Alvaret Ensemble and FEAN on French label LAAPS Records

Alvaret Ensemble and FEAN on French label LAAPS Records

In January 2020 the French label Eilean Records (which has released the album Ljerke in 2018 will make a step towards a larger scale and wider international attention under a new name: LAAPS Records. The first two releases on this label include the Frisian poetry of Jan Kleefstra, member of RIXT- Frisian poets pack.

In January 2020 the much anticipated third release by the Alvaret Ensemble, called ‘Ea’, will come out on double vinyl and cd. For this record The Alvaret Ensemble consists of Greg Haines, Olga Wojchiekowska, Joana Guerra, Sytze Pruiksma and the brothers Romke and Jan Kleefstra. This album was recorded in the Dorpskerk church in Huizum, Leeuwarden. The release will be accompanied by a transcript of the included Frisian poems with English translations provided by Vivien D. Glass.

In February 2020 the second album from the project FEAN, called ‘FEAN II’, will be released on vinyl and cd. Last year their first album was released by the Amsterdam based label Moving Furniture Records. After a few successful concerts, amongst others on Explore the North, the French label got interested in releasing work by the FEAN project as well. FEAN II will be accompanied by the Frisian poems and English translations as well. FEAN is a project consisting of the collective Piiptsjilling (Rutger Zuydervelt, Mariska Baars and the brothers Romke and Jan Kleefstra) and Sylvain Chaveau, Annelies Monsere and Joachim Badenhorst and deals with the soil subsidence of the peatlands used for agriculture in Fryslân. The music was recorded in the Church of St Thomas in Katlijk. Omrop Fryslân made a two-piece documentary about this issue in which FEAN functioned as a continuous thread throughout the documentary.

FEAN and the Alvaret Ensemble are both supported by the Popfabryk.

Both releases will be available all over the world, but also through the bandcamp of the Kleefstra brothers, on which previous work by the Alvaret Ensemble and much more is still available. Take a gander at: Physical cd’s of the first FEAN album are no longer available, but you can still buy it digitally.

You can find a new piece of the Alvaret Ensemble, TEQ, here

And a poem by Jan Kleefstra from the record ‘Ea’ (Alvaret Ensemble, 2020 LAAPS records).

After falling from the sky you humbly
place a chair where no one dares to sit

and spill some milk before an insane eye

fist grasping grass
eyes out to sea

no star will lie beside you
no shimmering back carry you to
the ancient peace

don’t put your foot where there is no support

don’t waste a life on a drifting tribe

Ljouwert/Leeuwarden designated City of Literature

Photo: Geart Tigchelaar

At the end of October Ljouwert/Leeuwarden, the Frisian capital and European Capital of Culture in 2018, was designated City of Literature by UNESCO. Leeuwarden is the second Dutch city, after Utrecht, that joins the group of worldwide Cities of Literature.

The project of Cities of Literature started in 2004, with Edinburgh being the first City of Literature. Since then the network has grown, in collaboration with the larger UNESCO Creative Cities Network, to include around 30 cities. Other cities in the network are Ljubljana, Prague, and Melbourne, amongst others.

The UNESCO jury had the following to say about the bid book of Leeuwarden: “The bid-book gave a glimpse of great ambitions. Creative and substantively strong.”

With access to the network, it is hoped that the Frisian literary network can be expanded. That Leeuwarden has been named is a reward of the ambitions of both Leeuwarden and Friesland to keep literature and culture high up on the list of priorities for the city.

Talented Frisian writers and artists will be challenged to contribute to literary projects in Leeuwarden. With the Frisian language, being the second official language in the Netherlands, and the multilingual atmosphere in Leeuwarden, the city together with the province of Friesland will mobilise its literary and artistic heritage and potential, and showcase them in innovative ways on the local, regional and international level.

RIXT is very pleased that Leeuwarden has received this title, since our poets pack wants to reach beyond the Frisian borders and intends to invite poets from other regions and countries to stay here for a while and cooperate with Frisian poets.

