This year’s festival season kicked off with a bang in the Netherlands: The Eurosonic Noorderslag Festival (ESNS), Europe’s largest live music showcase event, took place in Groningen from 17 to 20 January. Kultur | lx – Arts Council Luxembourg was actively engaged in promoting artists, networking, and participating in various conferences to gain insights into the future trends of the industry. A delegation of professionals from Luxembourg (including den Atelier, de Gudde Wëllen, Kulturfabrik, opderschmelz, Rotondes, Beast, Cooperations, Them Lights, Konektis Entertainment amongst others) also attended the showcase festival to foster connections, engage with industry experts, and explore emerging talents. Two Luxembourgish artists stood out in the packed festival line-up: CHAiLD and C’est Karma.
On the opening night of the festival, CHAiLD wowed the international audience with a phenomenal performance at Simplon UP. With his appearance at ESNS and Reeperbahn Festival in September last year, CHAiLD has played both of Europe’s major showcase festivals in the space of just four months. This underlines his growing prominence on the European music scene.
C’est Karma (selected by Luxembourg’s public radio station 100,7) took the stage on Thursday in front of a packed house of delegates and fans at VERA, a legendary venue that hosted bands like Nirvana, U2, Sonic Youth and Soundgarden in the 1980s. As is common practice at showcase festivals, each performance at the ESNS is limited to a maximum of 40 minutes. In this short period of time, C’est Karma was able to completely captivate the audience and allow them to lose themselves in her fascinating musical cosmos. The performance was recorded by the German public TV channel WDR and is set to air on their renowned program Rockpalast on the 18th of March 2024.
Playing at ESNS not only means playing at the festival in January. Acts that play at the festival also take part in the ESNS Exchange programme. ESNS Exchange facilitates the booking of European acts at festivals outside their home countries and works with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), export offices and local media (the Luxembourgish partner is 100,7) to generate significant media exposure for these artists. This way, ESNS Exchange aims to give a boost to the international careers of European artists.
The coming year will certainly have a lot in store for CHAiLD and C’est Karma.
After a first edition of the Contemporary Music Focus that took place in September 2022 in the frame of the Festival 33,7, organised by United Instruments of Lucilin and the Kulturfabrik, Kultur | lx – Arts Council Luxembourg is happy to join forces with the Philharmonie Luxembourg from November 17th to 19th on the occasion of their rainy days festival.
The programme, curated by the Luxembourgish composer Catherine Kontz, will put light on composers such as Albena Petrovic, Roby Steinmetzer, Marco Pütz, Catherine Kontz, Nik Bohnenberger, Camille Kerger, as well as Ivan Boumans. Ensembles such as Ars Nova Lux, United Instruments of Lucilin, Noise Watchers Unlimited as well as the Trio WAS+ will share the stage with the London-based Langham Research Centre and the Belgian Ensemble Ictus.
During these three Focus days, Kultur | lx will invite a delegation of professionals from contemporary music festivals and ensembles located in numerous places in Europe. These invitation programmes play a significant part in fulfilling Kultur | lx’ mission to promote and foster the identification of Luxembourgish artists on the international level. On the one hand, the international guests will have several occasions to see the works of Luxembourgish composers and musicians during the three festival days. On the other hand, the Focus will consist of several exchanges and network moments, notably through a speed meeting session during which Luxembourgish artists and professionals will have an occasion to meet the international delegation invited for the event. These meetings are crucial for the establishment of contacts and synergies to further help the identification and circulation of the Luxembourgish musical creation on an international level.
About rainy days
rainy days is a festival dedicated to new music. For four days, the event will feature numerous insights and perspectives in different compact formats that can satisfy experts as well as curious people who want to get a first impression of the current state of today’s musical creation – aesthetic experiences for the here and now, as well as nourishment for your own personal memory!
This edition is dedicated to the topic of memory, that is quite tackled in the arts nowadays. The concerts, performances, installations that are presented during the festival are building ties, in their own way, sonic histories, tales, memory fragments and memory snippets extending from Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff to composers from the emerging new music scene.
