FES was founded in 1998, when no-nonsense artist, former architect, clarinettist, saxophonist, keyboard player, composer and producer Peter Vermeersch, wanted to explore new horizons after having convinced music lovers all over the word with Maximalist! and the cult legend band X-legged Sally. Vermeersch, who worked with international artists like Josse De Pauw, Wim Vandekeybus, Vincent Bal, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Fred Frith, The Simpletones and Jazzwork from Berlin and wrote music for the Arditti Quartet, Prima La Musica and the Smith Quartet, assembled a pack of inspired and inimitable muscians, forming a big band which has nowadays become much more than just a big band.
The music of FES, varying from strictly written sheet music to liberating improvisation, is 95% homemade. Streaks of music of other composers are used as inspiration, frequently arranged, adapted and integrated into FES compositions, adding a wide range of atmospheres and styles to the eclectic FES universe. FES, who dares to flirt with other disciplines as theatre and film and owns the ability to seduce a number of different audiences, from more select jazz listeners to a wild young rock public, is at its best live on stage.
David Bovée was the first FES guitarist from 1999 till 2003. After four years he left the band to develop his own project "Think of One" (BBC Radio 3 World Music Award in 2004 and 2007). Whether they worked with throat singers from Greenland, Gnawa musicians from Morocco or Brazilian virtuosos, they achieved an exciting melting pot of music. David knows the Maracutu, Frevo, Ciranda and Coco music through and through.
World music was never really Vermeersch' thing, but when ‘Theater aan Zee’ (TAZ) invited both men to embark on a project with an ensemble of Gambian musicians in 2013, the experimental urge couldn’t be ignored. They traveled to The Gambia where they lived and worked with local musicians for several weeks.
They didn’t have to look hard for inspiration. In The Gambia, they saw the country leader Yahya Jammeh parading the streets of Banjul. The escort consisted of a number of hummers and majorettes, in uniform and with batons. As a proper dictator, he literally sprinkled money on the streets from one of the hummers open roof. The "Boggamasta" (a corruption of the Dutch word ‘burgemeester’, which means mayor) considered himself almighty, would rule for a billion years, and did not shy away from killing political opponents or prosecuting homosexuals.
It would be unfair to focus the Boggamasta story only on African countries or The Gambia; Boggamasta’s are everywhere, In politics, in crime, at the petanque club, in the music world, in the economy and let’s face it, also deep inside ourselves.
Bovée and Vermeersch went to work, wrote numbers and came up with raw and critical lyrics, instruments and cast were adapted: An exuberant repertoire, direct, energetic and frenzied music: feverish, delirious and groovy, and lots of electro!
FES will perform the Boggamasta project with David Bovée and songs from the Zappa tribute project ‘Terms of Embarrassment’.
David Bovée (electric guitar, vocals & electronics), Peter Vermeersch (bassclarinet, vocals & electronics), Pierre Vervloesem (electric bass), Kristof Roseeuw (double bass &violin), Peter Vandenberghe (keyboards & piano), Teun Verbruggen (drums & drumpads), Wim Segers (percussion), Berlinde Deman (tuba & vocals), Benjamin Boutreur (alto sax), Michel Mast (tenor sax), Bruno Vansina (baritone sax & flute), Bart Maris (trumpet), Thomas Mayade (trumpet), Peter Delannoye (trombone), Marc Meeuwissen (trombone), Marti Melià (tenor sax)