Isle of the Sky logo

Ever since she was a little girl Ilse Wanten has had visions. These vivid memories of past lives – who re-write the current main-stream history completely – pushed her naturally towards a never-ending investigation and into an artistic direction.

Starting out an actress, dancer, performance-artist and model, she later created her own performances and began writing and singing.

As an actress Ilse toured the world with the Flemish theatre-company Blauw Vier/Laika. As a mannequin and (showroom-)model she worked in Paris and Milan for designers such as A.F.Vandevorst, Martin Margiela and Dries van Noten. As a dancer/performance-artist she joined forces with Hazim Kamaledin, Romeo Castelucci, Ann Huybens, Marc Vanrunxt and Niek Kortekaas. Ilse gave feedback when the Belgian dancer/choreographer Lisbeth Gruwez (Voetvolk) was creating her ‘Birth of Prey’ and lend her vocal capacities to the Belgian band Boenox when they recorded their album ‘Styl-O-Phone’.

‘Wild Wild World’ (Melkweg/Paradiso-Amsterdam) and ‘Geheimnis’ (DeFabriek-Eindhoven) were first steps in creating more personal work. After presenting a solo-performance at the ‘Jonge Honden Festival’ (‘s Hertogenbosch-The Netherlands), she started an intensive research- and writing-process which, in 2012, led to the publication of her first book ‘Soul in Sight!’ (Ziel in Zicht!) and to the launch of her website (see link below). While performing for the Flemish Opera (Ivo van Hove, Christoph Waltz, ect.) she decided that the next step was the translation of the content of this book into music, using only her voice, loops and samples.

In 2013 Ilse met guitar player Jorg Strecker (Papermouth, InKata, Daan). ‘Keep on Keeping on’ was released under the name ‘isle’ in a private event in Antwerp in 2014. ‘Animal Perfume’ was released one year later in the same way. Both songs were accompanied by music-video’s which Ilse directed and produced.

When multi-instrumentalist Wim de Busser (King Dick, Stef Kamil Carlens) decided to play the drums, and bass player Michele Morgante (King Dick) got involved too ‘Isle of the Sky’ became a fact. The song ‘The Life’ – accompanied by another music-video (which she co-directed) – was released in 2016, shortly before guitar/keyboard player Chloe Joos (Statue, Fungus) joined the band.

In between a series of memorable gigs, Ilse successfully completed her second book. ‘Heavens’ (Lieve Hemel) was launched on the 20th of June 2019 at the Galerie Annette De Keyser/Antwerp.

To be continued…

Review by Luminous Dash: