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THE EX - “Forward in all directions!”

The Ex 2017

  • TERRIE HESSELS - guitar
  • ARNOLD DE BOER - vocals, guitar
  • ANDY MOOR - guitar
  • KATHERINA BORNEFELD - drums, vocals

The adventurous, innovative Dutch band The Ex exists 38 years this year and is still going strong. New projects, new songs and new adventures.

The Ex have defied categorisation ever since they started playing in 1979. Born out of the punk explosion, when anything and everything was possible, the band have still managed to retain both curiosity and passion for their music. Using guitars, bass, drums and voice as their starting point, The Ex have continued to musically explore undiscovered areas right up to the present day.

Already the early 1980s saw collaborations with jazz musicians and an Iraqi-Kurdish band. In the 90s the group found a myriad of partners from varied musical and non-musical backgrounds like Kamagurka, Tom Cora, Sonic Youth, Han Bennink, Jan Mulder and Shellac. In 2002 The Ex set up a lively musical exchange with Ethiopia, organised many projects over there and invited several Ethiopian musicians to Europe. Most striking was the collboration with the legendary saxophonist Getatchew Mekuria, which eventually led to two CD recordings and more than a hundred concerts.

The band also started organising the ‘Ex Festivals’, where they invited their favourite musicians. A mix of jazz improvisers, musicians from all over the world and local treasures they came across on tour. The last few years saw collaborations with Brass Unbound (Wolter Wierbos, Mats Gustafsson, Ken Vandermark and Roy Paci), Circus Debre Berhan and Fendika, both from Ethiopia, and many, many more.

After all these years, more than 25 albums and around 1900 concerts the band continues to work as they did in when they began, completely independent of record companies, managers or roadies. Because of this ‘do it yourself’ work ethic The Ex is still a great example for other forward-thinking bands and musicians.

“Staying a bird, staying independent, free if you will, for three decades, that takes skill and something else, something more like heart.”

Music journalist John Corbett on The Ex.

The Ex: CV

Founded in mid 1979. Ever since independent in their own management (Stichting Ex) and own record label (Ex Records).

To date around 1900 performances and some 25 albums.

Concerts in North America, Russia, Canada, Ethiopia, and nearly all of Europe.

Worked with a.o. Tom Cora (USA), Brader Musiki (Kurdistan), Lanaya (Mali), Jan Mulder, Kamagurka + Herr Seele (Belgium), Chumbawamba (England), Fugazi (USA), Sonic Youth (USA), Djibril Diabate (Mali) , Konono No. 1 (Congo), Mohammed Jimmy Mohammed (Ethiopia), Getatchew Mekuria (Ethiopia), Anne-James Chaton (France), Jaap Blonk, Instant Composers Pool, Han Bennink, Ab Baars, Wolter Wierbos, Theatergroep d'Electrique, Magpie Dance Company, Tortoise (USA), Tsehaytu Beraki (Eritrea), Mats Gustafsson (Sweden), Ken Vandermark (USA), Roy Paci (Italy).

Winner BV Popprijs 1991

Sub-labels: Unsounds (improvised music + modern composition), Terp (improvised music and African), Zea (grind-popmusic).

