The vocal ensemble KANTIKA is specialized in mediaeval repertoire. Kantika has contributed to the revival of the music from this period by the lively interpretation of their singers, each with her own personality and artistic potential.

Concerts invite the listeners to a journey into the past, into the universe of a mediaeval monastery, a cathedral or a royal court where time flowed more slowly, according to different rhythms where one sang incessantly the praises of God and Love.

KANTIKA connects both, a historical approach to the original manuscripts and a vocal research enriched by each singer’s personal background. Sacred music is performed in its liturgical context, the historical order of the office being respected. Different versions of the same chants are compared; later versions notated on lines help to read the older ones. All our programmes are performed from facsimile editions.

Although the ensemble never exceeds chamber size, for some of our programmes, we invite different musicians playing the lute, the rebec, flutes or percussion instruments.

In the years to come, KANTIKA wants to continue their co-operation with contemporary composers; this started in 2005, with the first commissions by Thierry Machuel, Pascal Diez and Hans van Zijp. In 2006, the film music composer Jean-Michel Oberland made an arrangement of an extract from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. This year the Swiss composer Caroline Charrière writes a new piece for the ensemble.


KANTIKA proposes almost a dozen different programmes with mediaeval music from 11th century Gregorian chant to court chants from the 14th century: « A summo celo » - Gregorian chants from Saint-Martial of Limoges, « Lux » Lucy’s Mass/ Chants from the Apt Cathedral (11th – 14th century). The concerts can be mixed with one or two contemporary pieces or literary texts from the Middle Ages. A concert with mediaeval music and fairy tales has been conceived for young audiences.

« A summo celo » - Gregorian chants and polyphonies of Saint-Martial of Limoges (11th-12th c.)

Embertide is an old tradition of the Roman Church. Four times a year, at each new season, three days of the week were devoted to fasting and praying.
The mass bears the traces of a very ancient liturgy. Its numerous lectures amidst chants and prayers evoke the primitive form of nocturnal vigils in Rome; the texts of the Mass of the Embertide can be interpreted as an announcement of the liturgy of Christmas.
Gregorian chants come from an 11th Century manuscript from Saint-Yrieix. The tropes, famous genre in this repertoire, and the polyphony were taken from two manuscripts of 12th Century Aquitania.

sainte Lucie
« Lux »
Saint Lucy’s Mass / Gregorian chants and polyphonies from mediaeval manuscripts from the Apt cathedral (11th – 14th c.)

Sancta Lucia : Mass for the nativity of Saint Lucy. The cathedral of Apt possesses almost forty mediaeval manuscripts, including some liturgical books from the 11th to the 14th century, a troper, a gradual and a polyphonic collection. Their different musical notations allow us to follow the evolution of musical writing in the Middle Ages and to give a renaissance to this music in its original historical environment.

Commissioned Works


Thierry Machuel, « Piececitos » for 4 women’s voices
Hans van Zijp, « Ignis est invisibilis » for 3 women’s voices
Pascal Diez, « La Table d’Emeraude » for 3 women’s voices

Carl Orff/ Jean-Michel Oberland, « Veris leta facies » (Carmina Burana) for 4 women’s voices and percussion

Caroline Charrière, « Lumen » for 5 women’s voices

© Les Amis de Kantika