Graindelavoix is an Antwerp based, multidisciplinary company with a fascination for the voice. Graindelavoix was founded in the early 21st century by anthropologist and ethnomusicologist Björn Schmelzer with public appearances following shortly thereafter. The first recording, Ockeghem’s Missa Caput, released in 2006 on the Glossa label immediately placed Graindelavoix on the international scene. Each new project begins with a concrete musical gesture, a repertoire or a work which envelops the complex layering of time and the operative aspects of practice. Schmelzer has developed with Graindelavoix a kind of affective musicology in action: every performance is an evocation and activation of the virtual forces and affects working in the surviving traces that serve as the starting point. A score, a notation or an inscription is an indistinguishable part of a moving musical image that is never independent but functions as a ‘dynamogram’. Graindelavoix tries to activate and embody the notation, an active reading in the medieval sense. The past is not a solid reality that we are separated from, instead it is a continuous set of underlays and countercurrents that undulate and live in our bodies: in ever changing times and geographical locations, new eruptions and collisions of time-tectonics occur. These symptoms form the base for the performers of Graindelavoix to explore how to push the audience to the point of constructing its own memory of meanings. The performers of Graindelavoix are drawn from different traditions with broad artistic backgrounds and expertise. During performance this heterogeneity is not polished away but carved even deeper.
Graindelavoix built a reputation as a pioneer of a completely new approach to old repertoires, beyond the museum or historically informed vision, with its bold and often controversial interpretations to which the many international collaborations, residencies, performances and CD awards will testify. Graindelavoix won the much-coveted Edison Award, three Klara Music Awards, the Caecilia Prize of the Belgian Music Press and several awards from international music magazines such as Classica Répertoire, Pizzicato and Scherzo.