Commitment to social issues is no longer taboo. Not even in improvised music. Le Ravage d’Ali Baba is a project by De Koffie Van Morgen, a creative platform built up around the drummer and designer Simon Plancke. This new quartet from what we might call the ‘New Wave of Belgian Jazz’ calls our attention to the atrocious conditions in the refugee camps in Northern France and Brussels.
An artist's duty
Plancke, the project’s founder, is joined by Hendrik Lasure, Thijs Troch and Elias Devoldere, members of the new generation we know from exciting names like SCHNTZL, the An Pierlé Quartet, Kabas, Nordmann and Hypochristmutreefuzz. Their concerts aim to bring the stories of people in the camps closer to the audience, based on a sense of necessity aptly summed up by Nina Simone with the words: “You can’t help it. An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.”
Story as the focal point
The musicians visited the refugee camps in Dunkirk, Calais, Zeebrugge and Brussels together, creating a series of field recordings. The samples contain stories by people who have fled their homes, forming the basis for the music the musicians make. Keyboards, electronics and drums are the basic ingredients of a blend that takes on countless colours and forms. The story is always the focal point: within it, the makers connect their artistic ambitions to social concerns.