- Category: PA 2011
Jaap Blonk is a self-taught composer, performer and poet, unique for his powerful stage presence and almost childlike freedom in improvisation, combined with a keen grasp of structure.
Blonk went to university for mathematics and musicology but did not finish those studies. In the late 1970s he took up saxophone and started to compose music. A few years later he discovered his potential as a vocal performer, at first in reciting poetry and later on in improvisations and his own compositions. For almost two decades the voice was his main means for the discovery and development of new sounds. He took a year off from performing in 2006 and, with renewed interest in mathematics, began researching the possibilities of algorithmic composition for the creation of music, visual animation and poetry.
Blonk has performed in many European countries, as well as in the U.S. and Canada, Indonesia, Japan, South Africa and Latin America. With the use of live electronics, the scope and range of his concerts has acquired a considerable extension.
Besides working as a soloist, Blonk has also collaborated with many musicians and ensembles in the field of contemporary and improvised music, such as Maja Ratkje, Mats Gustafsson, Nicolas Collins, Joan La Barbara, The Ex, the Netherlands Wind Ensemble and the Ebony Band. His work for radio and television includes several commissioned radio plays and he also makes larger-scale drawings of his scores, which are being exhibited.
Blonk was also the founder and leader of the long-standing bands Splinks (modern jazz, 1983-1999) and Braaxtaal (avant-rock, 1987-2005). He has his own record label, Kontrans, featuring a total of 15 releases so far. His other recordings appeared on Staalplaat, Basta and VICTO.
Of his poetry, Bofelo states, “I write under no commission. I write not merely to reflect the world as it is or ought to be. I also write the world as it exists in my dreams and nightmares, fantasies and fears.”