Sunday 17 November 2019, 7.30pm
Three-day residency from incomparible band, The Ex, who after 40 years, more than 25 albums and around 1800 performances still work independently, without record companies, managers or roadies.
• TERRIE HESSELS - guitar
• ARNOLD DE BOER - vocals, guitar
• ANDY MOOR - guitar
• KATHERINA BORNEFELD - drums, vocals
The adventurous, innovative Dutch band The Ex exists 40 years this year and is still going strong. New projects, new songs and new adventures.
The Ex have defied categorisation ever since they started playing in 1979. Born out of the punk explosion, when anything and everything was possible, the band have still managed to retain both curiosity and passion for their music. Using guitars, bass, drums and voice as their starting point, The Ex have continued to musically explore undiscovered areas right up to the present day.
Already the early 1980s saw collaborations with jazz musicians and an Iraqi-Kurdish band. In the 90s the group found a myriad of partners from varied musical and non-musical backgrounds like Kamagurka, Tom Cora, Sonic Youth, Han Bennink, Jan Mulder and Shellac. In 2002 The Ex set up a lively musical exchange with Ethiopia, organised many projects over there and invited several Ethiopian musicians to Europe. Most striking was the collboration with the legendary saxophonist Getatchew Mekuria, which eventually led to two CD recordings and more than a hundred concerts.
The band also started organising the ‘Ex Festivals’, where they invited their favourite musicians. A mix of jazz improvisers, musicians from all over the world and local treasures they came across on tour. The last few years saw collaborations with Brass Unbound (Wolter Wierbos, Mats Gustafsson, Ken Vandermark and Roy Paci), Circus Debre Berhan and Fendika, both from Ethiopia, and many, many more.
After all these years, more than 28 albums and around 2000 concerts the band continues to work as they did in when they began, completely independent of record companies, managers or roadies. Because of this ‘do it yourself’ work ethic The Ex is still a great example for other forward-thinking bands and musicians.
“Staying a bird, staying independent, free if you will, for three decades, that takes skill and something else, something more like heart.” – Music journalist John Corbett on The Ex.
Zewditu Yohannes is an Azmari-singer from Ethiopia. Azmari are travelling singers who celebrate the freedom of words. Zewditu is one of the strongest in that tradition that The Ex has encountered on their many journeys through Ethiopia: poetic and refined, but also straightforward and with an incredibly powerful voice, which is featured on Ethiopiques compilations #2 and #18. The Ex is happy to invite Zewditu Yohannes to the Ex Festival in Cafe Oto, where she will be accompanied by masinko player Mamush.
Alexander Hawkins is musician who is ‘unlike anything else in modern creative music’ (Ni Kantu) and whose recent work has reached a ‘dazzling new apex’ (Downbeat).
As a pianist, he has been described as ‘remarkable...possessing staggering technical ability and a fecund imagination as both player and composer.’ Concerning his organ playing, critic Brian Morton recently commented that ‘[t]he most interesting Hammond player of the last decade and more, [Hawkins] has already extended what can be done on the instrument.’
His writing has been said to represent ‘a fundamental reassertion of composition within improvised music’ (Point of Departure), and his voice one of the ‘most vividly distinctive...in modern jazz’ (The Jazzmann).
An in-demand collaborator as well as soloist, composer, and bandleader, Hawkins continues to be heard live and on record with vast array of contemporary leaders of all generations, including the likes of Evan Parker, John Surman, Joe McPhee, Mulatu Astatke, Wadada Leo Smith, Anthony Braxton, Marshall Allen, Han Bennink, Hamid Drake, Rob Mazurek, Taylor Ho Bynum, Harris Eisenstadt, Matana Roberts, and Shabaka Hutchings, amongst many others. He has also been noted for a number of years for his performances in the bands of legendary South African drummer, Louis Moholo-Moholo.
Concert appearances have taken him to major club, concert and festival stages worldwide.
“…Hawkins is a really vital link in a long historical chain, and his ability to sculpt his own language from a deeply rooted creative bedrock is compelling” - Jazzwise
“Sounds like all the future jazz you might imagine without ever being able to conceive of the details” - The Guardian
The work of French clarinetist Xavier Charles ranges from noise to electro-acoustic via sound poetry. He has played in numerous new music festivals in France and abroad.
In his work with groups and collectives, he has also collaborated with The Ex, Ingar Zach, Axel Dörner, Ivar Grideland, John Butcher, Jacques Di Donato, Frédéric Le Junter, Otomo Yoshihide, Getachew Mekuria, Emmanuelle Pellegrini, Lionel Marchetti, Michel Doneda and Frédéric Blondy. Different collectifs (Dans Les Arbres, Ouie-Dire, ONCEIM, No Spaguettitti Edition, Chris Burn Ensemble, Atmosphérique).
Currently his musical research ranges from performance on the clarinet to the installation of vibrating speakers, at the edge of improvised music, noisy rock and electro-acoustic sound.
The Ex vocalist Arnold de Boer's solo performances are always a complete blast. He deploys guitar and sampler for an almighty bout of crazily high energy songs - urgent lyrics over guitar, roughshod beats and grimy bass lines. "One guy stands playing his guitar like he’s trying to saw it in half with his bare hands, the other bashes at the vocoding keyboard devices like he wants them to explode, and they end up making one almighty racket that could be called ‘dance’ music. If you happen to dance like a malfunctioning washing machine, that is. Ace." Drowned in Sound
"It's incredibly bonkers, that's for sure, but it's so bloody energetic, so bull headed and so schizophrenic in its approach to crafting a tune that you simply can't fail to be impressed by it...The results are astonishing." Incendiary Magazine