"La Follia - the Triumph of Folly"

Hundreds of composers have dared with relish to approach the vicinity of the Follia - there is hardly a famous name that has not signed at least one Follia. It‘s a constant temptation, an addiction: each new variations should - in the truest sense of the word - be crazier than the previous one. The list of Follia compositions, which extends from the baroque to contemporary pop and rock music is indeed long and impressive.

These are, once again, lots of good reasons for the ensemble Oni Wytars to trace an unbroken tradition in order to adorn it with new facets and sounds, to present it with a fresh look, thus introducing to the audience the constantly self-reinventing world of „La Follia.“
An impressive selection of exotic, ancient instruments such as baroque hurdy-gurdy, nyckelharp, violino d‘amore, chitarra battente, double harp, polyphonic bagpipes, cornet, baroque oboe, harpsichord, organ, viola da gamba and various percussions come upon particular and unconventional vocals, which give life to sometimes absurd and strange texts from the Mediterranean Baroque.

"They enchanted with exotic instruments, brilliant singing, a fascinating multifacetedness and an exuberant joy of playing." Magdeburger Nachrichten

Ensemble Oni Wytars:
Belinda Sykes, Gabriella Aiello, Su Ehlers – voice
Peter Rabanser – voice, bagpipes, chitarra battente
Carlo Rizzo – tamburello
Riccardo Delfino – hurdy-gurdy, voice
Marco Ambrosini – nyckelharp
Jule Bauer – tenor nyckelharp, voice
Katharina Dustmann – percussion
Michael Behringer – organ
Michael Posch – recorders
Ian Harrison – bagpipes, cornet, voice
Jane Achtmann – viola da gamba
Giovanna Pessi – harp

[4 singers, 10 instrumentalists / reduced version: 2 singers, 5 instrumentalists]


Die Lieder aus Bendiktbeuren

Called the "songs from Benediktbeuren" the "Carmina Burana" is one of the most representative monuments of medieval poetry and music. The manuscript deals, divided into four parts, with some of the most important subjects of medieval lyric: piety, war, morality and Saturnalian orgy.

A project in collaboration with UNICORN Ensemble / Vienna.

[Ensemble Oni Wytars & Unicorn Ensemble: 2 singers, 7 instrumentalists]

...simply enjoy... (Saale Zeitung)

audio-sample: "Fas et nefas"


a journey to the Greek Byzantine roots of southern Italy

The tradition of blind singers like once Homer and Demodocus has roots that go back a long way, right up to the time of the so-called "seeing singers", a kind of shamans. In many Greek myths, the blindness of the singers and the soothsayers is interpreted as a gift of the gods or nature. The poet, like an oracle, being blind for the "earthly" things, is able to see into the "other" world.
A considerable part of the music and poetry of southern Italy has Its roots in the Greek past of the southern end of the Italian peninsula Over the centuries, ancient Greek culture has mixed with southern Italian traditions and so resulted in a multiculturality, which uniquely combines the Byzantine world with the Romanesque.

Ensemble Oni Wytars, together with exceptional musicians from the Mediterranean, heads off for a trip through an island world of archaic sounds and amazing stories, in a nearly forgotten languages ??almost bygone traditions. From ancient hymns to the sun to passionate tarantellas, played on instruments that have survived thousands of years, up to today's traditional music all the way from the Aegean to the Ionian through in Tyrrhenian sea as far as Sardinia.

Ensemble Oni Wytars:
Belinda Sykes - voice
Peter Rabanser - voice, double flutes, gajda
Marco Ambrosini - nyckelharpa, rebec, jew's harp, tromba mollusca
Riccardo Delfino - harp
Efrén Lopez - oud
Carlo Rizzo - frame drums, tamburello, voice
Ross Daly - Cretan lyra, tarhu
Kelly Thoma - Cretan lyra
Michael Posch - recorders, reed flutes
Luigi Lai - launeddas
Katharina Dustmann - bendir, def, davul, zarb

[11 musicians / reduced version: 7 musicians]

audio-sample: "Nesci, nesci suli suli / Iglio, iglio guike sirma" [trad. Calabria / Creta]

ancient worlds of improvisation between orient and occident

“Ten thousand rivers flow into the sea, but the ocean never runs over...“
the waters of Nile and Tiber, the spring waters of Caukasus, Balkans and Pyrenees, the Alps and Atlas come together in the Mediterranean Sea. The romans called it “Mare nostrum“, “our sea“ but nevertheless it belongs to everyone. In the consciousness of ancient generations it used to be the actual center of the world where the trade roads crossed from north to south, from east to west and where the old continents Europe, Africa and Asia and their civilizations and religions met.