After ENGLBRT‘s acclaimed performances at the USINA23 festival, where they were spotted by renowned Belgian booker Peter Verstraelen, and their EP release show at Rotondes, the collaborative duo of Georges Goerens and Niels Engel are now taking to the stages of our neighbours in France and Belgium.
Their first show abroad will take place on the 8th of November at the Crossroads Festival in Roubaix (France). The festival was created in 2016 to promote French and international artists and provide a networking platform for professionals.
ENGLBRT’s unique sound, which combines electro, contemporary jazz and well-crafted indie pop, can also be heard on 22 November at De Zwerver in Leffinge (Belgium), when they support Compact Disk Dummies for their sold-out show.
Sŵn (pronounced: suːn) is the Welsh word for “sound/noise” and also the namesake for one of Britain’s most exciting music festivals with a focus on emerging artists. Sŵn Festival takes place in Cardiff 20-22 October. As part of Kultur | lx’s partnership with the Excite network, DasRADIAL has been chosen to perform at this year’s festival edition on Sunday 22 October at Fuel Rock Club.
DasRADIAL, who released his new single “LIEBES-DRANG” two weeks ago, grows out of the absurdities of our digital age: a being, not man not machine, walks between dream and reality! Musician and actor Max Thommes, who spent 10 years as the drummer in the band INBORN! produced by acclaimed producer Ross Robinson, has been going his own way since 2019, creating a dystopian cosmos with DasRADIAL. After several works for the German State Theatre, he also produced the title track of the Arte documentary “UNTERM_RADAR”. With his electronic beats and sharp-tongued lyrics, DasRADIAL now seeks the symbiosis of art figure and musical live performance.
Excite is a highly-collaborative project between seven partner organisations based across Europe (BE, DE, LU, NO, NL, SE, UK) and leverages a dynamic mechanism to expedite the internationalisation of young artists and music businesses earlier in their careers and development. The delivery model is built around a core of ten partner festivals in their respective markets, with a small number of associated festivals and conferences in different territories – plus a curated stage which took place this year at The Great Escape in Brighton, UK.
More information and tickets are available here.
“The diversity and richness of Luxembourg’s musical life was showcased in the best possible way, with two days featuring remarkable performances. We can only be delighted to have been able to take part in such an event, which not only opens up and deepens perspectives, but also creates an emulation that is not about to fade away.” – Jean Lacroix, Crescendo Magazine, October 2023.
In the frame of the Echter’Classic Festival, organised every fall by the Trifolion Echternach, Kultur | lx – Arts Council Luxembourg organised a Focus celebrating the classical musicians from Luxembourg who were showcased during the festival. On this occasion, a delegation of European professionals (agents, bookers, journalists) was invited to discover the festival and its concerts. This Focus also gave Luxembourg artists and representatives of institutions the opportunity to have informal and formal exchanges with the international delegation, notably during a speedmeeting session, which gave an impetus to first contacts.
This first Classical Music Focus – following on from the Luxembourg Classical Meetings – was a privileged showcase for the Luxembourg classical music scene, enabling exchanges and concrete touring perspectives for the artists present at the event.
The Focus programmes, central to the work of Kultur | lx, are part of its mission to promote and support the Luxembourg music scene in a number of aspects. First and foremost, these programmes help to identify artists from the Grand Duchy at an international level, but they are also intended to show international delegations the richness of the programmes offered by cultural institutions at a national level, and thus encourage cross-border collaborations which play a key role in the process of artistic touring.
Kultur | lx, Taller de Músics and the Accion Cultural Española joined forces to implement a joint residency programme dedicated to Luxembourgish and Catalan jazz artists. In order to favour artistic encounters between both scenes and foster the international career development of jazz artists, two Luxembourg-based musicians and two Barcelona-based musicians will gather from November 18th to 21st in Barcelona to share their artistic visions. The result of these days dedicated to research and creation will be presented at Jamboree (Barcelona) and neimënster (Luxembourg), respectively on November 21st and 26th.