Special performances

  • 1980. Festival of Fools - Amsterdam
  • 1981. Anti Fascist Festival - Bologna, Italy
  • 1987. Carrot Festival - Warsaw, Poland
  • 1988. Carrot Festival - Budapest, Hungary
  • 1989. Dissonanten - Rotterdam (+ Guests)
  • 1990. Noorderslag - Groningen
  • 1991. October Meeting - Bimhuis, Amsterdam
  • 1992. Noorderslag - Groningen
  • 1992. Taktlos - Bern / Basel / Zurich, Switzerland (+ Tom Cora)
  • 1992. Quinzaine du Violoncelle - Montreal, Canada (+ Tom Cora)
  • 1993. Mimi - France (+ Tom Cora)
  • 1993. Konfrontationen - Nickelsdorf, Austria (+ Tom Cora)
  • 1993. STEIM Festival - Amsterdam (+ Tom Cora)
  • 1993. Musique Action - Nancy, France (+ Tom Cora)
  • 1994. Rock Vilnius - Vilnius, Lithuania
  • 1998. Musique Actuelle - Victoriaville, Canada
  • 1998. Jazz Festival - Moers, Germany (+ ICP)
  • 1998. Jazz à Mulhouse - Mulhouse, France
  • 1998. Lowlands - Flevopolder
  • 1999. Konfrontationen - Nickelsdorf, Austria
  • 2000. Holland Festival - Amsterdam
  • 2001. All Tomorrow's Parties - Hastings, England
  • 2001. Jazz à Mulhouse - Mulhouse, France (Ex Orkest)
  • 2001. Jazz Saalfelden - Saalfelden, Austria (Ex Orkest)
  • 2001. Eurotrialog - Mikulov, Czech Republic (Ex Orkest)
  • 2001. Unlimited XV - Wels, Austria
  • 2002. Taktlos - Basel / Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2002. All Tomorrow's Parties - Hastings, England
  • 2003. Musique Action - Nancy, France
  • 2003. Dour Festival - Dour, Belgium
  • 2003. Cinema Texas - Austin, USA
  • 2003. Unlimited XVII - Wels, Austria
  • 2004. Eurosonic - Groningen
  • 2004. Zuid Nederlands Jazz Festival - Eindhoven
  • 2004. Musique de Création - Jonquière, Canada
  • 2004. Musique Actuelle - Victoriaville, Canada
  • 2004. Zomer Jazz Fiets Tour - Groningen
  • 2005. Ear We Are - Biel, Switzerland
  • 2005. Cross Linx - Utrecht
  • 2005. SKIF Festival - St Petersburg, Russia
  • 2005. Printemps de Bourges - France
  • 2005. Jazz Festival Moers - Moers, Germany (+ ICP + Getatchew Mekuria)
  • 2005. Over Het Ij Festival - Amsterdam (+ d'Electrique)
  • 2005. Nuits Européennes - Strasbourg, France
  • 2006. Banlieues Bleues - Paris, France (+ Getatchew Mekuria + Guests)
  • 2006. Furia Sound - Cergy-Pontoise, France
  • 2006. Fusion Festival - Lärz, Germany
  • 2006. Roskilde Festival - Roskilde, Denmark
  • 2006. InMusic Festival - Zagreb, Croatia
  • 2006. Konfrontationen Festival - Nickelsdorf, Austria
  • 2006. NPAI Festival - Parthenay, France
  • 2006. 25 Years of Touch And Go Festival - Chicago, USA
  • 2006. Fête de l'Humanité - La Courneuve, France
  • 2006. Kosmopolis Festival - Barcelona, Spain
  • 2006. Densities Festival - Woëvres Suresnes, France
  • 2007. Alliance Française Festival - Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (+ Getatchew Mekuria + Guests)
  • 2007. CD/Cassette Presentation - Hager Fekir Theater, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (+ Getatchew Mekuria + Guests)
  • 2007. Son d'Hiver Festival - Paris, France (+ Tortoise)
  • 2007. Perspektives Festival - Västerås, Sweden
  • 2007. Tanned Tin Festival - Castellon, Spain
  • 2007. Transmusicales Festival - Rennes, France (+ Getatchew Mekuria + Guests)
  • 2007. Africolor Festival - Paris, France (+ Getatchew Mekuria + Guests)
  • 2008. Taktlos Festival - Zurich, Switzerland (+ Getatchew Mekuria + Guests)
  • 2008. Tribu Festival - Dijon, France (+ Getatchew Mekuria + Guests)
  • 2008. Terra Trema Festival - Cherbourg, France (+ Getatchew Mekuria + Guests)
  • 2008. Lincoln Center Out of Doors - New York, USA (+ Getatchew Mekuria + Guests)
  • 2008. Millennium Park - Chicago, USA (+ Getatchew Mekuria + Guests)
  • 2008. Jazz a la Villette Festival - Paris, France (+ Getatchew Mekuria + Guests)
  • 2008. Unlimited Festival, Wels - Austria (+ Getatchew Mekuria + Guests)
  • 2009. Angelica Festival, Bologna - Italy (+ Getatchew Mekuria + Guests)
  • 2009. Druga Godba Festival - Ljubljana, Slovenia (+ Getatchew Mekuria + Guests)
  • 2009. Fiesta Sete - France (+ Getatchew Mekuria + Guests)
  • 2009. Big Chill Festvival - Ledbury, England (+ Getatchew Mekuria + Guests)
  • 2009. Guelph Jazz Festival - Canada (+ Getatchew Mekuria + Guests)
  • 2010. Big Ears Festival - Knoxville Tenessee, USA
  • 2010. Irtijal Festival - Beirut, Lebanon
  • 2010. Jazz Festival - Lublin, Poland (+ Brass Unbound)
  • 2010. Donau Festival - Krems, Austria
  • 2010. Jazz Cerkno - Slovenia
  • 2010. Ring Ring Festival - Belgrade, Serbia
  • 2010. Les Escales Festival - St. Nazaire, France
  • 2010. Isole Che Parlano Festival - Palau, Sardinia, Italy
  • 2010. All Tomorrow's Parties - Minehead, England
  • 2011. Rotterdam Film Festival
  • 2011. Skif Festival - St. Petersburg, Russia
  • 2011. Festival Musique Actuelle - Victoriaville, Canada (+ Brass Unbound)