Ensemble Oni Wytars presents a new project with outstanding musicians from all around the Mediterranean Sea: “Mediterraneum“ – music from Byzantine and Ottoman times, Italian instrumental music of the Trecento and its traces in the traditional music of southern Italy and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Pilgrim songs from the Catalan 14th century Llibre vermell, wonderful poetry from the Andalusian school, Sephardic romances and what they became after the jewish diaspora in the 15th century in the Balkans and, finally, popular contemporary Arabic, Turkish and Greek sounds. Many of these traditions go back several centuries, Oni Wytars wants to build “sonic“ bridges to these distant worlds. The virtuoso improvising of the ensemble on this journey through the Mediterranean is much more than an immersion into a time when music got out of the rigid structures of the middle ages – they take us closer to Early Music listening to the musical freedom one can only read and hear between the lines of a score. It's a feeling out the sonic rooms between yesterday and today, between near and far – this mediterranean journey wants to model sounds and let run free imagination and feelings, open ears and hearts, it wants to evoke the colourfulness, fragrance and sounds of our “mare nostrum“.

Ensemble Oni Wytars:
Belinda Sykes - voice, duduk
Peter Rabanser - voice, lute, gajda, duduk
Marco Ambrosini - nyckelharpa, pochette
Katharina Dustmann - zarb, bendir, davul
Michael Posch - recorders, reed flutes
Riccardo Delfino - harp
Carlo Rizzo - tamburello, riqq, voice
Ross Daly - Cretan lyra, tarhu
Kelly Thoma - Cretan lyra
Luigi Lai - launeddas
Ian Harrison - cornet, shawm, gaita
Efrén López - oud, citola

[14 musicians / reduced version: 7 musicians]


A project in collaboration with: and

"Der fremde Blick" - (From Byzantium to Andalusia)
Medieval Christian, Jewish and Islamic Music and Poetry

This concert programme introduces in a most impressing way to the music and poetry of the three great mediterranean cultures:
Italian "laude" from the "Laudario di Cortona", songs and poetry of the Ottoman Derwish brotherhoods by the great and mystic Yunus Emre, Andalusian "Judeo-Sephardic Romances", Christian - Arabic music from Syria, the Marroccan "Andalusian School", and Catalan pilgrim music from the "Llibre vermell de Montserrat".

"...fabulous troughout!" (The Guardian/GB)

[8 musicians / reduced version: 7 musicians]
audio-sample: "Kyrie eleyson" [trad. Libanon]

"Stella Splendens"
Music on medieval pilgrimage roads
"Cantigas de Santa Maria", "Llibre Vermell de Montserrat", ...

Music on the medieval pilgrimage roads was certainly an extremely important part of daily life. Often the journey took months or years to complete, and one could shorten it with an entertaining conversation. This principle was also appropriated by the church who took popular folk songs and dances and underlayed them with sacred texts, so that the common people even dancing in churches and cathedrals would not lose the true faith. So happens that to this day on pilgrimage routes we still can hear tunes that have their roots in the late Middle Ages and were subsequently added to the traditional music.

This concert program presents itself as a journey, or rather as a musical pilgrimage through a medieval Europe full of legends, which was just about to set out in a new era of cultural diversity.

[7 musicians / reduced version: 5 musicians]
audio-sample: "Stella Splendens" [Llibre Vermell de Montserrat]

"Friedrich II - Stupor Mundi"
Music and poetry at the Staufer's court

Ensemble Oni Wytars & Karsten Wolfewicz

Frederic II: A German emperor grown up in Palermo. In 1198 he renounced to the German crown to become king of Sicily, and later king of Jerusalem. He was the last of the Staufer-dynasty, excommunicated twice by Pope Gregor IX, and an extremely controversal figure at his time. Until 1060 Sicily was for dominated by Islam for nearly two centuries. He succesfully made it a christian empire again conserving the courteous manners and language wich was Arabic.
This programme offers a rich assortment of music at a time of great changes in European culture. An encounter of medieval German songs and oriental rhythms, of the Italian Trecento -and sacred Sûfi-music.

Together with Karsten Wolfewicz, an eloquent and gifted speaker, the listener dives into the world of the Hohenstaufen emperor, called "wonder of the world" by his contemporaries. Wolfewicz is a passionate connoisseur of medieval literature and knows how to present in breathtaking ways the poetry by and about Frederick II - an homage to the "wonder of the world".

