Om de Oude Wereldzee (Around the Ancient World Sea) (2015)


This album is the soundtrack to the 8-episode IKON documentary series 'Om de Oude Wereldzee' (‘Around the Ancient World Sea’) based on the travels of Dutch politician Abraham Kuyper. In 1905 Kuyper traveled from the Balkan to Ukraine, Turkey, Egypt, Sudan, Palestine to North Africa, Spain, Italy and Greece. Rooted in the strict Christian world of the Dutch Reformed Church, Kuyper was nevertheless interested in a wide variety of religions around the Mediterranean. After his travels he wrote two large books about his experiences: ‘Around the Ancient World Sea’. In 2015 two Dutch documentary filmmakers, Hans Hermans and Martin Maat, stumbled across these books at a flea market and were struck by the political and religious relevance even in this day and age. They decided to travel in the footsteps of Abraham Kuyper and revisit the places he visited. This resulted in an intriguing documentary series comparing the situation of today with Kuypers experiences more than a century ago. BUY ALBUM

The documentary filmmakers asked bass player and composer Tony Overwater to write and record the music for this series. For the past two decades Tony Overwater has been extensively touring around the Middle East and has become a specialist in contemporary Arabic music. This combined with his jazz and classical music background made him the right person for the job.

He selected some of the finest musicians from Greece, Palestine, Germany and the Netherlands, each with a specialism in either, Balkan, Ottoman, Arabic, Greek or Western music.

Rosanne Philippens, classical violinist with a passion for gypsy music, Nizar Rohana, ud player from Palestine, Michalis Cholevas specialized in Ottoman music and player of the newly developed instrument the tarhu, Maarten Ornstein, clarinetist and jazz and Balkan music specialist, Rembrandt Frerichs pianist with jazz, classical and Arabic background and German percussionist Ruven Ruppik who studied classical percussion, flamenco and oriental percussion. This elite group of musicians recorded a timeless document of beautiful spherical music that has become an essential part of the documentary. Expressing into music what words can't describe.

The compositions form together a musical interpretation of the trip Abraham Kuyper made, with pure and hybrid shapes of the passionate Rumanian gypsy music and the music of Middle East, North Africa, Andalusia, Italy and Greece. The combination of oriental instruments like the ud and riq with the harmonium, a typically Dutch Bible Belt instrument, and the 18th century fortepiano and 17th century violone creates a unique palette of sounds never heard before.

Rosanne Philippens - violin

Nizar Rohana - ud

Michalis Cholevas - tarhu

Maarten Ornstein - clarinet and bass clarinet

Rembrandt Frerichs - forte piano and harmonium

Tony Overwater - acoustic bass, violone and composition

Ruven Ruppik - percussion