This project started off with a simple idea. SOLO – I travel on my own. KON – I co-write music with musicians I meet. KONSOLO – looking for beauty and consolation. Esperanto, the utopic international language provided a well-suited word for my idea.
So I started off. Working on this project from 2015, travelling to more than 15 countries. And yes, I had beautiful experiences. Recording with the oppressed Batwa pygmies in Uganda, the Ossipov national balalaika orchestra from Russia, or with Pall from Iceland, who build his own stone marimba in complete solitude.
I had intense moments of sharing, with friends from Colombia, Ex-Yugoslavia, Iran and Rwanda. Enriching experiences, but also quite demanding, I must admit.
This website is a sketchbook of musical ideas and some impressions of what I experienced.
Robin Cuvelier (Belgian composer) – Feb. 2019
FULL RECORDING LIST
Gaya’s, traditional flutes in Huanchaco – PERU
Charango, string instrument similar to a ukulele in Jaen – PERU
Soccer game chants in Quito – EQUADOR
Tiple and rhythm section in Cabo de la Vella – COLOMBIA
Seaorgan in Zadar – CROATIA
Classical guitar and melódion in Sarajevo – BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA
Langspil, traditional bow played instrument in Reyckjavik – ICELAND
Marimba made with rocks in Husafel – ICELAND
Alto domra and balalaika, traditional string instruments in Moscow – RUSSIA
Rojok, traditional flute in Sergiev Posad – RUSSIA
ANS, photoeletronic synthesizers at the Glinka Museum – RUSSIA
Lotar, Berber string instrument, ribab, bow-played instrument and oraqeb, steel hand percussion in Essaouira – MOROCCO
Carillon, tower bells in Leuven – BELGIUM
Childerns choir in Butare – RWANDA
Inanga, oval shaped harp in Kigali – RWANDA
Traditional singer and choir in Gisenyi – RWANDA
Umuduri, musical bow, the Batwa pygmy community – UGANDA
Percussion troup, Fort Portal – UGANDA
Bandura, Ukrainian string instrument in Prague – CZECH REPUBLIC
Cow bells in the Alps – AUSTRIA
Ney, setar and daf in the Lut dessert – IRAN
Kamancheh and santour in Kerman – IRAN
Erhu and percussion in Tainan – TAIWAN
N° 10 I was invited to Taiwan by Formosa Circus Art Company to write the original soundtrack for their 2017 production ‘I have my demons’. Together with circus director Tim Lenkiewicz (UK) we shared an intens proces of co creating with Taiwanese artists and musicians. Touring internationally 2019/2021.
music & played by Robin Cuvelier / video by Foca Taiwan
N° 02 Cartagena, my last stop after three months of travelling. The old town has a wonderful but crowded atmosphere. Surrounded by ‘las murallas’ fortifications, although beautiful, a metaphorical barrier for lots of Colombians unable to visit the city. I play the tible, a guitar with tripled strings, and a variety of the traditional percussion.
music & played by Robin Cuvelier / video & pictures by Inneke Le Beer
N° 01 Children are dressing up and dancing in the streets of Cali (Colombia) to please ‘El Busiraco’, the salsa demon. Meanwhile a preacher talks about salvation on the main square of Jaen. I’m playing the charango in Cuenca, a traditional Andean, ukulele like, string instrument. This city of music was my first stop for the Konsolo project.
N° 09 Roozbeh and Soodat play their Kamancheh and Santour for me. The mother spoils me on traditional cookies and food. For Iranian people, a normal welcome. In Isfahan I ask around about the dried Zayandeh river. Everybody adds a different nuance to the story. But they all are kind enough to let me take their picture.
Music and played by Roozbeh Arjmand & Robin Cuvelier / video by Robin Cuvelier
Vík í Mýrdal
N° 08 Páll Guðmundsson plays his ‘Steinharpa’. An instrument made with rocks he picked up around his house. Although difficult to communicate by speech, we share the same passion for sounds, so recording went easy. Thank you Hans for drawing our portraits.
Music by Robin Cuvelier / played by Páll Guðmundsson / video by Luc Roymans / drawing by Hans Vera
N° 07 Moustafa and Learbi are playing in Essaouira. Two passionate berber musicians. Mohammed invites me in his music shop. Everybody’s eager to sell. On my train ride back to Cassablanca a fascinating kid takes the seat in front of me.
music & played by Moustafa Abdallah, Learbi Khalef, Mohammed Rachid & Robin Cuvelier / video by Robin Cuvelier
N° 06 Paskalizia plays the umuduri. She’s part of the pygmy Birara Batwa community. She sings about the eviction of her people from the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. And how they became conservation refugees. Thank you Henry for introducing me into this fragile community.
music & played by Paskalizia Nyirakaromba & Robin Cuvelier / video by Robin Cuvelier
N° 04 Chris Foster on langspil, a traditional Icelandic three-string instrument, played with a bow. England-born Chris married Bára, an Icelandic woman, and has since worked hard to preserve this isolated country’s musical heritage.
music by Robin Cuvelier / played by Chris Foster / video by Nathalie Beausaert / pictures by Luc Roymans
N° 05 Working with musicians of the Ossipov National Balalaika Orchestra was a privilege. Discovering the ANS, a unique photoelectronic synthesizer, at the Glinka Museum was a delight. The suburbs of Sergiev Posad proved to be inspiring to write this Sjostakovitsj scaled duet.
music by Robin Cuvelier / played by Konstantin Zakharato, Julia Neverova, Sergey Chetoev & Irina Novichkova / video by Robin Cuvelier / pictures by Anna Skullova
N° 03 Up on the hillsides, overlooking Sarajevo, I found this spot to write my modest ode. In Zadar (Croatia), I discovered the sea-organ, an architectural – musical object. Two places where a serene atmosphere of calmness was to be found.
music & played by Robin Cuvelier / video by Robin Cuvelier