[K. Wolfewicz, 2 singers, 5 instrumentalists
reduced version: K. Wolfewicz, 2 singers, 4 instrumentalists]
audio-sample: "Friedrich fragt den Gelehrten Michael Scotus nach dem Wesen der Welt / Per troppo fede" [Codex Rossi]

"Domna pos vos"
The music of the Troubadours

The music and unique poetry of the great Occitan and Catalan Troubadours such as Jaufre Rudel, Beringuer de Palau and Giraut de Bornelh, a.o...

The Troubadours dedicated their poetry often to an unattainable lady of their heart, of noble blood like them. Princes and barons, even kings were among them, and were anxious to preserve the ideals of medieval chivalry.
Their songs treat in so-called sirventes often also political issues such as the conflict between northern and southern France.

A project in collaboration with UNICORN Ensemble / Vienna.

[Ensemble Oni Wytars & Unicorn Ensemble: 1 singer, 6 instrumentalists]

"Venite a laudare"
Passionate processional chants of Middle-Italy

They called themselves "Disciplinati di Gesù Cristo", "Confraternita di Santa Maria delle Laudi" or "Compagnia di Sancto Spirito", they roamed through the streets of Toscany and Umbria chanting their songs of praise to god, the holy virgin and all the saints. Saint Francis´ message had reached the hearts of the mostly simple people and so they started gathering in confraternities, the so called laudesi.
Italian melody, deriving from the tradition of Gregorean chant and folk-song approaches its maximal expression in the lauda. During the Middle Ages it was common to put religious lyrics into secular music and viceversa. The church as the client was trying to spread the religious contents, and the more popular melodies where used the better the message was passed on. A lauda had to arouse the minds of the simple people immediately. The songs where collected in song books called "Laudari", only two of them contain lyrics and music: the Codex 91 of the Etruscan Academy of Cortona and the Codex Magliabechiano BR 18 of the National Library of Florence.
An outstanding portrait of the amazing music of the "Laudesi - brotherhoods".

[2 singers, 5 instrumentalists / reduced version: 1 singer, 4 instrumentalists]
audio-sample: "Venite a laudare" [Laudario di Cortona]

"Gloria in cielo"
Music for Christmas

Songs and tunes telling the Christmas tale, from the 13th - 16th century, ancient and traditional.

[2 singers, 4 instrumentalists / reduced version: 1 singer, 3 instrumentalists]

"Canto novello"
Laude from late medieval Italiy

Ars Choralis Coeln & Ensemble Oni Wytars

Songs of spiritual, social and - most of all - musical renewal. A melting pot, a conglomerate of centuries-old Christian musical traditions and the rich folk-poetry, distinct, powerful and thrilling.
The two ensembles Ars Choralis Coeln an Oni Wytars have met especially for this project, in wich they put together the enchanting beauty of sonority and high-mettled instrumental virtuosity – to make revive a fascinatingly eclectic tableau of the vernacular religious music in Upper Italy during the 14th century.

[16 musicians]
audio-sample: "Gloria in cielo e pace in terra" [Laudario di Firenze]

"Cantar d'amore"
Mediterranean love songs from the Middle-ages and Renaissance

The inexhaustible treasure of love songs of the mediterranean musical heritage from the 13th to 16th century.
From medieval Iberic "Cantigas de Amigo" up to early baroque Italian "Villanelle" - ageless poetry...

[4 -7 musicians]

"Musica Antiqua Italica"
Il Paradiso della Musica - Saltarelli, Laude, Ricercare e Villanelle

Italy during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance has been the "musical wonderland" of Europe, a country where the most different (musical) traditions meet, rub against each other while something new and never been there can arise. On the one hand, the powerful Catholic Church with its important conservational function of oral and written tradition seemes to preserve the music, but at the same time she prevents the many upcoming innovations, and next to this, within the brotherhoods of "Laudesi" arises the first religious "folk music" in Europe.
The harmonic and polyphonic instrumental music evolves and is enhanced, as shown in the experiments of the" Ars Nova" and "Ars Subtilior", and at the same time the powerful influences of Arab culture, especially with their rhythmic and percussive elements spread from southern Italy slowly towards the Alps.

