“Logos” — international project of Wolfgang Muthspiel (Austria, Norway, Germany, Switzerland)
performed by Rebekka Bakken, Dhafer Youssef, Markus Stockhausen, Claudio Puntin and Wolfgang Muthspiel
The chronicle of former Festivals
About Christian Culture Festival
Christian Culture Festival was organized for the first time in 1997 on 10th Anniversary of the Logos Theatre. In a sense, it extends the idea of Christian Culture Weeks organized in Poland in 70s and 80s of the last century, which were to become counterpoise to lay media model promoted by the State. Lodz Christian Culture Days were organized in churches all around the city, so as to accommodate the artists, spectacles, exhibitions and projections.
One of such places was the John Paul lecture theatre in the vault of the Assumption of Holy Mother Church in Kościelna Street. This is where the Logos Theatre started, before it was moved to the church in Maria Skłodowska-Curie. It was this church that Archbishop Władysław Ziółek gave to the Lodz artists in 1993, and in which the Centre of Creative Communities’ of Lodz Archdiocese was appointed. It is here that the ‘logistic’ centre of the Festival is located, and where some of the Festival events take place.
Traditionally, the Festival takes place in November, on the first Sunday after All Soul’s Day. It usually lasts for two weeks, during which various event take place – spectacle premiers, other theatres come to Lodz, there are exhibitions of invited artists, performances of choirs and musicians, very often not to be seen anywhere else in Poland at any other time. The Festival programme is the result of the whole year’s work of rev. Waldemar Sondka, the Festival Director, who – using his contacts – invites artists who are interesting, out of the ordinary, noteworthy and creating art perhaps not always religious, but always searching and at the highest level. Care for the level of the Festival offers is a permanent rule, the Logos environment has always wished to provide the Lodz citizens with the possibility of contact with art deprived of parochialism, open to the man and as perfect formally as possible.
The Festival is not an activity that brings profit. Any entrance cards are issued as invitations that are free of charge, and the team of the Logos Theatre and all the people engaged in the Festival organization, act as volunteers. This does not mean that Christian Culture Festival costs nothing. On the contrary, to organize such a cultural event at appropriate level is always connected with costs. Rev. Waldemar Sondka deals with organizing means to secure the Festival events all year round. He manages to gain sponsors (without whom the Festival would not exist) and subsidies from institutions that deal with funding culture (without which the Festival could not develop). All that in order to realize the basic idea of the event that derived from the Lodz Christian Culture Days – to enable anyone who wishes and needs that, to live the Mystery through art. This idea assumes a free of charge participation in all the artistic events, which has been the case since the very beginning of the Festival until today, the only condition is that on the day of the Festival opening, one must queue as long as it takes to get invitations. The only limit to the number of invitations is the capacity of rooms in which the events are organized every day throughout the two weeks of the Festival.
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XX Christian Culture Festival in Lodz
6th — 20th November 2016
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Rebekka Bakken, voice
Dhafer Youssef, voice
Markus Stockhausen, trumpet
Claudio Puntin, bassclainet
Wolfgang Muthspiel, guitars, composition
Wolfgang Muthspiel’s LOGOS, a composition after texts from the Bible, the Koran, and scriptures of Islamic and Christian mystics, was premiered on July 21.2007 at the Collegiate Church of Zwettl, Austria. The work was commissioned from Mr. Muthspiel by the International Organ Festival in Zwettl, Austria. The thematic starting point for his composition LOGOS is the word as vibration and transmitter of meaning. In the beginning of The Gospel according to St. John, the word IS God. The Koran, on the other hand, is the message of God dictated through words. The sound of a word is already music, in it's melody and rhythm much is communicated before it is intellectually understood. From that thought it is a short step to composition. In the course of writing the piece, the guitarist/composer took into account the specific reverberant acoustics of the church. This fact may also have been a motive for Muthspiel to select such musicians for LOGOS who dedicate a great part of their creative life to the adventure of sound.
She grew up in a tiny Norwegian village not far from Oslo. Since Rebekka Bakken did not really consider it to be the navel of the world, she quickly set out into the wide world: first to New York, in 1994. Eight years later she finally returned to Europe, where among the metropolitan cities she discovered Vienna and chose to make it her home. “Vienna is a very beautiful city, very pleasant with a lot of peace and quiet, even though it is a big city at the same time”, says the singer. Rebekka Bakken enjoys the peace and quiet, if for no other reason than that it allows her to collect her spirits and recharge her batteries. Ever since the 2003 release of her first solo album “The Art of How to Fall”, the charismatic and sensual singer-songwriter has been the talk of the town. Her songs are ennobled by her three-octave vocal range, which lets her shift back and forth playfully, in a relaxed and harmonious manner, between pop, folk, jazz and R&B — and all that with the success that has brought her more than sold-out concerts everywhere.
