Olla Vogala



The original idea of Olla Vogala came into being at a playful rehearsal/interlude of OKO FON BIO (a collective from Ghent with a budding reputation of scoring live silent movies). The name itself, Olla Vogala, was borrowed from one of the oldest sentences that came down to us in Dutch. The first concert took place at Cocteau's in Ghent, may '97. Paul Cassiers recited Middle Dutch love stories, cooking recipes and other texts. This was alternated with early European and Indian music. Wouter Vandenabeele played the viol, Tom Theuns the sitar and Dirk Moelants the viola da gamba. The music performed was mainly an improvisation on old Flemish and Italian themes (e.g. "Lamento di Tristano"). Wouter soon introduced a diverse cast of musicians. He also started composing several new pieces and arranging both classical and traditional material, maintaining a modal quality in most of the music. With the arrival of folk-singer Ludo Van Deau, blues-singer Luc Callaert and the Algerian rai-vocalist Djamel Berezeg the group now counted 14 musicians and was ready to fully explore all its possibilities. A try-out followed at the "Gentse Feesten" of '97. Soon after, the group was joined by a third vocalist, a trumpet player and a second percussionist. Searching for the most adequate forms of expression (musicians and styles) became the leitmotiv of Olla Vogala. The whole concept is not a solo performance by one of the musicians. It's more the blend of all the different instruments highlighted at different intervals that makes the sound of Olla Vogala. When the orchestra (if you dare call it that) played its premiere at the Muziekconservatorium in Ghent on february 26 in '98, there were twenty musicians on stage. This concert was released on CD in '98 (MAP Records) as "Olla Vogala - Live". In march of '98 the group was selected by Trappelend Talent, enabling them to tour different cultural centres. Soon managers of festivals took an interest (main stage at the Gentse Feesten '98 and Dranouter Folkfestival '98). Both the audience and the press loved what they heard, and the "big band" was hailed as one of thé revelations of the festival. Dranouter immediately invited Olla Vogala to play at the '99 edition.
In May '99 a special concert was organized by the "Gele Zaal" which featured two special guests, Gabriel Yacoub and Cathereine Delasalle. This fruitful combination ended in a series of concerts together, as well as contributions to the first studio effort. "Gnanomo" was released end '99 by the new label ZOKU (EMI) and was praised and cherished by the media. Jo Van Driessche invited the group to play at Brugges Festival. This concert was recorded by the VRT and broadcast March 25 on national television (Canvas).
A new challenge was found in the collaboration with the Drum 'n' Bass trio F.L.O.W. A similar feeling for 'trance' worked like a magnet. The result was a unique fusion concert at the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels on February 27. As part of "Vooruit Geluid" Olla Vogala was asked to join banjoist Eugene Chadbourne. Meanwhile Olla Vogala played some cultural centres, bringing a critical Charles V project. Their usual repertoire was broadened with interpretations of 16th century music and critical texts from or about the period. Also, the innovative trademark of the group and the never-ending need to grow, collides with a growing interest from abroad. It is not unlikely that other projects will arise from those occasions.

Olla Vogala aims to realize a fascinating and original imagining of music, word and sound. It is almost self-evident that such concepts as interculturality and multi-enticity get to have a serious meaning. Old and new music co-exist brotherly, intriguingly. This is due to the inspired and adventurous arranging of existing and improvised music. Olla Vogala breathes many different styles, doesn't care to be bothered by a breach of styles and looks for a new meaning in the rich tradition. The repertoire has basically grown out of bizar combinations - at least on paper - and cross-fertilization : medieval music, Auvergne bourrées, Monteverdi, Original Flemish folk melodies, Arabian songs, ancient French ballads, a-capella, performance, recipes in Middle-Dutch, original material, and improvizations on new and existing themes. There's also the input of the jazz section you shouldn't overlook, and a healthy dose of experiment. Because of the differentiated background of the players you can discern an influence from all these different styles in the music. There's your classical section, the jazz players, the folk section, ethnic instruments. Let loose, what you get is an incredible soundfest.
In this way Olla Vogala is very much worth your while.


Marc De Maeseneer: Baritonsax
Frederik Heirman: Trombone
Anne Niepold: Trekzak
Luc Vanden Bosch: Drums, percussie
Gijs Hollebosch: Dobro, mandoline
Elias Bachoura: 'ud
Arne Van Dongen: Contrabas
Dirk Moelants: Viola da Gamba
Luc De Gezelle: Viool
Stefaan Smagghe: Viool
Wouter Vandenabeele: Viool, algemene leiding
Ludo Van Deau: Zang

Soetkin Baptist: Zang Former members and guest musicians:

Joris Buysse, fluit; Luc Callaert, zang; Paul Cassiers, voordracht; Wim Claeys, trekzak; Ingeborg Cneut, viool; Bert Cornelis, sitar; Caterine Delasalle, zang; Tine Devolder, draailier; Johan Decancq, schalmei; Herlinde Ghekiere, zang; Mattias Laga, sax & klarinet; Bart Maris, trompet; Maarten Marcheau, traverso, doedelzak; Leen Minten, tablas; Pierre Narcisse, tablas, percussie; Sergio Rogier, viool; Kristof Rosseeuw, contrabas; Guido Schiffer, viool, altviool; Geert Simoen, percussie; Tom Theuns, sitar; Philippe Thuriot, accordeon; Gabriël Yacoub, zang; Djamel Berrezzeg: Zang; Marakchi: Darbuka, bendir; Bert Bernaerts: Trompet; Koen Van Roy: Alt- en Baritonsax; Iep Fourrier: Draailier



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