Behind the scenes of the Bright Lights Sessions

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Published on 08/02/23

Ecstatic haven for experimentation 

Once a year, Ha's stage fills with a melting pot of songwriters. Together with the backing band, they rehearse for a day, during which new, sultry versions of their songs quickly emerge. 

The result is a steamy show that makes for a wonderfully spontaneous evening of music.

Behind the scenes 

From the idea of the founders Cleo Janse and Laura Cortese to the first time on the Ha stage and the many editions since then: we like to give you a glimpse on stage and behind the scenes.

In the songwriter world, everyone sits in their own cubicle writing something. We thought it would be more fun if everyone got together sometime to sing those beautiful songs, with a regular backing band.

Laura Cortese

A Ghent idea

The Bright Lights Sessions saw the light of day in 2019, immediately with several smashing editions in the concert hall of Trefpunt in Ghent. Each time totally different and totally delightful. During the day the individual artists come together with a few songs under their arms, in the evening they shine together as a band for one night.

Again and again, the organizers managed to snare a string of impressive names, such as Meskerem Mees, Kids with Buns, Guido Belcanto, Lien De Greef, An Pierlé, Bram Vanparys (The Bony King of Nowhere), Gertjan Van Hellemont (Douglas Firs), Chantal Acda, Pieter-Jan De Smet, Kobe Dupont (Geppetto & The Whales), Naomi Sijmons (Reena Riot), Laura Cortese (Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards), Dietrich Strause (US), Rose Cousins (CA) en Sean Staples (US) and so on!

Special first edition at Ha

But it was a very crazy first edition because it took place via livestream, in the aftermath of the pandemic on February 24th, 2021.

The fact that musicians were able to reunite at that moment was very special. Songwriters and first-time participants Mooneye and Meskerem Mees wrote the song "Bright Lights" together backstage. They performed it on stage:

We immediately played the first version of the song that night as a bis. Mooneye released it afterwards as a single on his new record.

Cleo Janse

Rehearsing rehearsing

After that first time, the fence has been raised, and every so often Ha's spaces fill with enthusiastically rehearsing musicians. 

From the backstage and foyer to the terrace. All day long, the house is filled to the brim with music. Delightful!

Taking to the stage

What a day: full of meetings, rehearsals, writing and testing new harmonies, rediscovering songs and having fun - but also with a good dose of healthy stress. Will it sound as good on stage? It's pretty exciting every time.

It is a wonderful evening where voices and singing together are the focus. Fragile and subdued or just very exuberant with lots of energy.

An outside opportunityitenkans

So many wonderful artists together on one stage seems like the ultimate godsend. To discover new music or hear old songs in new guises. To witness the sheer joy of playing. Would you like a little reminder? Leave your email address and we'll send you a reminder - in Dutch.



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