Flamenco guitar without ruffled shirts, Franz Schubert next to a club remix, and Goethe in arabesque melismas, as well as a cover that downright evokes the comparison with Beatles Sgt. Pepper. Who does such a thing, in a time of smoothed surfaces?
Two Franco-born guitarists are exploring new ways of the flamenco guitar and are bringing them successfully on the stages of the Republic for years as Café del Mundo. The one, Jan Pascal, comes from classical music, the other, Alexander Kilian is not only a jazz guitarist, but has also learned the Panduri from Georgian master Zaza Miminoshvili and is also hailed in Georgia during performances with this three-stringed lute. For both of them, the European idea is not a political theory, but the heart project and lived reality of a young generation.
That they dedicate their new album to this idea and call it “Beloved Europe” has resulted in their travels. At a music festival on the Greek refugee island of Samos the parallels to the ancient myth of the “abduction of Europe” came to their mind: “Europe is in danger, even today,” says Jan Pascal. “You just have to replace the bull with potentates, protectionism and nationalism. We all have existential fears in us, but the question has to be how we handle them. To be guided by our fears or by art. The art of loving. The love of art. “For Pascal and Kilian no question. They seek the connection in the music. For four years they unceremoniously gathered what they needed for “Beloved Europe”. Intuitive, curious, open to chance encounters and influences.
Thus, the most diverse European influences flow together on the album. Starting with Goethe’s “Erlkönig” and his large-format setting by Franz Schubert, which here becomes a “melting pot” with the first flamenco version of this piece: Henryk Böhm sings the classic melody in duet with the flamenco singer Rosario la Tremendita, whose melismas gives the mystical Erlkönig an even more mysterious expression, fueled by the dynamics of flamenco’s typical percussive and rhythmically waving guitars. A similar metamorphosis takes place ” Oh Haupt voll Blut und Wunden” from the “Lustgarten neuer teutscher Gesäng”: this potential hit of the Franconian composer Hans Leo Hassler from 1601 gets an Iberian feeling too – and remains at the same time a tribute by the two native Franks Jan Pascal and Alexander Kilian to their old home.
The Polish tango hit “Ostatnia Niedziela” by Jerzy Peterburski came to them on a silver plate on a concert tour through Poland. The melancholic, suspenseful love song is also intended as a contribution to overcoming the prejudices between Germans and Poles that they were confronted with. The floating composition “Spread Your Wings” came to live in Tuscany and has the light and the air of “Arcadia” written all over it.
Two of Astor Piazzolla’s most famous Tango Nuevos, “Oblivion” and “Libertango”, have found their way onto “Beloved Europa”: Although Tango is Argentina’s national music so to speak, its roots are in Europe: in the flamenco, the grandparents of Piazzolla brought with them as European emigrants. Café del Mundo shows this connection again with “Una Escalera De Vidrio” – the second flamenco tango, which Rosario la Tremendita, nominated for the Latin Grammy, sings on “Beloved Europa” – by the way as the first German-Spanish Collaboration of the flamenco star.
It is an optimistic, a serene and profound picture that Jan Pascal and Alexander Kilian draw with their crossover. Their outstanding virtuosity is never in the foreground, it is always about the touching melodies and rousing rhythms. In this way, an accessible, a young and modern Europe will meet you musically. The two remixes of “Dance of Joy” and the title track, developed together with the electronic art artist Andi S., conclude the album and carry the World Flamenco from Café del Mundo to the dance floors of the clubs. What makes “Beloved Europe” not only a statement against cultural incest and neo-nationalist, anti-European ideologies, but also a counterpart to the soulless, industrial music from the drawing board, which dominates the “market”. If you are looking for artistic individuality, authenticity and creative potential inspired by an idea, you will find it with Café del Mundos “Beloved Europa”.