Concert / Performance / Livestream
Jazzfest Berlin Outer Spaces

Ap Lla: “Ceremony of Ceremonies”

by Topsi Unter Haltung

The bassist and improviser Joel Grip and his ensemble devote themselves in a ceremonial performance to the lost and reinvented artificial language “Ap Lla”.

Ap Lla: “Ceremony of Height of Nothingnesses”

Ap Lla: “Ceremony of Height of Nothingnesses”

© Joel Grip

Past Dates

Ap Lla graphonogestiques
The Ap Lla Dictionary (, 2.9 MB)


Berlin bassist Joel Grip leads a devoted crew of collaborators through ritualistic performances using a hybrid language called Ap Lla to direct and foster the open-ended usage of sound, song, gesture and dance. Rooted in non-verbal communication and storytelling, this elastic, multi-referential alphabet, derived from numerological figures, fosters an ephemeral style of play that’s modular, fluid and elusive. While the seed of the endeavour germinated through performances by Berlin’s sprawling Klub Demboh and woodshedding sessions at the performance space Au Topsi Pohl, Grip and his partners have expanded a complex cross-fertilised system that draws upon traditions as disparate as cave painting, Shaker poetry, hip-hop and Hildegard von Bingen’s “Lingua ignota”. The multifarious ensemble takes cues from free improvisation, codifying quicksilver interaction and response into a poetic technique that embraces impermanence, à la Eric Dolphy’s immortal quote, “When you hear music, after it’s over, it’s gone in the air.” But the group pushes beyond music, using a complex toolkit that employs original poetry, constructed by using two-syllable ‘graphonogestiques’ as a narrative form, with participants capable of overriding compositional imperatives and forming new internal configurations of players in real time. While abstract on its surface, Ap Lla allows for a rare precision in the exchange of concepts that only strengthens as the ensemble members gain fluency in the language. The audience will be able to relate to the linguistic exchange within the group using an Ap Lla dictionary that will be provided digitally for the online audience.

This concert is part of Jazzfest Berlin Outer Spaces

Due to the current regulations to contain the Covid-19-pandemic, Topsi Unter Haltung will not be able to perform at Jazzfest Berlin as planned. Three of the four ceremonies (“Ceremony of Goodbye”, “Ceremony of Two Moons”, “Ceremony of Height of Nothingnesses”) will be condensed into the performance “Ceremony of Ceremonies”. The performance will be streamed live at Jazzfest Berlin on Demand and  ARTE Concert. “Ceremony of Inevitable” will be streamed at 21:40. Simon Sieger will be replaced by Izumi Ose.

Joel Grip double bass, voice
Izumi Ose piano
Hogir Göregen percussion, voice
Prune Bécheau violin, voice
Marie Takahashi viola, voice
Anil Eraslan cello, voice
Antonio Borghini double bass, voice
Franziska Hoffmann voice, violin