Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Juggling on Bach

Last Sunday was Bach Day at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam, organized by the wonderful Early Music Festival I mentioned a few months earlier on this blog. One of the events was "Le Chant des Balles", a magical show by Eric Bellocq and Vincent de Lavenère, both musicians and jugglers.

Le Chant des Balles (c)Philippe Cibille
de Lavenère explains his artistic commitment at lenght on his website. "The roots of my universe stand in the heart of our cultural and musical heritage" says the artist, explaining that his interest for traditional arts has a central place in his work. Each of the performances are inspired by various traditions, the inspiration for "Le Chant des Balles" was medieval and baroque, including Middle Ages jugglers and poetry. "Tradition isn't only a source of inspiration" explains de Lavenère, "but a real actor in the performance enabling to nurture, enrich but also to develop this very particular language that is jonglerie musicale".  
Le Chant des Balles (c)Philippe Cibille
"Le Chant des Balles" was the first such performance they developed with lutenist Eric Bellocq, therefore being at the very origin of this "jonglerie musicale" concept. After receiving many questions about this particular language using juggling and music, they have decided to publish a book that not only translates the various gestures and language of their show but also explains their artistic commitment. In "Le Chant de Balles", de Lavenère and Bellocq present an Early Music repertoire. The programme at the Muziekgebouw included Lute suites by J.S. Bach, a prelude from the Chants d'Espagne by Isaac Albéniz and traditional German and Japanese folk songs.  

Le Chant des Balles (c)Philippe Cibille
I really enjoyed the way both artists mastered their art, juggling and playing the lute, and were able to share their passion for "jonglerie musicale". There was a great energy between the two, and the show was very well balanced between comical and more sober scenes. There were a few kids in the audience but I believe all the adults were even more mesmerized by the music and the jonglerie, dancing in a beautiful mise-en-scene.

The duo is now touring the Netherlands with "Le Chant des Balles" and will end in Belgium this weekend. They will perform other shows starting from March in France, Spain and Italy. Check their calendar for more information. 

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