graindelavoix / Björn Schmelzer

graindelavoix is a Belgian vocal ensemble and artist collective founded in 1999 by Björn Schmelzer. Schmelzer brings together singers and musicians who are ready to experiment in the realm between performance and creation. Graindelavoix is fascinated by excentric voices whose qualities move beyond the world of communication, that no longer make a statement but are the pure expression of their origins: the grainy, the intense, the instinctual. The combination of notation and what escapes it another main reason for graindelavoix’s interest in early music: the higher awareness and ability that the performer brings to the piece (ornamentation, improvisation, gestures). The material includes Franco-Flemish polyphony, the art of the lament, and machicotage (French ornamentation of Gregorian chant) and other lost styles of ornamentation as well as a Mediterranean performance traditions, dynamics from late scholasticism, and much more. graindelavoix’s performances (concerts and music theater productions) are the result of an extensive process of work and research. 

Björn Schmelzer, born in 1975 in Antwerp, Belgium, is an ethnomusicologist and anthropologist. He combines both interests in his academic and artistic activity, which focuses primarily on the style and function of ornamentation in Mediterranean and Western music from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and the Baroque. For his work with graindelavoix, Schmelzer was named “Musician of the Year” in 2009 by the Belgian Music Press Association. Schmelzer regularly publishes essays, and is currently working with graindelavoix on a new piece that explores the dynamics and intensity of late Gothic music.

In 2011 Björn Schmelzer and graindelavoix collaborated with Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and her Rosas dance company and created CESENA, an Avignon festival premiere and worldwide tour. End 2012 the first part of a trilogy around The Portfolio of Villard de Honnecourt was released. In 2013 graindelavoix is working on a recording of the Messe de Nostre Dame by Guillaume de Machaut and the songs of Hendrik Van Veldeke.

Since 2010 graindelavoix is structurally supported by the Flemish government. Their CDs are released exclusively by Glossamusic and have all received prominent international prizes.