12th February 2015
It is now a part of history, a reminisce of a time that now belongs to a past century, that QNTAL woke the music scene with the song ‘Ad Mortem Festinamus’. They joined medieval music from the 14th century with a modern age and dance music. QNTAL kept on using the historical instruments but also electronic sounds to give the songs a completely new interpretation.
Multi-instrumentalist Michael Popp and mezzo-soprano singer Sigrid “Syrah” Hausen are the founding members but they are now accompanied by the beautiful Sarah "Mariko" Newman that already supported the live shows for many years. Producer Leon Rodt also plays his role during the live shows. The year 2014 brought a completely new album called ‘Qntal VII’ that is traditionally the next number in the line of albums. It opens a new era for the band, stepping into more recent historical works from the 17th, 18th and 19th century. QNTAL even dares to enter the modern times but never loses the typical sound and feel of their songs. http://www.qntal.de / https://www.facebook.com/qntalmusic
Music & Performance
QNTAL is all about Syrah and Mariko. They both play a main role in the concert. Popp is someone who is always around, sometimes almost un-noted walking from instrument to instrument in-between songs. He is clearly taking his role as multi-instrumentalist seriously, almost always looking concentrated while playing his instruments. Syrah is clearly having a wonderful time on stage, smiling and talking a lot. And singing of course. She begins back on stage in the dark while Popp and Mariko make their appearance and start the music. But when she appears into the light all eyes are focused on her. Her voice sounds beautiful, clear and it is the beginning of an almost personal journey through the songs of the new album and older work as well. The first words of introduction after the opening track ‘Flaming Drake’ is spoken in Dutch. Not a studied piece of text, but it seems she knows how to speak the language.
The important role Mariko plays becomes obvious while concert is progressing and the moment has come for her to sing. Her voice is crisp and bright and Syrah got it right when she told us Mariko sounds like an angel. The only one who really stays in the back is Leon Rodt who is mentioned only once but remains out of the spotlight for the rest of the show. You could almost forget he is there, just like the drummer who is not even mentioned once. The skills of Popp as a musician becomes clear when he is using only glasses of water for an instrument. It is amazing how easy he producing the sounds from those daily objects. The song ‘Schnee’ is performed with such a delicacy that the audience is listening almost breathless and I find it the highlight of the concert. Unfortunately the set list does not include the songs ‘Levis’ and ‘Von den Elben’ from the album ‘Qntal V’ that I find truly amazing.
But instead we are treated with a lot of songs from the latest album, together with a small selection of older songs like ‘Palestinalied’, ‘Veni’, ‘Frühling’ and ‘Under den Linden’ during the encore. Of course ‘Ad Mortem Festinamus’ is also played during the encore. But just like I said earlier; that song almost feels like a reminisce of the past and QNTAL has grown far beyond that.
01. Flaming Drake
02. Tenacious Love
07. Swebende Wunne
09. In dem begyn
12. Schnee (extended version)
14. Under den Linden
15. Ad Mortem Festinamus
Total: 8 / 10
All pictures by Nando Harmsen (http://www.nandoonline.com)