Encounters in Cyprus
Having a Cypriot Coffee with ...
the Arne Jansen Trio

Arne Jansen Trio in Cyprus
Arne Jansen Trio in a Café at Faneromeni square in the old town of Nicosia | © CIPS / Marcos Gittis

Today here, tomorrow there – musicians are always on the go. During performances abroad there is usually no time between the airport and the stage, for them to explore the country hosting them for their short trip. Is Cyprus passing by them without leaving a trace too? The Goethe-Institut in Nicosia wanted to find out about it and met the Arne-Jansen-Trio for a coffee at the Faneromeni Square, in the old town.

How do you drink your coffee? This is a crucial question in Cyprus. With sugar, glykis, with little sugar, metrios, or without sugar, sketos?

In unison: Without sugar.

The day before yesterday you gave a workshop for students. Did they pose many questions?

Robert: Not really. The kids were too shy. We had several classes from different schools. We asked many questions though – for example, who among them plays a musical instrument.

Eric: And at least one third among them said they did. Most of them though had a classical background. We were probably their first contact with handmade rock-jazz music. But they were very interested in it. I saw some of them at the concert.

Was the audience in the evening as much open-minded too?

Arne: Garo Keheyan, our host, had somewhat warned us. The guests at the Shoe Factory are rather used to exalted chamber music and not to rock. Our music definitely gets louder sometimes. When at the end a lady with a walking stick came to us and thanked us, we knew that we succeeded in getting something across. It‘s a nice feeling - to captivate the audience.

Robert: I had a conversation with music students afterwards. They told me, that in the local jazz scene mostly standards are played, and not this kind of music that we are doing. But there are weekly jam sessions in Nicosia. Unfortunately we don’t have any time to go there.
Eric: The audience of the evening was absolutely mixed. At home you usually see just jazz fans in club concerts. Our performance here was something like a cultural event, which was attended even by diplomats.

Is your music particularly compatible, or how else do you explain your success by such a heterogeneous audience?

Eric: Arne‘s music is a kind of music, that is easily approachable. And still it is received differently in any given place. The clubs attract their audience through the programmes that are performed.

Arne: The audience at the Shoe Factory is obviously open for everything. Wenzel Fuchs and Katharina Treutler play there – and then us. Being open to welcome everyone is a great art of hosting. This was wonderfully done by Garo through his introductory speech. There are places, where everything can be performed and everybody feels good with it.  

Arne Jansen Trio © CIPS / Marcos Gittis
Arne Jansen Trio in the old town of Nicosia | © CIPS / Marcos Gittis
Could you also get a picture of Cypriot music?

Robert: Yesterday, as we were walking through the narrow streets back to our hotel, we could hear acoustic music. People were sitting in front of a tavern, one of them was playing the guitar and twelve of them were singing. This was amazing! 

Eric: There was no canned music coming out of the restaurants. It was either quiet or this traditional music.

Arne: There was live music played in four other places. But we were unforunately too tired to sit down. Maybe next time.

The three successful and extremely nice musicians have released their latest album Nine Firmaments in October 2016.