For “The Art of How To Fall”, Deutscher Phonoverband gave her the coveted JazzAward, which is considered the equivalent of a Gold Record in the jazz industry. And for her following album “Is That You?”(2005), she was simply showered with praise, according to the German music magazine “Musikexpress”: “Bakken opens up musical horizons ranging from the American Midwest into magically charged Scandinavian spiritual landscapes.”
While Bakken’s career has skyrocketed in the past three years, she worked hard for it. She started out with violin classes. But since she showed a preference for song as a child already, she taught herself piano so that she could accompany herself. The major stylistic shift finally occurred when she was a teenager. After singing Norwegian folk songs and church songs up to that point, she started gaining experience with funk, soul and rock with local bands.
From then on, her path was all marked out for her. And nothing was able to distract her from it, not even when she started out to study philosophy and economics. So, in 1994, she dared the jump “to the other side of the big pond”. “I went to New York to play music there”, says Bakken retrospectively. “And I got a real shock when nobody called me up to make me into a big star. So I wandered through the city and cleaned up my apartment five times a day — until I noticed that I had to do something if I wanted to get something in my life.”
That is when the composer and songwriter Rebekka Bakken suddenly started to flower. “I wrote because I enjoyed it. Not because I wanted to show it to others or recite it, but rather in order to 'research' myself and my own thoughts”, she said. “It is as though I make myself available to the song, open myself to it. I don't force anything, I just let it happen. Things come to me, and I sing them.” And so it was only a matter of time until somebody noticed her natural talent.
The label Universal Music offered Rebekka Bakken a chance to produce and record her own material. The first album — released 2003 — was “The Art Of How To Fall”. In this production as in the follow-up album “Is that you?”, 2005, she of course had only handpicked musicians at her side. “The production of the second album released a bundle of energy and gave me confidence that I could continue as an artist”, she reported at the time, less modestly than reflectively.
Just a year later she poured her newly released energy into her third album “I keep my cool” — and she has long since found her way as an artist, singer and composer.
Born March 2, 1965 in Judenburg, Austria, is an Austrian guitarist and composer most associated with jazz and brother of the trombonist and pianist Christian Muthspiel.
He started playing the violin at six and began study of the guitar as a teenager. After studying classical and jazz guitar in Graz, he completed his studies at the New England Conservatory and the Berklee College of Music. His high reputation, even in young years, made him the replacement of Pat Metheny in Gary Burton's band.
In the following years Muthspiel played with several famous jazz greats like Maria Joao, Dave Liebman, Peter Erskine, Paul Motian, Bob Berg, Gary Peacock, Don Alias, Larry Grenadier or John Patitucci. Later a collaboration with famous Norwegian jazz singer Rebekka Bakken followed.
In 2002 Muthspiel returned to Vienna, founding his record label Material Records, which focuses on publishing own records as well as those of young aspiring musicians.
In 2003 he won the European Jazz Prize.
As a trumpet soloist, improviser and composer of jazz, Markus Stockhausen feels as much at home in contemporary and classical music, and ranks among one of the most eclectic musicians of our time. Born in Cologne in 1957, he began to play the piano at the age of six. From 1975 onwards he studied piano and trumpet at the Cologne Music Academy. In 1981, one year before his concert exam, he won the prize at the Deutscher Musikwettbewerb (German Music Competition). Since then he has been giving concerts regularly as a soloist, amongst which at numerous world premieres, such as Jet Stream, a trumpet concert composed for him in 2002, by Peter Eötvös with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London — and is regularly a guest at renowned international music festivals. For a long time he worked intensively with his father, the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, who wrote several pieces for him. He was on the stage as a soloist in his father's music drama pieces of LIGHT in, amongst other places, the Scala in Milan, London's Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, and the Leipzig Opera.
Markus Stockhausen has also emerged as a member and leader of various jazz formations. He played regularly with the trio MAP with Arild Andersen and Patrice Héral for example, as a duo with the guitarist Ferenc Snétberger, and recently as a trio with Angelo Comisso and Christian Thomé. Together with his brother Simon he brought several large musical projects into being, most recently the CD nonDuality, on which instrumental and electronic sounds coincide. He regularly plays concerts as the duo Moving Sounds with his wife, the clarinettist Tara Bouman.
