Tonight I'm happy to announce my interview with Jaap Blonk, dutch sound poet, composer and performer. Hearing Jaap Blonk for the first time can be an ear-opening experience, he twists and bends languages in somehow engagingly disturbing ways. As a vocalist, Jaap Blonk is unique for his powerful stage presence and almost childlike freedom in improvisation, combined with a keen grasp of structure. He has performed around the world, on all continents and still does. A concert of Blonk falls under the rubric of Performance Art, as he shows remarkable stage presence.
"Using original poetry as well as the words of others, Blonk clicks, blurts, and snaps his voice, creating unusual sounds and noises, mimicking nature and often injecting offbeat humor. While his performances sometimes offend, and they are not easily categorized, they nonetheless reflect considerable creativity and often contain large amounts of improvisation." (AllMusic.com)
"He studied physics, mathematics, and musicology for a time, but did not complete his studies. One of his early influences was Kurt Schwitters, whose Ursonate he first heard in 1979; he memorized the entire work, and it became one of the cornerstones of his repertory; he has recited portions of the piece hundreds of times in various public places." (Wikipedia)
He works as a solo vocalist and electronic instrument performer, in collaboration with avant-garde musicians such as John Tchicai, Tristan Honsinger, Mats Gustafsson, Maja Ratkje, Joan La Barbara, The Ex, Tomomi Adacki, Damon Smith, Michael Zerang and with his own ensembles Splinks and BRAAXTAAL. In the 80s he was booked as an opener for the punk rock band The Stranglers.
I had the huge pleasure to meet Jaap Blonk during a private workshop he gave to The Groningen Vocal Exploration Choir, created and hosted by Chris Tonelli, end of November 2018.
Please enjoy the complete interview, in two parts!
Many thanks to Jaap Blonk and Chris Tonelli!
Extra special thanks to The Groningen Vocal Exploration Choir, featuring very special performers such as Haim Umlaal, Hinke Ann Eleveld, Victor Streleţ, Iulia Aionesi, Tınke Van Buijtene, Annegreet Bos, Cristian Menumortu, Massimo Renna and Taeke Overdijk, just to name some of the very amazing members.
Cover picture source: Studio FilmLOVE for Cricoteka (2014).