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Church Songs for the 21st Century - The Concerts
What is spiritual music to us, as contemporary - and mostly secular - improvising musicians?

What does it mean to us to sing and instantly compose in interaction with an architectural space that is made for connecting to 'something other/higher than ourselves?


From our research into singing in churches and the "Church Songs for the 21st Century" album spawned two very different (and very conncected) full-evening concerts in the Obrechtkerk Amsterdam in 2015 and 2016 resepectively.

For these concerts we broadened the spectrum of musical styles by inviting guest artists who brought their music and went into interaction with the Genetic Choir style of improvising.

Church Songs for the 21ste Century concert 2015

Obrechtkerk, 4 December 2015


Very special guests: Jacob Lekkerkerker on organ and the amazing Bulgarian Voices of the Pauni Trio. Furthermore, Cafuné (Brazilian), Çiğdem Okuyucu,(Turkish), Daphne Chlimintzas (Greek), Marianne Svasek (Dhrupad) Marije Nie (tap), Marieke Franssen and Mark Alban Lotz (flutes).

‘From writings of the Church fathers and other reports, it is unequivocally clear that the rites of worship of the early Christians were marked by a religious ecstasy that manifested itself in unhampered, purely emotional, spontaneous expression. From the earliest time onward there is copious documentary evidence of the extensive part played by improvisation throughout the development of all church music. In vocal music, improvising on all the intervals and internal combinations appearing in Gregorian chant was systematically practised by singers and choirboys. Later, instrumentally, there is evidence that musicians such as the 14th century blind organist Francesco Landini became well-known for their improvising abilities.’ (taken from Derek Bailey: Improvisation, its nature and practice in music (1992, p29)



Church Songs for the 21ste Century concert 2016

Obrechtkerk, 2 December 2016

We are doing it again!

On Friday, 2 December the Genetic Choir is giving, like last year, a new/old music concert in the beautiful Obrechtkerk, Amsterdam.

As ever, our focus is: What is spiritual music for us? How do we relate, as modern people and contemporary musicians, to ritual and to the significance of age-old spiritual music traditions?


13:30-17:30   afternoon of workshops, lectures, and discussions (in Dutch)
20:00-22:00   concert!

In the afternoon (13:30-17:30) we have organised – together with the Van der Leeuw Foundation – lectures, discussions and workshops on the relationship between improvisation and ritual. You can sing in small Genetic Choir workshops, listen to experts and create your own rituals. All are welcome to join us in exploring these themes. The afternoon closes with a shared meal for all participants.

In the evening (20:00-22:00) the Genetic Choir will give a full concert together with guest musicians hailing from a wide variety of spiritual traditions.

dsc_2067We have held preparatory sessions with each of these guest performers to deepen the work. The unique acoustics of the Obrechtkerk and our connection with their specific music both play an important role: “What moves us about the meeting with this musician, in the context of this church? What is our inspiration in the music that arises? And how do we invite our audience to share this encounter?”

The guest musicians/styles of the 2016 concert:

    Jacob Lekkerkerker (composer, improviser, organist)
    Obrechtkoor (Gregorian song)
    Cigdem Okuyucu (Turkish, Ottoman and Anatolian song)
    Irene Rametta (Macedonian, Georgian and Bulgarian song, overtone singing)
    Ilyas Nadjafi (Dari, Pashto, Urdo, and Sufi song)
    Igor Fernandes & Meike Aukes with a Capoeira Roda (traditional Brazilian fighting dance with its origins in the Candomblé religion)