Songs with Roots

Alan Lomax? Maybe this American folklorist and musicologist's name doesn't tell you much, but his legacy is worth its weight in gold. Last century, he devoted all his life to collecting songs, stories and cultural traditions from all over the world.

For Zonzo Compagnie, Lomax's archive is an inexhaustible source for projects under the heading Songs with Roots. The value of local folk music is priceless, as are the memories and rituals attached to it.

Spurred on by lutenist Jan Van Outryve, it started with Songs with Roots I, which conquered the world with Jan and singer Soetkin Baptist. Then the same happened with Songs with Roots II, which, this time with Aline Goffin, managed to enchant audiences with a simple, honest and moving concert. 

Both cycles yielded two beautiful CDs. The band that recorded them subsequently conquered the stages with effervescent concerts under the banner Songs with Roots XL.

Songs with Roots City

Songs with Roots also likes to nestle in a city, a neighbourhood or a village. Whereas Alan Lomax still had to travel to archive his songs, they have now ended up in many places with migration flows. There we go in search of songs and the stories of people with whom they travelled and then bring them back to sound in all their beauty.

In 2022, for instance, we landed in the Deutsche Oper am Rhein's mobile sound laboratory in Duisburg, in the middle of the multicoloured Bruckhausen district. For six weeks, this UFO was transformed into a vibrant, creative meeting place for all curious Duisburgers. 

Together with Concertgebouw Brugge, we went inside the homes of Zeebrugge residents in spring 2024 in search of special songs with a unique story. We looked into the homes and hearts of Zeebrugge residents and talked about their childhood and their musical memories. These songs and stories were transformed into a multimedia concert that was very close to the people and their stories.

Radio Lomax

To add extra strength to the project, in 2024 Zonzo Compagnie launched Radio Lomax. A band that, in various line-ups - from small and intimate, to grand and exuberant - carries on the Songs with Roots repertoire. Sometimes with songs from the Lomax archive, but often with songs simply found around your corner.