DONDER & SIGBJØRN APELAND

DONDER & SIGBJØRN APELAND

About This Project

DONDER – SIGBJØRN APELAND

With donder, every album, every project so far meant a new approach, a new sound, and a new way to construct and interpret a repertoire. The application for jong jazztalent Gent contest provided a chance to develop a new, original and ambitious project where we could once again explore new terrains.

The idea for our project proposal stems from our encounters with the Norwegian music scene which in recent years produced a lot of unique and ground-breaking music. Norway has a deeply anchored folk music tradition, and even thought less widely practiced  nowadays, this tradition still – consciously by improvisational freedom, sense for melody and complex rhythms, the folklore tradition goes hand in hand with the philosophy behind jazz, and this combination results in a substantial amount of creative and genre-transcending music.

“Inspired by cries and whispers of the world, Donder wears mental imagery into layers of sound. While the music takes various shapes, fragments of melodies and forgotten thoughts unfold into sonic landscapes with a cosmic dimension.”

Despite a thriving scene, a similar heritage seems to be lacking or overlooked in the Belgian and Flemish jazz environment. With this project we want to fill out the blanks in our musical identity, and research the music heritage from out ancestors and the role it could play in our music. The knowledge and material we acquire, will be used as a source of inspiration for composing a new repertoire for Donder in a new quartet constellation.

The band will be joined by Sigbjørn Apeland, a Norwegian harmonium and church organ player and professor of ethnomusicology at the university of Bergen. Next to his work with Norwegian church- and folk music, he is also actively involved in the Norwegian jazz and improvised music scene with bands as 1982 or Nils Økland band. Sigbjørn has a vast knowledge and experience with implementing old music traditions in a contemporary context, and makes the perfect partner for this project. The unusual combination of piano-trio with harmonium opens up for a multi-layered chamber music ambience with extensive possibilities concerning sound and textures.

The project is neither a attempt to initiate a folk music venture, nor some kind of manifestation of Flemish nationalism, but rather an endeavor to connect the loose ends in our musical identity. The concert on Gent Jazz 2020, is merely the start of this project, and will be followed by a fourth Donder album and more.

“Donder is a band like no other. They’ve developed an idiom which is entirely their own and which allows them to pursue their own unparalleled vision. What a joy to follow this young trio. Keukenpraat is their best record yet, but it holds the promise that Steingueldoir, Van De Velde en Callewaert are capable of even more beautiful music.” – Written in Music

Sigbjørn Apeland
is a graduate in performing Church music at the Rogaland Musikkonservatorium (1988) and ethnomusicology from University of Bergen (1998), before he as fellow at Griegakademiet completed his Dr. art.with the thesis Kyrkjemusikkdiskursen: Musikklivet i Den norske kyrkja som diskursiv praksis (Church music discourse: The music scene in the Norwegian church as discursive practice, 2005). Apeland contributes on numerous album releases by Nils Økland (1995–), Reidun Horvei (1998), Ingeleiv Kvammen and Olav Kvammen (2000), Åsne Valland Nordli (2001), Marylands (2001), and Agnes Buen Garnås(2002). For the Vossajazz he released the album Fryd (1998), in collaboration with Berit Opheim (vocals), Bjørn Kjellemyr (bass), Einar Mjølsnes (Hardingfele) and Per Jørgensen (trumpet). With Berit Opheim he released the album Den Blide Sol (2007). 1982 (NorCD), with Øyvind Skarbø & Nils Økland (2009),  Lysøen – Hommage À Ole Bull (ECM Records), with Nils Økland recorded at Lysøen, (2011), Bumblin’ Creed, with Padang Food Tigers (2016). Apeland often plays together with county musicians in Hordaland, he also collaborates with the fiddle player Synnøve S. Bjørset, and with Knut Hamre, Hildegun Riise and Benedicte Maurseth.

Harrison Steingueldoir
Pianist Harrison Steingueldoir (°1995, BE) finished his masters degree at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp in 2017, where he studied piano with Free Desmyter and Erik Vermeulen. Throughout the years Harrison won different awards as soloist and band member and toured through Belgium, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Portugal and Japan with Donder, GYJO and coaching projects with Ambrose Akinmusire and Avishai Cohen. Besides being a pianist, Harrison teaches and composes and arranges for bigband.

Casper Van De Velde
Drummer Casper Van De Velde (°1995, BE) graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp in 2017 where he studied with Teun Verbruggen, Stéphane Galland and Dré Pallemaerts. He won the Storm! Contest both in 2015 with his duo SCHTNZL and again in 2017 with Donder. In 2016 he was awarded the prize for best instrumentalist at the Tremplin Jazz Contest in Avignon. Casper is also active in bands like Bombataz and An Pierlé Quartet and is involved in theater projects.

Stan Callewaert
Bassist Stan Callewaert (°1995, BE) moved to Denmark in 2016 to obtain a master’s degree in Music Performance at the RMC. In 2017 he also completed his masters at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp where he studied with Nicolas Thys and Brice Soniano. Besides Donder, Stan is actively involved in the Copenhagen-based trio Lawaai and has been working on a solo double bass album. He has shared the stage with artists like Randy Peterson, Kresten Osgood and Warren Smith and can be recognized by his rather unconventional, textural approach to the double bass.

Pictures by Pull & Over photographs ©

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