As this programme seeks to encourage the transmission between emerging and experienced artists, it will involve two established artists: Marc Demuth, a doublebass player and composer from Luxembourg, and Irene Reig, a saxophone player and composer based in Barcelona. They will coordinate the residency and share their experiences with two emerging artists selected by a jury.
The jury, composed by Marc Demuth, Irene Reig, Stéphane Wasila (neimënster) and Josep Mestres (Jamboree), decided to select the Luxembourgish vibist, composer and producer Arthur Clees, as well as the Barcelona-based drummer and composer Andreu Giró Espasa.
About the laureates
About Arthur Clees
Arthur Vinzent Clees is a young vibist, composer and producer from Luxembourg. He grew up in the small town of Esch-sur-Alzette and began his musical studies by taking cello. He soon decided to switch instruments and started finding interest in percussive instruments. After several years of studying classical percussion and taking multiple theory classes, he started to find his way into Jazz. Through playing drums and, eventually, by picking up the vibraphone as a main instrument, he started exploring the endless facets of contemporary improvised music. In 2019, he was a laureate of the Bourse Michelle and won the first prize during the drummer days in Luxembourg in 2020. After finishing high school in 2021, he started his bachelors in Jazz Composing in Dresden, where he currently studies.
Over the years Arthur was involved in many different band projects, both as a sideman and as a bandleader. With the band Anima he won the first prize of the Hans & Eugenia Jütting Stiftung in 2022. Arthur is currently active as a performer, composer and producer in both modern improvised music as well as contemporary classical music. Recent projects include a live album of an improvised set with Jan Jelinek (Faitiche & Terres Rouges), the release of debut albums with both Anima (Xjazz!) and Jambal (self released), as well as a brand-new duo project with vocalist Kateryna Kravchenko. In addition to his studies in composition and vibraphone, Arthur consistently kept working on his passion for electronic music and music production. Not only has he been making beats and mixes for other artists, including Culture the Kid, but he will also release his debut album stay, temporary home as a songwriter/producer on the Berlin based Label Macro end of 2023.
Andreu Giró Espasa
Andreu Giró is a passionate and dedicated musician who has devoted a significant portion of his life to studying and performing music. He commenced his musical education at the Can Ponsic Municipal School of Music, l’ARC Foundation, during the 2006-2007 academic year and continued his studies until the 2015-2016 academic year. During his tenure at the school, Andreu displayed a keen interest in the piano, dedicating 7 years to mastering this instrument and participating in various chamber music ensembles at the school. From 2010 to 2016, he concurrently pursued drum studies under the tutelage of teacher Iñaki de la Linde, broadening his repertoire and honing his skills with this instrument.
Andreu continued his education at the Taller de Músics School of Music in Barcelona. Between 2016 and 2019, he studied drums, piano, and ensemble (combo) under the guidance of different teachers delving into the techniques and expressions of jazz. Andreu’s unwavering dedication to music propelled him to commence his higher music studies at Taller de Músics ESEM in September 2019, where he continued to refine his drumming interpretation in jazz under the mentorship of teachers Ramón Ángel Rey, Toni Pagès, and Jordi Gardeñas. Andreu Giró successfully completed his higher Jazz studies and presented his graduation concert at Jamboree in Barcelona in June 2023.
About the mentors
Over the past several years, Luxembourg bassist Marc Demuth has emerged as a strong voice in the European jazz scene. In 2004 he was selected to be part of the European Jazz Orchestra on their tour through Europe and Brazil, under the conduction of the Portuguese leader and composer Pedro Moreira. A long-term usical partnership with Portuguese singer Sofia Ribeiro resulted in numerous appearances at venues and festivals all over Europe and the release of their Duo recording “Dança da Solidão” in 2006. Since 1998 has played in the Reis Demuth Wiltgen Trio, who released their fourth CD SLY for the Italian label Cam Jazz. Saxophonist Joshua Redman met the band at a festival in France in 2014 and fell in love with their music from the moment he heard them. Joshua joined the trio as a featured guest on many occasions and tours. He also was part of a project featuring the music of REIS/DEMUTH/WILTGEN arranged for the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg by multiple Grammy Award winning composer and conductor Vince Mendoza.
