Count Till Zen

Reijseger Fraanje Sylla

“…an enormous evocative force…often starts with a sober, almost timid straightforwardness, but that suddenly can blossom with an emotional impact that is as frivolous as it is inexorable.”

“…very intimate impressions…with bright accents and slightly disruptive effects. Poetic exoticism and free sound experimentation form each other’s yin and yang. The richness is not only in the wonderful interplay, but also in the many details. “

After their successful first album Down Deep, Count Till Zen is the second album by trio Reijseger, Fraanje, Sylla. It’s again a completely acoustic album.

Singer Mola Sylla, cellist Ernst Reijseger and pianist Harmen Fraanje recorded with only one excellent surround microphone, the Josephson C700S. As a consequence, the balance between voice, 5-string cello and Steinway grand piano is solely the responsibility of the musicians.

Each musician contributes music for this trio. The shape of the pieces is designed by diving in and playing together. The mutual support for the collective sound makes it possible to stay in the moment. 
Whilst playing, they discover and invent what they can do with the material. It’s spontaneous arranging. They keep challenging themselves to play without a preconceived idea. The crystallised pieces have a more developed framework, but are still flexible and open for impulse. The individual members can’t fully explain how it is possible for pieces to fall into place that fluidly. It’s nurturing and motivates them to keep working together.

The song Perhaps tells about Mola Sylla’s homeland: of Dakar, of Senegal, of the men and women, adults and children, who leave their houses at sunrise, doing all they can not to come home empty-handed in the evening.

Bakou is an expression from Senegal. Why do you sell yourself (‘bakou’), why do you assume yourself important, why do you believe in being a hero? You come to this world with nothing, and you cannot take anything with you when you leave.

Falémé is the name of the river that forms the border between Senegal and Mali, the birthplace of Mola Sylla’s mother.

E Konkon – Reijseger introduced this piece to Mola Sylla, saying: “The rhythm should sound like the Cuban Wa-Wan-Co.” “Ah, we have that as well”, Sylla said. “With us it’s called E Konkon.”

Badola (very poor people) speaks of the exploitation of the people by politicians and their interests. Presents are given out to gain votes. After the election, these people and their misery sink again into oblivion.

Marco Zenini, who wrote the music, was a student of Harmen Fraanje at the Amsterdam Conservatory at the time of this recording. This piece was the result of an assignment given by Fraanje to his students. Fraanje loved the piece so much that he could not stop playing it. He asked Zenini if the trio could record it.

Debenti is a traditional text, an homage to the prophet Mohammed.

In Out of the Wilderness an imprisoned bird begs for his freedom: “Let me fly, free me from this cage and being fed. I want to take care of myself. That is freedom.”