Special projects

  • 1980, October. First foreign tour in Germany
  • 1983. 4 singles box "Dignity Of Labor", about the loss of a paper mill in Wormer
  • 1986. Double-single/photobook "1936, The Spanish Revolution"
  • 1987. Festival organisation Plezante Aangelegenheid issue 1, Amsterdam
  • 1987, March. Eastblock Tour (Poland, Jugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia)
  • 1989, October. First USA Tour
  • 1990. Festival organisation Plezante Aangelegenheid, Amsterdam
  • 1990, March. Tour USSR
  • 1991. Two monthly 7" singles project, six editions
  • 1995. Music and dance project in collaboration with It's All Too Beautiful Amsterdam Dance Workshop
  • 1995. Festival organisation Plezante Aangelegenheid II, Amsterdam
  • 1997. Composition for NPS Jazz Marathon, Groningen
  • 1998. Empty Bottle Chicago impro night
  • 1999. Organisation Ver20jaardagsfeest Festival, Amsterdam
  • 2000. Big band Ex Orkest / Composition, Holland Festival
  • 2001. Curating Unlimited XV Festival, Wels, Austria
  • 2002. The Ex + Han Bennink pioneer-tour through Northern Ethiopia
  • 2004. International cooperation project with Ethiopian Azmaris
  • 2004. The Ex + Han Bennink tour through Southern Ethiopia
  • 2004. Organisation 25 Years of The Ex Festival, Paradiso, Amsterdam
  • 2004. Organisation 25 Years of The Ex Convoy Tour, France
  • 2004. Curating A Beautiful Frenzy Festival, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium
  • 2005. Curating stage at the Moers JazzFestival, Germany
  • 2005. A Clockwork Orange musical theater collaboration d'Electrique
  • 2007. Release 10,000 cassettes in Ethiopia, presentation concert Addis Abeba
  • 2007. A Clockwork Orange musical theater collaboration d'Electrique [reprise]
  • 2008, May. The Ex presents in Ethiopia Part 1. New pop music with Zea
  • 2008. Curating 3 nights Instant Chavirés, Paris
  • 2008. Curating 3 nights Music Action Festival, Nancy
  • 2009, February. The Ex presents in Ethiopia Part 2. Electronica with Silent Block
  • 2009, December. The Ex presents in Ethiopia Part 3. Saxophones with a.o. Ab Baars, Ken Vandermark, Paal Nilssen-Love and Amsterdam Winds
  • 2010, January. UK Tour The Ex + Brass Unbound [Mats Gustafsson, Ken Vandermark, Roy Paci, Wolter Wierbos]
  • 2010, September. Curating an evening at the Incubate Festival, Tilburg in September
  • 2010, December. New Years Eve Party, Bimhuis
  • 2011, February. The Ex presents in Ethiopia Part 4. Free the Jazz! with o.a.Mats Gustafsson, Paal Nilssen-Love + Ethiopian guests
  • 2011. Curation Pavilion Stage, Roskilde Festival, Denmark

On TV and in print

  • 1983. The Ex Hotel in Suburbia (VPRO TV: Program-item)
  • 1989. The Ex in the USA (IKON TV, Jan-Karel Lameer: travelogue)
  • 1989. Martin Sprouse - "Threat By Example" (Chapter: Into The Gravy)
  • 1994. John Corbett - "Extended Play" (Chapter: Live Free Or Try ...)
  • 1996. Wolfgang Star Neck - "Cyber Tribe-vision" (chapter: Das Ist Die Medium Massage)
  • 1996. Jeroen Vedder - "Het applaus was massaal!"
  • 1998. Kevin Whitehead - "New Dutch Swing" (Chapter: Third Generation)
  • 2000. Ex Orchestra at the Holland Festival (NOS TV, Paradiso Life: concert)
  • 2004. Nationaal Pop Instituut - "NL op Tour" (Chapter: The Ex in Ethiopia)
  • 2006. Fred de Vries - "Club Risiko" (Chapter: Amsterdam - Risks And Jokes)
  • 2009. John Robb - "Death to Trad Rock" (Chapter 16)

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