As an accomplished and passionate jazz educator, Marc shares his experience and insights with the next generation of creative musicians at the Echternach Music School in Luxembourg. He started his musical studies at the Luxembourg conservatory, and pursued them at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels with Jean-Louis Rassinfosse and Michel Hetzigeorgiou. He got his master from the Royal Conservatory of The Hague under Hein van de Geyn.
In 1996, at the young age of 18, he won a scholarship for studying electric bass at the famous Berklee College of Music, while participating at their annual workshop in Perugia, Italy.
Irene is a saxophone player and composer based in Barcelona. She got interested in jazz music at an early age and she has been involved in music since then. She has been living in different cities such as Amsterdam and Philadelphia where she developed her career and recorded her firsts albums: Views and The Bop Collective. She is currently playing with her own trio and many other ensembles. She is also part of the collective and label The Changes.
In the frame of its mission to promote and support the artists from Luxembourg, Kultur | lx joins forces with the Trifolion Echternach and its Echter’Classic Festival to organise a Focus dedicated to classical music.
On October 6th and 7th, Kultur | lx will welcome a delegation of international professionals coming from the European Classical music scene to (re)discover Luxembourgish Classical music artists featured at the Echter’Classic Festival. For two days, the international guests, the artists and Luxembourgish professionals will have the opportunity to exchange during formal and informal networking moments. A speedmeeting session will allow Luxembourg artists and professionals to initiate contacts and consider potential touring perspectives for the seasons to come.
About the Echter’Classic festival
At the start of every autumn, the festival Echter’Classic makes Echternach vibrate to the sounds of chamber music, baroque music and much more. Concerts take place in various venues around Echternach, including the TRIFOLION, the Church of St. Peter & Paul and the Basilica of St. Willibrord. Located in the heart of Müllerthal, also known as “Luxembourg’s Little Switzerland”, Echternach is Luxembourg’s oldest city, and has shown a vibrant cultural and musical life for decades.
Programme of the 2023 edition:
- 6:00 pm: Zala & Val Kravos
- 7:30 pm: Bohnenberger Plus – Kammerata Luxembourg
- 9:00 pm: Maurice Clement
- 11:30 am: Ensemble La Chapelle St. Marc
- 3:30 pm: Hear Eyes Move – Dances with Ligeti
- 5:00 pm: Benjamin Kruithof
- 6:00 pm: Sandrine Cantoreggi
- 7:30 pm: Canto Ostinato – Victor Kraus Group
To promote the Luxembourg artists taking to the stage at the Echter’Classic, Kultur | lx has developed a new video format that will be released on 15 September on Instagram.
More information on Echter’Classic here.
Are you an international professional with an interest for the Classical Music Focus? You can contact Clémence Creff, Project manager for classical/contemporary music: email@example.com
Kultur | lx – Arts Council Luxembourg presents another edition of the celebrated |lx finest – Sounds from Luxembourg showcase at the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg. Four acts will take the stage at HÄKKEN club in the heart of St. Pauli on Friday, September 22nd from 8:30p.m.: Josh Island (groovy singer-songwriter pop combined with soul and folk elements), CHAiLD (electro-pop with a trace of pleasing melancholy), MAZ (explosion of emo-rap with references to metal and punk), and DasRadial (electronic beats and cutting-edge lyrics from a dystopian dreamscape).
If you’re attending Reeperbahn Festival as pro/delegate, make sure to stop by early for our networking reception at 7:30p.m. with finger food and wine from Luxembourg!
