Press Release: Program for mœrs festival 2018 Revealed

mœrs festival has been driven by a new vision since its 2017 edition. “We are going to deepen what we started last year,” stated artistic director Tim Isfort, adding: “Our golden thread is playing with the unexpected in the program, which is entirely in line with good old Moers tradition.” The unexpected and as yet unheard are represented for instance by the projects from the “MœrsLab”: configurations of musicians that are assembled especially for the festival, who will conduct final rehearsals in the week before Whitsuntide weekend and finally celebrate world premieres in Moers. This year there are three such encounters planned: the Marimba-Madimba Conference, Siddi Traces and Focus Pyongyang.

In the scope of the Marimba-Madimba Conference, marimba players from different continents will meet one another. Three Western percussionists and musical adventurers, Bernd Oezsevim, Maria Schneider and Daniel Eichholz, will encounter three Central African madimba players. In the MœrsLab, an energetic mixture will arise from the collision of music cultures. This intercultural “conference” will create a web of constantly shifting sonic enmeshments, with which protagonists such as Eugene S. Robinson (Oxbow) and Maja Osojnik (Rdeča Raketa) will interact in spoken word poetry improvisations.

A second exclusive Moers expedition is “Siddi Traces”. Discovering isolated music cultures or cultural islands is unexpected in the era of YouTube. The ethnic group of the Siddi lives in the border areas between Pakistan and India. Their ancestors were shipped from East Africa to India roughly 250 to 300 years ago. The approximately 30,000 individuals of the group have preserved their cultural identity until today through music and dance. In Moers, Siddi musicians will encounter three Indian musicians, Sourendro Mullick (piano), Soumyojit Das (vocals) and Biswajit Roy (tabla). Together with sound artist Achim Zepezauer, a unique musical exchange will occur in the scope of the MœrsLab.

In North Korea, music is a state affair. Disciplined and well-trained musicians maintain the old treasure of North Korean culture, which displays surprising parallels to Western music cultures. With Focus Pyongyang, the original culture from the “Land of the Dawn” will be presented in its musical beauty beyond the world of political tensions and resound in a new context in dialogue with international musicians.

Also among the other special projects this year is a meeting of innovative Danish band Efterklang with the Belgian musicians’ collective B.O.X (Baroque Orchestration X), which brings the instruments and music of the Baroque into a creative crossover with musicians of the indie scene.

Peter Brötzmann can rightfully be called an impulse giver and intellectual father of mœrs festival since its very first days. Brötzmann will appear on stage in Moers in several different configurations. He will perform with long-time duo-partner Heather Leigh, play a solo concert, have something to say not only on the saxophone as a participant in a discussion! round and meet the experimental band Oxbow on the main festival stage in an exclusive Moers production.

Major avant-garde jazz protagonists such as Ralph Alessi (This Against That feat. Ravi Coltrane) and Rob Mazurek (Chicago/ London Underground) will also be featured this year in Moers, as well as a high-calibre production of the WDR Big Band with Peter Erskine under the direction of Vince Mendoza.


For the past 11 years, with the support of Kunststiftung NRW the city of Moers has appointed an annually alternating improviser in residence, who also traditionally performs at the festival. For her project, 2018’s improviser Josephine Bode has invited American pianist Ethan Iverson, who played at 2017’s mœrs festival with his trio The Bad Plus. With an arsenal of recorders of various sizes and tunings, Josephine Bode and fellow recorder player Dodó Kis will enter into a musical dialogue with Ethan Iverson’s piano featuring rarely heard timbres.


In addition to Ethan Iverson, festivalgoers will also be able to see further artists from last year’s program: for instance, Nate Wooley, who played in Moers with Ingrid Laubrock in 2017, will be appearing with his large-scale project Seven Storey Mountain. Percussionist Huguette Huguembo, who appeared on stage in 2017 with Radio Kinshasa, will come to Moers from the Congo. The duo Talibam!, which was represented with several projects in 2017 at various locations, is coming to the festival hall stage and to the city as “artist in resistance” in 2018. A further act making a political statement is the US-American group Irreversible Entanglements, which treats issues of black identity, feminism and police violence.


Moers is also time and again the place for colourful birds and outsiders breaking out of the musical mainstream. This year for instance these include Richard Dawson with his archaic and free interpretation of folk, the Brazilian independent band Quartabé, the project Mikrosaivo, for which Tom Liwa sings in the made-up language of Halverstek, and Frank Fairfield & Meredith Axelrod, who resurrect a bygone American era with ragtime and murder ballads.

The mœrs sessions, extended last year, will find their way this year into the main program in part, with one of the sessions taking place in the festival hall. The discussions series will also be expanded. Here we want to trace the question of what Moers is actually about. Is it about music? A movement? Free jazz? Camping wherever you want? Or is this “Moers” perhaps just a good location? We have invited high-calibre participants for this discussion – journalists, artists, philosophers, individuals of culture and spirits of the age.

This year there will once again be events at many further venues in the Moers city centre: in churches, school auditoriums, clubs and bars, acts from the main program will perform and a selection of (at times free) concerts will also be on offer.

And last but not least we are hoping for good weather for the Whitsuntide weekend and encourage festival attendees to pack their swimming stuff, as there will also be a concert in the swimming pool next to the festival hall, which will be amplified through underwater loudspeakers.

This year, a live stream from the festival hall will also be made possible by arte, WDR Television and the Academy of Media Arts Cologne (KHM); the recordings will be available in arte’s online archive for six months.

Further information, photos and links as well as tickets can all be found at:


Press contact mœrs festival: Eva Marxen,

Festival Office: Ostring 9, 47441 Moers, Tel: +49 (0)2841 367 367 5, Cell: +49 (0)177 689 39 14