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Artist biography Holger Mertin
Holger Mertin studied ethnomusicology, percussion and drums at Frankfurt University, University of Cologne, School of Oriental and African Studies, London. He is currently expressing his personality through a large palette of projects ranging from collaborations with other musicians at Drums And More, Jaki Liebezeit - Holger Mertin Duo, the experimental avant-garde/jazz bands mÄÄr and PEM, theater and dance pieces, creations for museums and art festivals, teaching at Cologne University for modern and contemporary dance, writing for STICKS and IZ and cooperating with instrument builder Meinl.
In his intense concert performances, ranging from experimental jazz and groovy popular music to the complex metres of traditional rhythms and folk music from all over the world, Holger combines brilliant technique with a gift for intuition and thematic improvisation. Ever exploring new stylistic and conceptual avenues, Holger is not merely a performer inspired by idiophones and membranophones from various cultural contexts but can legitimately claim the title "musical innovator": whatever he turns his hand to yields unexpected sounds; sounds he will masterly combine with rhythmic devices of soul music, hip-hop music, rock music.
Holger Mertin is a multipercussionist and specialist in rhythmic traditions. He is involved in diverse transdisciplinary projects.
Mertin's play is characterized by his spontaneous, both melodious and rhythmic style that is equally reflected by his individual instrumentarium. With the help of his frame drums, his hanghang, the gong-like 'tamtam' or the tube-equipped waterphone, Mertin creates unconventional but constantly harmonic soundscapes.
He furthermore explores the very own sounds of everyday objects such as garbage cans, glass vases, concrete floors or his body and integrates them into his creative performances.
In his multifaceted projects, Holger Mertin strives for inspiration and creative exchange beyond stylistic and artistic boundaries. Be it experimental jazz scores, pop music or the complex meters of world music traditions, any rhythm presents an artistic starting point for the talented multipercussionist.
This way, Mertin's spontaneous dialogues with diverse artists turn into energetic, melodious and highly contagious musical experiences. He already collaborated with internationally renowned musicians and artists, among others Jaki Liebezeit (Can), Milan Sladek (mime), Eberhard Kranemann (Ex-„Kraftwerk"), Martin Sasse (Sting, Martin Sasse Trio), Hayden Chisholm, Paul Shigihara (WDR Big Band), Roland Peil (Die Fantastischen Vier) and jazz star Ali Haurand (European Jazz Ensemble).
Among his current projects figure the popular concert series Drums and More, the Holger Mertin – Jaki Liebezeit Duo and the dance/music happening Mitumba by the Cologne-based dance company Mouvoir. Mertin moreover composed the musical score of the WDR 5 radio production 14 Tagebücher des Ersten Weltkriegs (14 Diaries of the First World War, 2014).