Friday, 22. September at HÄKKEN
Spielbudenplatz 21/22, 20359 Hamburg
19:30 – Networking reception (only for delegates)
20:15- Doors open to the public
20:30 – 21:10 | Josh Island
21:45 – 22:25 | CHAiLD
23:00 – 23:40 | MAZ
00:15 – 00:55 | DasRadial
Josh Island | 20:30
(+ Friday 22th September at 16:15 – MOPO-Mobil in the Festival Village)
Josh Island is a true European. Born in the British roundabout town of Milton Keynes to a Dutch family, he moved to Germany and the Netherlands before eventually settling in Luxembourg. This natural curiosity for cultures and people is reflected in his music, with the ability to go beyond geopolitical boundaries. As a vocal powerhouse, soulful songwriter and engaging live performer, Josh Island has been steadily growing a loyal fan base across Europe. He draws inspirations from Sting, Jamie Cullum or John Mayer, a dynamic blend of catchy singer-songwriter pop with strong influences of soul and folk. At its core lies, Josh’s unique ability to connect with the crowd – his interactive shows breakdown invisible barriers between audience and artist. Since starting out playing local bars in Luxembourg at the age of 15, he has opened for James Morrison, Passenger and Clueso, toured the Benelux and Germany and released two EPs. He has worked with Guy Chambers (Robbie Williams, Kylie Minogue) and represented Luxembourg at the Eurotoire songwriting camp on Cyprus. On 15 September 2023, he is releasing his album ‘In My Head’, an introspective yet mature full-length debut, recorded by Portuguese producer Nelson Canoa (Sara Tavares, Carminho, Mariza) at his studio in Torres Vedras, the winegrowing region north of Lisbon. The Black Mamba (Eurovision 2021) was his studio band. The first singles went on to achieve national airplay in the Benelux and Germany and added to numerous playlists, further cementing him as one of Luxembourg’s most international pop songwriters. This fall, Josh is embarking on a 20-date European tour.
CHAiLD | 21:45
CHAiLD burst onto the music scene in 2019. The young rising pop artist from Luxembourg rapidly became known and stood out for his unique, soothing yet intense voice that pulls at your heartstrings and transports you into his melancholic universe. While there’s a nostalgic air to CHAiLD’s vocals, they also possess a modern twist resonating as vulnerable, strong, and intimate all at the same time. CHAiLD identifies as a Gen Z artist, standing up for a youth generation seeking self-expression. That said, a sincere approach to his music means CHAiLD wears his heart on his sleeve, a path that has helped attract a fan base attending his concerts and seeking out his music, which hails from all walks of life. Despite being on the scene for a relatively short time, CHAiLD has many remarkable achievements under his belt whether it is supporting major acts such as Nothing But Thieves, Dean Lewis, and Mahmood, or performing at local and international festivals. He’s also achieved extensive radio play and chart success in Luxembourg, as well as releasing his debut EP “Urgent Care” in 2023.
MAZ | 23:00
(Saturday 23rd September at 16:15 – MOPO-Mobil in the Village Festival)
Maz emerged from a conservative little town in Luxembourg, where the blueprint to a traditional way of life was put into his cradle in 1999. It took a while for his beautiful, yet gory poetry notes to escape his bedroom drawer; for the pride flag to appear between metal posters. Today, he puts his thoughts into an explosion of emo-rap with references to punk and metal music. He mixes skilful rap with distorted screams and melodic hooks; creating a dark, yet hopeful form of expression. As Maz enters the stage, he ties audiences up into the limb of a giant marionette. A powerful collective beast that puts up a fight against social injustices and inspires one to accept their own darkness just as much as their light. This captivating live energy seems to have escaped from secrecy, earning him slots at iconic festivals such as Sziget or ESNS and the award for the best live performance at the Luxembourg Music Awards in 2022. Maz is currently based in Berlin and Brussels and is working on his forthcoming album while currently releasing his EMO SEASON EP.
DasRadial | 00:15
DasRADIAL grows out of the absurdities of our digital age: a being, not man not machine, walks between dream and reality. Musician and actor Max Thommes, who spent 10 years as the drummer in the band INBORN! produced by acclaimed producer Ross Robinson, has been going his own way since 2019, creating a dystopian cosmos with DasRADIAL. After several works for the German State Theatre, he also produced the title track of the Arte documentary “UNTERM_RADAR”. With his electronic beats and sharp-tongued lyrics, DasRADIAL now seeks the symbiosis of art figure and live musical performance. On stage Max Thommes will be joined by drummer Wouter Rentema who also plays for Bonaparte and Sophie Hunger.
