Nikolai Galen sings Jacques Brel

Chapter Theatre, Chapter


Former frontman of The Shrubs, Nick Hobbs – better known these days as Nikolai Galen – performed an astonishing interpretation of Jacques Brel’s work at Festival of Voice.

Considered a master of the modern chanson, Jacques Brel recorded more than 120 of his own songs becoming one of the most popular singers of French songs and a major influence in the wider music world. A free-improvising performer known for exploring the very limits of the voice, Istanbul-based Galen will use his own translations and perform acapella to allow the texts to stand on their own. Some of the songs remain close to Brel’s, some not; some float between music and speech, between singing and acting, just as the texts float between lyrics and poetry, between music and literature.

Galen’s Festival of Voice appearance coincided with the release of a new album capturing his unique adaptation of Brel’s work, Songs From The Low Lands.