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Ever since her inception in 1990 Gran Teatro Amaro has given hundreds of concerts all across Europe. Counting six nationalities in her ranks over the years, the band is perhaps the most Pan-European ever.

Long before euro and crisis they already expressed the melancholia inherent in our weary Occident, singing bittersweet songs full of anger and longing. Microphones and amplifiers are refrained from, the band performs without them.

Purists should stay clear of Gran Teatro Amaro: the French chanson is cleansed thoroughly from kitsch and vulgar taste; modern tango is infused with a punk attitude; blatant romanticism is interrupted by desperate hollering; barely audible, translucent tones hang suspended in space and quasi-improvised folk-jazz turns out to be composed down to the smallest detail.

Gran Teatro Amaro likes to draw inspiration from the words and lives of poets such as Jan Arends, Boris Vian, Piero Ciampi and François Villon. Songs about love and suicide. But also about big yellow spiders, the smudging of bedsheets, hunger and why we don't want to be sad anymore.

Gran Teatro Amaro makes us ache for a time which probably never was, except perhaps in books and films. No mass culture or toothless world music, but smokey basements, jangling pianolas, absinthe and anarchic pamphlets.

Robert van der Tol - voice, guitars, ukelele, oud, banjo, piano

Mischa Kool - double bass, musical saw, voice

Panc Daalder - drums, marimba, piano, toy piano, melodica, glockenspiel

Gat - percussion, mandoline, objects, voice