With C’est Karma one of Luxembourg’s most multifaceted musicians will also perform at the Reeperbahn Festival as part of the Hamburg Music Business X Backseat Showcase presented by Fanklub.
On her third EP, “Amuse-Bouche,” Karma’s style is covered in noise/industrial and hyperpop influences. The daughter of two first generation immigrants, and supporters of feminist and LGBTQ+ causes, approaches music as a tool for social change, also attacking the inaction on the climate crisis and the disparity between the filthy rich and the less fortunate (although she sometimes indulges in more sentimental remarks or mentions her love for pasta).
Wednesday, 20 September, 8:00p.m. at Grüner Jäger
Committed to foster the promotion and export the Luxembourgish jazz scene, Kultur | lx joins forces with CCRD opderschmelz for the Like A Jazz Machine Festival (May 10th to 14th 2023), to organise a Focus dedicated to Luxembourgish jazz. On May 12th and 13th, Kultur | lx will invite a delegation of international guests to discover the Luxembourgish projects featured at the festival.
On May 12th, two projects arising from opderschmelz residencies will be presented: Mathieu Clement and his collective will present their first compositions. They will be followed by Shauli Einav’s Living Organs Quartet.
On May 13th, the day will start with a concert by the young guitar player Veda Bartringer. The audience will then discover Greg Lamy’s new project, with trumpet player Stéphane Belmondo as a guest. In the evening, Michel Reis will present a new project with his German trio and the United Instruments of Lucilin contemporary music ensemble. The band Tele-Port will play the compositions from their new album Please Disperse, to be released very soon, and recorded during an opderschmelz residency.
In the aim of encouraging encounters and synergies that are necessary to the export of these projects on the international level and the career development of the artists, Kultur | lx will organise a speedmeeting session and a lunch between international guests and local professionals and artists.
Click here to discover the full line-up of Like A Jazz Machine.
An initiative of the renowned Edinburgh Jazz & Blues festival, the SPARK festival took place from March 24th to 26th. It was a privileged time to introduce Luxembourgish jazz to Scottish jazz audience and sector. Fiona Alexander, the producer of the festival, explains that the strategy of the festival consists in giving Edinburgh’s audiences a broad view on European jazz scene through small focuses, instead of one-shot concerts. It is thanks to this reflexion that SPARK, a mix of concerts and artistic collaborations, has come to life in order to put light on existing relationships between Scottish and Luxembourgish jazz. Artists from both territories were gathered for short residencies.
Double bass player Marc Demuth and saxophonist Konrad Wiszniewski revived their long-standing collaboration that started when they were part of the European Youth jazz orchestra and showed again the scope of their musical friendship. Resulting from the Criss-Cross Europe project, the collaboration between drummer Michel Meis and double bass player David Bowden could go further after a first residency in Summer 2022. After this second residency in the frame of SPARK, they presented their respective compositions on stage. Last but not least, committed to foster the development of emerging artists, SPARK invited trumpet player Daniel Migliosi to collaborate with pianist and teacher Pete Johnstone and his trio.
These after-residency concerts were positively received by the public and made it possible to maintain, revive or build musical encounters that are a necessary breeding ground for creation within the jazz sector.
In addition to these fruitful artistic collaborations which led to tailormade concerts, SPARK also gave the bands Tele-Port and Dock in Absolute the opportunity to present their latest projects.
The musicians from Dock in Absolute, who played at a previous edition of the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, presented their latest compositions at Glasgow’s MacKintosch Church, Aberdeen’s Blue Lamp, and Edinburgh’s St Brides Centre. This three-dates tour allowed them to extend their fanbase on the Scottish territory.
Tele-Port made their Scottish debut, which marked a significant step in their establishment on the British territory.
On the Scottish side, SPARK featured pianist Dave Milligan, bands AKU!, Helena Kay Trio, NooVision, and the Kershaw, Stephen, Dick trio.
This kind of operation is a precious tool to allow Luxembourgish artists to be active on foreign jazz scenes and pursue their identification on the international level. In the thinking that such focuses have got virtuous effects, Kultur | lx intends to form close ties with further international partners to repeat such initiatives.