composer and keyboardist / synthesist Henrik Hytteballe and
his band name The Haiku Project can always be counted upon
for a deep and meaningful musical experience. The follow up to the
2017 Haiku Project album Nebula, the early 2019 CD release
of Life is a fitting way to start off a new year. As
always with Henriks wondrous instrumental music, the images
and content merge into one timeless world of sound. Little Calf
and Turtle Song create images of the preciousness of life,
whether it is a turtle or a calf, the moving sound waves evoke the
spirits of life. Au Revoir les Enfants is Henriks
tribute to the Louie Malle movie about the youngest victims of the
holocaust during World War II while The Bright Side of the Moon
takes a more optimistic view of life and even pokes fun at the Pink
Floyd album. Unfold underscores the mystery of life and
the trust required to live it through. Other songs on the eleven track,
72 minute album reveal deep and meaningful pages of life that we all
must turn. With all the music composed, performed and arranged by
Henrik and production and mixing handled by Freddy Albrektsen,
Life also features several other musicians including Olav
Madsen and Kim Jeppesen (both electric guitar), Sara
Grabow (vocals) and Canberk Ulas (Duduk). As with all of
Henriks Real Music releases, the artwork is special and was
painted by Henrik as he is also a world-renowned painter as well.
The CD booklet features track-by-track liner notes by Henrik and several
quotes from Meister Eckhart and Walt Whitman. Turning yet another
page in life is never easy, yet on the 2019 CD release of Life,
Henrik Hytteballe and The Haiku Project makes the human experience
a more tolerable and tolerant ordeal. www.haikumusic.dk
mwe3.com presents a new interview with
Henrik Hytteballe of The Haiku Project
Is Life a concept album of sorts dealing with the preciousness
and complexities of life and how everything is interrelated? Being
a humanitarian, did you feel obligated to take on a musical undertaking
of this scope and magnitude? Life is a great album title that
hasnt been used too much in the past.
Henrik Hytteballe: The music I make reflects very much, where
I am positioned in life at the time, I make it. The last two years
there have been big changes in my life, which makes me reflect deeper
about the meaning of life, and how we are using our time on earth.
Unfortunately a lot of the time spent here is wasted - or even worse
it is spent destructively. As humans we are not just consumers.
We are here to help each other and learn kindness and accountability
towards all living. The greed for money and power is destroying life.
We must learn to share and be grateful. Poverty is a result of not
sharing. It is when we give that we receive. This high speed culture
we are living in today leads to alienation. The response to this is
not to own more, or to gain more control, but to open up and listen,
creating a resonance which makes transformation possible.
mwe3: Little Calf and Turtle Song are
both about animals living on the planet. Whats your opinion
on the life of animals being that theyre living creatures like
us, but they also serve us by providing food. Whats your opinion
on how animals are supposed to interact with humans?
Henrik Hytteballe: I am very much inspired by Francis of Assisi
in his respect for all living species. I do not want my mission to
become a vegetarian, but I wish that all humans would become aware
of the fact that we are not separated from nature, that we are part
of it, and each time we abuse another living creature we hurt ourselves
as we are destroying the whole. Concentration camps still exist in
the way many animals are treated in the food industry today. Chickens
not producing enough eggs get stifled slowly in large silos. Pigs
lie in cages without being able to turn around. In China, dogs
limbs are ripped off while they are still alive and everywhere on
our planet more and more species are endangered by human behavior.
All because profit is valued the highest and animals are considered
as things. We need a paradigm shift in the way we behave and treat
animals and our common earth. We are not just facing a climate crisis,
but also a global mental crisis caused by greed. Every time a calf
is being born its part of lifes miracles. The turtles
are amazing creatures, using the same paths through generations, if
we would let them. They are among the most endangered species.
mwe3: Au Revoir les Infants is about children killed
in the holocaust during World War II. Tell us about the way the Louis
Malle movie of the same name impacted you. On a related note, I want
to thank you again for asking your late friend from Poland to translate
the final postcards from my family members who were killed in the
holocaust. I felt sad when you told me he passed away shortly after
he sent me the translations.