Performance Frisian poet Nyk de Vries in Lithuania

Photo: Maarten van der Kamp

In October 2019, the Frisian poet Nyk de Vries will perform at the poetry festival ‘Druskininkai Poetic Fall’ in Lithuania. The festival invited De Vries (who lives in Amsterdam) in the context of Versopolis, a European project around promising European poets. At the inivitation of the Poetry Center in Gent, De Vries was added to the project In the beginning of this year. Together with the Dutch poets Maarten van der Graaff, Maria Barnas en Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer. Each Versopolis partner selects a few poets, who subsequently can be invited by other European literary festivals.

It will not be Nyk de Vries his first performance in Lithuania. He was there before in 1992, as a musician with his band The Amp. One of his performances was broadcasted then by the national Lithuanian television station.

Elmar Kuiper selected for Transpoesie in Bruxelles

A jury of the Frisian Writers Association has chosen RIXT-poet Elmar Kuiper to represent the Frisian language at the ninth edition of Transpoesie, an European poetry festival in Bruxelles. Kuiper will perform on September 16, at the Day of the Languages, one of the events organized by the festival in the period September-October. The annual festival is organized by the EUNIC, the network of European Union National Institutes for Culture.

Elmar Kuiper was selected by the Frisian jury because of his poem Myn lân (‘My land’). Last year Janneke Spoelstra, also connected to RIXT, was the first poet to represent Friesland in Bruxelles.

RIXT-poets at the exhibition Tabula Rasa / Skjin Laai

Edwin de Groot, André Looijenga

Tabula Rasa (‘Skjin Laai’ in Frisian) was an exhibition in the Cultural Capital year 2018. It was organized by Tresoar, the center of Frisian history and literature, together with art galery Schoots en Van Duyse (Antwerp). In the old mayor’s house of the Frisian village Beetstersweach, visual artists and poets imagined and expressed the theme of creative emptiness.

Almost twenty RIXT poets participated in the project. Art objects and poems were exhibited together and in close connection, which lead in some cases to surprising relations.

Grytsje Schaaf: Heintiid, koartlyn, krekt, Wrine, spriede, tekken, Diiskâld, skrousk, klomsk. Material: steel.

In the catalogue of the exhibition, all the poems were included tri-lingual: Frisian, English, and Dutch.

The participating artists/poets were: Armando, Willem Abma, Harmen Abma, Pieteke de Boer, Bernard Aubertin, Edwin de Groot, Sies Bleeker, Tsjisse Hettema, Bram Bogart, Eeltsje Hettinga, Marije Bouman, Hein Jaap Hilarides, Jan Henderikse, Simen de Jong, Maaike Hogerhuis, Jan Kleefstra, Elmar Kuiper, Anke Kuypers, Rein de Lange, Jan Maaskant, Bartle Laverman, André Looijenga, Albert Oost,  Zoltin Peeter, Aggie van der Meer, Grytsje Schaaf, Henk Nijp, Baukje Scheppink, Marije Roorda, Jan Schoonhoven, Geart Tigchelaar, Kaneli & Smit, Jetze de Vries, Syds Wiersma.

Grytsje Schaaf, Hein Jaap Hilarides, and Syds Wiersma

The exhibition took place from October 14 – December 16, 2018.

You can read here the poem written by Marije Roorda. It was inspired by Mark Rothko’s work.

Nothing bound

It takes more than emptying out
this room, painting the walls white
and binding the empty room to secrecy
to bring emptiness home to me.
Only then do I stray towards
a deeper nothing where deafness
settles in a word and an image
becomes intoxicated as I stare
at the black of Rothko,
walk anxiously into a field of darkness
which speechlessly
unfolds the inscrutable.

Nei it neat

It freget mear as dizze keamer
leech te heljen, muorren te wytsjen
en lis de keale romte in swijplicht op
sadat in leechte yn my trochkringt.
Earst dan dwaal ik ôf nei
in djipper neat dêr’t dôvens
delstrykt yn in wurd en rekket
in byld bedwelme as ik nei
it swart fan Rothko stoarje,
mei huver syn donker fjild ynrin
dat sprakeleas
it ûnbestimde iepenteart.

© Marije Roorda
English translation: Trevor Scarse

Photo’s: Geart Tigchelaar