In February 2002, he arranged his own series of concerts with Rolf Zavelberg for intuitive music in the St. Maternus church in Cologne, where he has been performing on a monthly basis. Markus Stockhausen can also look back on a number of successes as a composer.
In the early part of 2004 three new pieces by him were simultaneously premiered; Ascent and Pause for trumpet and string orchestra with the Orchestra d'Archi Italiana, Portrait for Tara for basset horn and ensemble with Tara Bouman and the London Sinfonietta, as well as Sunrise for the jazz trio MAP with the Winterthur Symphony Orchestra. In 2005 he wrote Any Way for the Cheltenham Festival Players.
Numerous CD releases have documented Markus Stockhausen's accomplishments. He was recently awarded the WDR Jazz Prize for Best Improviser. He last took part in the concert for KölnMusik with Ferenc Snétberger and the Franz Liszt Orchestra in October 2005.
A small seaside town in Tunisia in the 1970s. A boy walks along a deserted shoreline picking up the odds and ends he finds lying around: A broken fishing net; a few discarded sardine cans; spokes from an old bicycle. His heart and mind are full of music and he wants to play. It's as much as his father can do to put food on the table for Dhafer and his seven brothers and sisters. There certainly isn't spare money for music lessons, let alone for an instrument. So Dhafer makes his own oud, the traditional middle-Eastern lute, using whatever he can find.
You've only got to listen to the achingly beautiful first minute or so of Dhafer Youssef's last album Digital Prophecy to hear how the passion for music, born in that small Tunisian town, still lives on.
The young Dhafer did what was expected of him and sang, having learnt at the traditional Koran school, but at the same time, he was hearing music on the radio — the only source of entertainment in this small town. “It was just music. That's all I knew” says Dhafer “I didn't know what was classical what was jazz and so on. Just music...” And so, on his homemade oud, Dhafer taught himself to play by ear.
One day a friend came back from his travels with an electric guitar and a small toy one for his young nephew. Dhafer borrowed the toy for a week, at the same time secretly yearning to get his hands on the proper instrument. Eventually his friend began to lend it to him for a few days at a time: “days when I didn't sleep, the time was too precious. I just played.”
As he began to earn money by singing at weddings, he saved enough to buy his first 'real' oud for the equivalent of 100 Euros. This was frowned on by friends and family. “God's given you a voice, you've got to sing.”
But Dhafer had fallen in love with the sound of the instrument. It was the sound of his roots, the country where he was born. “If I'd been born in Africa I'd have been a drummer. In New York— a sax player. But I was born in Tunisia -I play the oud. If I'd been brought up near a piano maybe I'd have played that, but actually I didn't even see my first piano until I went to Vienna when I was 19.”
Vienna lured him with the promise of the opportunity to study music. “I did anything I could to earn money. I washed dishes, cleaned windows, worked as an Italian waiter even though I wasn't Italian. I did anything I could just to keep the music going. But I still couldn't read music. I went to listen to lots of music: jazz, classical, anything. And I met a viola player Tony Burger who patiently helped me to write my music down, and we would just play together for hours. Then I met the tabla player Jatinder Thakur who really got me into Indian music. This was a BIG discovery. I fell in love with the sound. It seemed so near to my soul, and I played with him every day. He was at the heart of the first quartet I played with.”
“In Vienna, I was still working to survive. But, I have to say, it was the most beautiful time of my life. It was a dream coming true: I was doing my own music, bringing alive the colours in my soul, playing a lot of theater music with people like accordionist Otto Lechner.”
“Then along came an amazing opportunity. The Jazz club Porgy and Bess in Vienna would give a musician carte blanche to do what they liked, one night a month for the next twelve months. A new project every month. I could invite anyone I wanted to play with me so I just thought: 'why not?' and asked so many people I admired from all over the world: Iva Bittova, Peter Herbert, Renaud Garcia Fons and Christian Muthspiel for example.”
“It was a huge success and I got to do in nine months what might have taken ten years. I was doing something completely different each month and at every gig, people would come up and ask about the music. Sometimes, things went so well with the musicians that one night at the Porgy and Bess wasn't enough and we'd go into the studio to record. That's how my first album, Malak came about.”
“Well, after that, I thought I would go back to Africa in search of my roots, but after a while, I felt that Europe was where my home was. My creativity is in Europe and wherever that is, there is my home. Enja wanted another recording from me and I went to New York for a while and recorded Electric Sufi with a group which included Dieter Ilg, Markus Stockhausen and Doug Wimbish.”
The world was beginning to take notice of Dhafer's captivating high vocals and intensity of playing and he considered settling in New York.