Hytteballe: My friend Ireneusz was happy to help you with the
translation. He was one of the kindest persons I have ever met, and
his passing away remains a huge loss. Au revoir les Enfants
is my favorite Louis Malle movie. Louis Malle experienced this himself
when a Jewish boy was fetched by the Gestapo to disappear in a concentration
camp during World War II. He could never let go of blame, and he made
this fantastic movie many years later. We follow a group of boys in
a catholic school in France. It is a heartwarming movie. There is
a wonderful scene, where all the boys are watching a Charlie Chaplin
movie and they are all together having a good time laughing. But when
the Gestapo comes to pick up the Jewish boy and the monk who was responsible
for hiding the boy, the group is divided into them and us. That is
the harsh reality when we are excluding people.
mwe3: Is Bright Side of the Moon kind of a twist
on the Pink Floyd title? How are the roots of humanity part of the
universe and how can we expand and evolve on such a wide-ranging concept
as the universe?
Henrik Hytteballe: Pink Floyd was one of the first bands I
became a fan of. Dark Side Of The Moon is a fantastic album
and I would guess their music has been a huge influence on many musicians.
So yes Bright Side Of The Moon is a twist of their title.
I have replaced the guitar solo with the beautiful tones of the duduk
played by Canberk Ulas. On the album Nebula I described how
we all come from the stars. We are part of the universe and the history
of mankind is rooted in space. Life is a huge mystery and I am sure
that many questions will remain unanswered. This is not a problem
I think we have to accept that we cannot find answers
to everything we ask, but that doesnt make you stop wondering.
For me it makes life even greater that there are so many things we
mwe3: You say in your liner notes that Unfold is
about the mystery of life and how we cant control too much of
what goes on. What does the unfolding of life mean to us in the bigger
sense of the word and is Abandoned the other side of the
coin, as you say in the liner notes? If we cant trust the unfolding
why do we feel abandoned?
Henrik Hytteballe: I think your question is spot on. It is
when we cannot see the unfolding of life that we feel abandoned. Sometimes
the grief is too big. When we are in despair, we cannot see the things
that could have brought us joy. When you are able to move your focal
point, you realize that changes are possible. Every day miracles happen.
Each day life unfolds everywhere on the planet. I have experienced
myself that a solution to a problem came up in a way I could never
have imagined. Life can be cruel, and I know the feeling of being
abandoned too well. It leaves me behind with great sorrow, but everything
that occurs to us has different stages
after a while the sorrow
becomes a miss and you are able to open up and give space for new
things in your life. You open your eyes to the miracles again.
Tell us about working with guitarists Kim Jeppesen and Olav Madsen.
They add some great guitar sounds. Have you worked with them both
Henrik Hytteballe: I agree with you... they both add some very
nice guitar sounds. On my first solo project back in the 1980s
I worked with both Olav Madsen and Kim Jeppesen. They played on the
from my first album haiku. Olav and I were in a band together for
several years, and Kim and I made music for a short movie about autistic
children. They are both very talented musicians and I feel that their
guitar playing reflects the fine qualities they both possess as humans.
mwe3: Sara Grabow returns to Life, making another appearance
on a Haiku Project album. Tell us what Sara brings to the track Existence.
Henrik Hytteballe: Existence is a human matter.
It is a philosophical topic and therefore the track needed a human
voice. Both Sara and I are interested in the spiritual and emotional
aspects of music. We make music because we want to touch people. What
she does on Existence is the absolute perfect voice for
that song. It was a great pleasure for me making the track. Each time
I was working with Existence I went into a meditative
state in which time no longer existed. And I could take this inner
peace with me during the day. It is my hope that people will get that
same experience listening to the track.
mwe3: So now with the release of Life youve made
your greatest album. How do you feel Life fit into your discography
and what other plans do you have for 2019 and beyond?
Henrik Hytteballe: I am very pleased that you think that Life
is my best album especially as I know, you liked the flow album
very much. Life is my 7th album and the 4th released by Real
Music. It is my hope that filmmakers will discover my music, as I
would love to make a score for a movie. I am working on songs for
a new album, but I am in no rush to release it. I will focus on giving
more concerts in 2019 and do some serious painting, as I would like
to combine my music and painting a lot more. Thank you very much for
your continuing interest in my music, and my best wishes to you.