As We Walk is the result of an amazing undertaking: a walk along the Belgian coastline in the company of a camel, two fellow musicians and a camera crew. Hanne De Backer, inspirer of g a b b r o, presents the film in combination with a live concert.

g a b b r o, with which Hanne De Backer debuted in 2017, is described by her as “a conglomeration of sounds, musicians and places”. Improvising in unusual places and observing the impact of the locations and their inhabitants on the music, that is the goal. De Backer has already traveled to empty halls, a prison, old sewer systems and in March of 2021 also to the Belgian coast. A straight line of about sixty-five kilometers.

The idea may initially suggest a semi-heroic overconfidence, but As We Walk is not a frenzied, megalomaniac project, far more it is a surprisingly subdued registration that lets the image and music speak for themselves. De Backer is joined by drummer Raf Vertessen and pianist Andreas Bral, fellow improvisers who stay far away from grand gestures and cheap gimmicks.

Armed with backpacks, winter coats, hats and an inseparable wagon, the three musicians, together with their camel and camera crew, travel over empty beaches, mist-shrouded dikes and through dunes, accompanied only by the murmur of the North Sea and the whooshing of a biting wind. They improvise in the sand, in a church, on a breakwater. Sometimes with turbulent spontaneity, but just as often with hypnotic sounds. The film moves at its own pace and shows the Belgian coast in all its battered glory, but just as striking are the surprised and amused looks of passers-by. The impression that reverberates most, however, is that of a concentrated calm, an attempt to slow down time imbued with a dreamy, almost melancholic poetry.

The screening of As We Walk will be followed by a trio concert by Hanne De Backer with Andreas Bral and Raf Vertessen.In addition to g a b b r o, De Backer has been very active in the European improv scene in recent years. She plays with Signe Emmeluth, Paal Nilssen-Love, Agnes Hvizdalek, Terrie Ex, among others, and is part of the Brussels sax collective La Nuée and Condor Gruppe. She also worked for and with theater companies such as KVS and ’t Arsenaal. Raf Vertessen has been active as a drummer in Brooklyn for several years now, with his own quartet and collaborations with Charlotte Jacobs, Joe Morris and Joe McPhee, among others. Pianist/composer Andreas Bral plays solo, in trio with Nathan Wouters and Onno Govaert, and with Ocean Eddie.