Sleepless Moon

Mond & Turm

"...brings together old and new music..."

"...builds cultural bridges between orient and occident..."

"...between Africa & Europe..."

The Musicians

Ludger Schmidt Ludger Schmidt: Violoncello, E-Cello, Looping

born 1958 in Büren/Westf. Inspired by the '70s Free-Jazz era, the Rock'n'Roll scene Bochum and the avantgarde musician and composer Pervez Mirza, Ludger Schmidt has been studying and playing contemporary and improvised music for more than 40 years. Due to his education at the music academy Dortmund and his private studies with Frieder Lenz (longtime assistant of Paul Tortelier) and Frieder Obstfeld (formerly Cherubini Quartet), as well as his collaboration with many music ensembles in the areas of jazz, classical and modern music, he is skilled in using his instrument with exceeding flexibility for a wide variety of musical projects: music in connection with performing Arts, with literature, with dance. CD and Radio recordings with i.a. Eckard Koltermann, Barre Phillips, Lauren Newton, Paul Lovens, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Willem van Maanen, Butch Morris, Theo Jörgensmann, Petras Vyshniauskas, Mischa Mengelberg, the Transorient Orchestra, the ensemble DRAj and Ruhr area avantgarde Big-Band The Dorf.

Hans-Joachim Hessler Hans-Joachim Hessler: Church Organ, Piano, Sampling

born in Recklinghausen, studied Musicology (WWU Münster), Music and German Philology (University of Dortmund); doctorate in Graz (University for music and performing arts). He received his artistic training at the piano i.a. with Prof. Werner Seiss and Bob Degen, at the organ with Karl Weyers, Thomas Gabriel and others. A very characteristic element of Hesslers compositions are structural fractures, being inspired by the music of Charles Mingus, Frank Zappa and John Zorn. Hessler extends this concept of musical and temporal-historical discontinuity, connecting it to the traditional European music having been composed between antiquity and 21st century.

Birdy Steppuhn Birdy Steppuhn: Drums & Percussions

In the 1980s the auratic drummer Birdy Steppuhn autodidactically learned to play all sorts of percussion instruments. 1989 he and Peter Goden founded the ensemble "R.L.Madison", which has been taking its audience on a musical journey of discovery with every concert for almost 30 years now. Steppuhn (co-)organized Jazz concerts and festivals, was co-host of the jazz-oriented radio show "Soul Connection". Since 2011 he participated in the avantgarde ensemble "New Incident" and has been part of a number of African percussion ensembles, i.a. with Annan Odametey.

Africa & Europe
Two Continents and their Music

Auratic drummer Birdy Steppuhn, cello virtuoso Ludger Schmidt and versatile artist Dr. Hans-Joachim Hessler will unite the music of two continents as well as their most traditional instruments: While church organ and violoncello represent the traditional European music, a variety of percussion instruments evoke the sounds of Africa.

The connecting element is the flamenco, which is geographically and culturally situated on the border to Africa.

A few examples of the program:

The European polyphonic music with its long tradition from the Middle Ages to today is one of the essential pillars of the expressive diversity of the trio. As an example, here is an excerpt from the first movement of the sonata in A minor for violoncello and basso continuo (RV43) by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741):

Sound Sample 1: Vivaldi (Beginning)

The chorale "O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden" ("O Sacred Head, Now Wounded") is set in the mode of flamenco. Passion is the theme of flamenco as well as the chorale: Even the german word "Leidenschaft" includes the "suffering" ("leiden") itself. The English and French word "Passion" carries both meanings as well. The trio takes the melody of the chorale as source for a new composition called "La Transformation de la Passion" ("The Transformation of Passion") and composes the experience of existence itself: Music drawing from thoughts on the Big Bang to the transcendence of death.

Sound Sample 2: La Transformation de la Passion (Excerpt)

The "Log Drum", a traditional West African instrument, characterizes the composition "The Search" by Birdy Steppuhn. An entrancing rhythm and pentatonic melody cause the music of this cultural area to have a very specific and special effect on the audience. Originally, these instruments served to communicate over long distances, e.g. at a river or across a valley. Sleepless Moon expands this communication across the strait of Gibraltar, connecting two continents musically by letting the African instrument interact with the characteristic European instruments cello and organ:

Sound Sample 3: The Search (Excerpt)