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The Garden >>

Your Love is Right >>



  • Voici le printemps
  • Tintagel
  • Ver van vroeger (Distant past)
  • Whisper
  • Winter Queen
  • From Auschwitz to Amsterdam
  • Quam Magnificata
  • Favourite trees
  • De tuin (The garden)
  • Children of the wind
  • Come With Me
  • You and Me
  • Dusk
  • Today
  • Lilium

The Garden





When Kerst showed Hanif Williams the material of his new project, he met the faith and enthusiasm to make the project come alive: Together they decided to make a journey album, taking the listener through a landscape of stories and songs. The Garden was going to be a space of fantasy and questions, of contemplation: A stage for story and song.

Over a span of three years this project has become about engaging with stories from different centuries and different countries. It is also about us tuning in with our own storylines, while walking through the wider garden of creation. While we reflect in this garden of life and of love, we uncover the fruit of our efforts, the changes we go through and the stillness, which we have hungered for. A journey from story-telling towards story-listening; a journey leading to the quiet conversations of our hearts...


The journey begins in February 2007:In Cornwall Kerst walks The Saints Walk from coast to coast. For Celtic saints it was a country to pass through in order to reach the continent; for Kerst it is a region he explores to find new stories and new songs.

"The Garden" starts in Tintagel's poetry garden, a story-telling place, and moves on via hidden gardens to the Eden Project, closer to the south coast. While imagining the troubadour's stories, Kerst reflects on what is true and what is twisted in both the tales of King Arthur and in his own memory of the past, even while it exposes the deep, dark drama of bigger histories.


This is a walk during a time, when Kerst is befriending Schumann's song cycles from the Romantic Age. More than ever before these songs, these companions, have become a niche for him; like these songs these Cornish surroundings refer Kerst to the past, the beauty of creation, long lost loves, stories of old, stories still reflected in newer ones… At the grounds of Tintagel, amidst winter wind, rain and erosion there is a link with this romantic material: Ver van vroeger and Whisper are clear expressions connecting with this place of melancholy.

Soon as the project develops, also questions rise: The Garden is an unpredictable place of waiting, of wondering what was and will be; the expectations are embedded in the unknown and dramatic lives and pages of our wider history. Two songs filled with questions follow: Winter Queen, about the tragic life of Elisabeth of Bohemia, daughter of James I, and From Auschwitz to Amsterdam, sung to a child led to the gas chambers, not far from the commander's garden – it was a tree up there that caused Kerst to question this child if he had ever gazed unto the same tree, displaying similar seasons of life. Only later at Amsterdam's Begijnhof - near the old orphanage – Kerst is provided the courage to put these questions into song.


After going down this road of longing and questioning, the songs gain more and more personal focus. Favourite Trees shows a joined invitation of Creator and creation to go out and own the world: the bigger garden we all live in and in which all play our parts. Quam Magnificata, inspired by the Eden Project, adds a challenge to look after it with care. Here the stage of story telling is replaced by a space of change and of waiting (De Tuin/ Children of the Wind) and of reconciliation (Come With Me).

Gradually the journey moves back to the familiar sounds of home: The quiet instrumentation which was so significant on YOUR LOVE IS RIGHT deepens this touch of quiet reflection: The last few songs display, how the garden has become a garden of love, of beauty, of still comfort and spiritual home coming.

"I dare to walk away from 'achieving' and steal the treasure of 'being', meeting the essence of life and of love in the evening breeze which stills the mind… We number day after day and season after season and cherish the patience they challenge us to embrace. This peace is the greatest story told. I am still. Who am I in this story? Now the answer comes to me, I can leave the garden of higher love, knowing my profound shelter into tomorrow… "


As already mentioned, one crucial layer of instrumentation was laid in "The Pool", near Tower Bridge, where a beautiful Yamaha piano created both a stage and a sense of home. From here vocals and other instruments (even harpsichord) were added to the colourful "Garden" design. Kerst clearly enjoyed each positive vibe of willingness that marked several collaborations on the album: "While I was making the record I often joked to people that Hanif was much more thrilled about the project than I was, and that this would work for the best, while heading towards the end result. You can't see ahead, but I imagine that later on we will look back and be able to conclude, that this enthusiasm and dedication from participants were the essential ingredients for creating an authentic and soulful album."

The Garden ended up being a true title for the project: The songs were well looked after and many kept a proper eye on the detail. The end result was well worth the journey through different seasons and landscapes. And there it is now – a garden of stories and songs, available for the listener to enjoy and to pass through…

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Artwork Design by Dan Grassham


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