An evening of unfailingly gorgeous music that felt exotic and familiar at once…remarkable musical arrangements…At the end of the day this was pop music, classy, sensual, exquisitely artful and unmistakably new.
— Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times
With words and music, it is a transcendent journey.
— Marcina Zaccaria, Theater Pizzazz
American Premiere / Concert
Dez Mona is one of Belgium’s finest indie bands whose style fuses jazz, gospel, spirituals, and drama. For the creation of Sága, they engage in a sparkling collaboration with B.O.X. (Baroque Orchestration X), along with the outstanding vocalist Gregory Frateur.
Sága is a theatrical song cycle, which deals with “homecoming” as its main theme. The title of the work refers to the well-known epic tales composed in Iceland and Greenland some time between the 12th and 14th centuries, and also to Sága: in Norse mythology she is the goddess of history and storytelling. Dez Mona tells stories about the soul and goes in search of their love for the land, a home, and the world in which they live. The songs emanate from the continuous search for ideal geographical and spiritual surroundings. By looking into the past, Dez Mona tries to explain the current state of affairs. But more than anything, their latest work is a poetic reflection on what is happening here and now.
By Dez Mona and Baroque Orchestration X
Music by Gregory Frateur, Nicolas Rombouts, Roel Van Camp, and Pieter Theuns
Vocals and Lyrics by Gregory Frateur
Double Bass/Vocals/Arrangements by Nicolas Rombouts
Accordion by Roel Van Camp
Theorbo/Arrangements/Vocals by Pieter Theuns
Harp and Vocals by Jutta Troch
Viola da gamba and Vocals by Pieter Vandeveire
Violin/Guitar/Trombone/Harpsichord/Organ/Vocals by Tijs Delbeke
Lighting Design by Christian LeMay
Sága was created with the support of deSingel in Antwerp, Klara festival, Opera Days Rotterdam, and with the generous support of the General Representation of the Government of Flanders.
Co-presented with National Sawdust
Photo by Mous Lamrabat
Show run time: 75 minutes
Post-Performance Conversation will follow the January 10 show.
B.O.X. (Baroque Orchestration X) is a Flemish and international collective that was founded in 2010 by lute virtuoso Pieter Theuns and uses age old baroque sound textures while writing a completely new story. It invites rock and pop artists from all over the world for collaborations, while aiming at creating new works. However, B.O.X. is not keen on terms like crossover and fusion. The need to stick a label of musical genres is generally not something that comes from the artists themselves. Although still somewhat premature, labels like “neo-classical” or “indie-baroque” seem to come the closest, for the time being. In any case, B.O.X. – which at its core is made up of classically trained performers – is helping to build bridges toward a new and broader audience. In turn, an important part of that audience gets an opportunity to get to know a universe of unique instruments with which they are typically not familiar.
Dez Mona was founded in 2003 and is led by singer Gregory Frateur and double bass player Nicolas Rombouts. The aim of the organization is to open the boundaries of music. We thrive to stop thinking in genres and periods. All music is personal and universal at the same time. It’s about emotions and how to express them in a musical language that you can believe in without locking yourself up in a specific or generic style or period of music. This doesn’t mean that tradition should be abandoned - quite the opposite! It is through tradition that you can start building the musical and lyrical vocabulary, but without the postmodern approach you’d expect coming from this. It’s about finding your own musical language that can be seen as one of the endless possible forms music can evolve into. With every note you play, you stand in tradition and at the same time break loose of it. Music is therefore always a real-time process that happens in the now, that is heard for the first time in the now, that projects the now and puts it in a different historical and philosophical context. Since Dez Mona’s founding in 2003, they have recorded 9 albums and performed more than 500 shows all over Europe.