiasemides: trombone, flute
- Andys Skordis: guitar, electronics