Rita De Vuyst

Rita De Vuyst

She did her studies in clinical biology, and worked for some time in a laboratory for blood analysis.

When she had learned the job she started searching for something else; she bought a house and started a laboratory on her own. The whole family helped to restore the house, which was from the 13th century. Afkikker opened in the 80 as a student pub, beers were served with a dash of good funky music.

After some time she started to serve Italian food, that way, also professors were coming in; the public became a colorful mixture of science and art. Musicians found their way too, and after a while the whole conservatory of Ghent was playing on Thursday evenings in Afkikker.

One of the customers was regisseur Yves Opstaele, in 1998, he suggested to invite Mal Waldron, living in Brussels. He just had made a movie of Mal’s children.

Mal came twice to Afkikker for solo concert and gave the telephone number of Steve Lacy and so Steve Lacy came in February 10th for a concert with Irene Aebi.

Rita worked with Lacy, as a friend, from 1999 till his farewell to Europe in 2002, and also afterwards until he died.

She organized 5 concerts with Lacy, one with Irene Aebi, one solo, in duo with Evan Parker, Michail Bezverkni, and Shiro Daimon.

Just before his death, Lacy gave her permission to produce the cd Mother Goose solo @ afkikker, together with a book ‘Bone a Tribute to Steve Lacy’.

Lacy received the album ‘Blossoms’ in Boston, that Rita had published, with his farewell concerts: 5 cd’s with Michail Bezverkhni, Fred Van Hove, Irene Aebi, Joëlle Léandre and Frederic Rzewski and 1 dvd with Shiro Daimon.

After Lacy’s death, she organized Blossoms Festival’ in Ghent, at Gravensteen, Sint-kwintenskapel and Afkikker. Musicians with whom Lacy worked with, were invited.

2 concerts with Irene Aebi, 1 with Frederic Rzewski and 1 with J.J. Avenel.

Concert of Fred Van Hove and Joëlle Léandre

Frederic Rzewski solo.

Chris Culpo and Nicholas Isherwood, many concerts with Michail Bezverkhni.

With all these experiments Rita wanted to prove that Lacy is not only the best jazz soprano saxophone player, but also a composer of beautiful songs, avant-gardist and ready to become a classical artist.

The fact that she brought violinist Michail Bezverkhni, winner of queen Elisabeth Concours, in contact with Lacy and organized their duo concert, is the prove that she understood something behind the jazz, unfortunately it lasted only for one of the farewell concerts.

What she learned from Lacy is the power of positive thinking, the synchronicities, the magic by means of music and art in general. Lacy made her clearvoyant, she got color telepathy and was a few times dressed in the color theme of the concert;

Rita became a poet too, after each concert she gave a letter to Lacy; totally she attended about 30 concerts in Europe and America, and probably she wrote about 30 letters to him.

In 2018 Andy Declerck started playing Lacy with Michail Bezverkhni and Stijn Engels in Afkikker. This resulted in a cd ‘Bone’. In her opinion the words were missing and she started to bring her poetry to the public with Russian singer and composer Olga Mentchik. Around that time Artur Rozek came in and worked with them. Artur was singing Dutch and Russian songs.

Artur Rozek, a baritone, trained in Classical music and Opera, performed also in duo sometimes in Afkikker with Anna Hajduk, Chris Culpo, Nejc Lavrencic,

In the meantime, she introduced Artur Rozek into the Steve Lacy music and he is now a very fine performer of his songs. In Paris also Nicholas Isherwood is singing the Lacy songs with Daan Vandewalle. The bands ‘Ideal Bread’ and ‘The Whammies’ are also playing the music of Lacy.

Lacy’s music is ready to spread out all over the world again by his trustful followers, believers into the good music.

In Afkikker they soon celebrate ‘The Birth of a Band, Mother Goose, tribute to Steve Lacy’. Andy Declerck – sax, Stijn Engels -piano, Artur Rozek – baritone, Bart Maris – trumpet, Rita De Vuyst – poetry.

The 4th of June 2023 at 5 pm