[4 -7 musicians]

"Crai, Crai Crai"
Music at the spanish court of Naples

Ensemble Oni Wytars & Pascale van Coppenolle [organ]

Three musical worlds met in the Spanish Kingdom of Naples in the 16th century: Neapolitan poets such as Giulio Cesare Cortese, who sometimes performed their Tarantelle, Villanelle, Frottole and Tammurriate even in down-town taverns, the spanish Villancicos by a.o. Diego Ortiz and finally the elaborate works of Netherlandish Maestros such as Giovanni de Macque at the royal court.
The tammurriata accompanied initially only by the tamburine and simple castanets, around 1500 evolves into the melodic, harmonised song called Villanella (=country maid) which climaxed in popularity during the heyday of Spanish rule in the Kingdom of Naples. Performed not only in noble academic circles in Naples and Rome, but also in the Neapolitan pubs, accompanied by "Colasciune, Tammorielle, Mandòle e Tiorbe “, the Villanella soon became a serious competitor to the Villancico which had been imported by the little-loved Spanish establishment.
From the 16th Century onwards Naples was also an international centre of keyboard music, ranking beside Venice and Rome. Two of the composers responsible for this were Giovanni Maria Trabaci and his teacher Giovanni de Macque, both composed some experimental works full of extravagant chromatisms and bold harmonies.

"with Ensemble Oni Wytars this mix of catchy melodies and elaborate instrumentals becomes an amusing journey" (MDR Figaro)

[2 singers, 7 instrumentalists / reduced version; 2 singers, 4 instrumentalists]
audio-sample: "Crai, crai, crai" [Velardiniello/ Cancionero de Palacio, 16th c.]

audio-sample: "Batalha de 6° tom" [anon, 17th c.]

"On the way to Bethlehem"
Music of the Medieval Pilgrim

Ensemble Oni Wytars & Unicorn Ensemble Vienna

A musical journey from England, the most western country and launching point of the first Crusade, through France, Germany, Croatia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey, as far east as Syria.
A selection of Eastern and Western sacred and secular music performed on classical and traditional instruments of the Arabic world and their European successors of the Middle Ages.

[Ensemble Oni Wytars & Unicorn Ensemble: 2 singers, 7 instrumentalists]
audio-sample: "Sei willekommen Herre Christ" [anon, 14th c.]

pictures of 1001 nights

A selected repertoire of vocal and instrumental music from the rich heritage of oriental music tradition.
Played on classical and traditional Turkish, Persian and Arabic instruments and their European descendants of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance this program takes the listener from compositions by Western masters of the late Middle Ages through the music of the Balkans, the spiritual Sûfi Music of Ottoman Empire to classical and traditional music of the Arab Mediterranean countries.
"1001 Nights" - and as many fairy tales, dreams and images that we associate with this myth. A fairytale story - pictures of a fascinating and strange world.

[5 -7 musicians (singers and instrumentalists)]


Live at "MusikTriennale Köln" and "Montalbâne" Festival 2007.
Excerpt from a TV-portrait by Jürgen Wilcke, WDR-Cologne/Germany.

"Die Rückkehr des Marco Polo"
Memories of a journey not yet done

composition by Marco Ambrosini & Katharina Dustmann

Marco Polo´s fantastic reports in ancient Italian language in his work "Il Milione", published for the first time in 1308 inspired to this Odysee following the traces of the first world-traveller.
The two composers are guiding us through a labyrinth of medieval music, Jazz and Oriental melisma. These elements once brought together, going beyond historical and geographic boundaries -tell a story - the myth of a marvellous dream.

"Internationally reknown musicians in the field of Early and Contemporary music appear as genuine multi-instrumentalists and multi-stylists. "(Frankfurter Allgemeine, D

[5 -7 musicians (singers and instrumentalists)]
audio-sample: "Assassini"

"Pretiosa Musicorum Exempla"
Music and talk (ca. 60 min.)

The origin and development of musical traditions and musical instruments of the past 1000 years.

In the course of pilgrimages and crusades during the middle ages, next to crusaders and pilgrims, also scholars and artists headed off to the barley unknown Orient and met there a world that they knew until then only from legends.
The music, in Christian Europe mainly reserved to the clergy enjoyed there as an art form of poetry the highest esteem. With the return of the pilgrims and crusaders from Orient also many musical instruments never seen or heard before were introduced to Europe. They evolved rapidly and soon became indispensable in Western music.

An extraordinary concert program, played on reproductions of antique oriental instruments and their Western successors of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. About 20 different musical instruments from East and West are explained and presented in musical examples. The audience will have the opportunity to discover the history of our Western musical culture, so as to rediscover so many roots of today's music.

[starting from 3 musicians]

"La Follia"
"Crai, Crai, Crai"
"Carmina Burana"
"Stella Splendens"
"Stupor Mundi"
"Venite a laudare"
"Gloria in cielo"
"Canto Novello"
"Cantar d'amore"
"Musica Antiqua Italica"
"The way to Bethlehem"
"Marco Polo"
"Pretiosa Musicorum"