C E E Y S
Sebastian & Daniel Selke
“It’s an extraordinary piece of music. It’s a work of two brothers, Sebastian on cello and Daniel on piano, and together they play as CEEYS. I saw them premiere tracks from their new album at Neue Meister gig that I went to very recently in Berlin. This is a project, which is actually dedicated to their parents and it is written about the buildings that surrounded them in their childhood, growing up on the streets of East Berlin.” – Mary Anne Hobbs BBC Radio 6 Music
The work of Sebastian and Daniel is marked by a joyful dualism – which is at the same time preserved and resolved by means of a completing and rivalling juxtaposition. The idea of crossing musical barriers is personally motivated; the Selkes grew up in East-Berlin in the final decade of the socialist GDR, where especially being creative was the way to find one’s niche. Along with their classical training, their interest in contemporary ideas started to grow from an early age. In search of a shared musical language and inspired by the terms ‘violoncelle’ and ‘keys,’ their project CEEYS was born.
Leaving their mark with delicate REWORKS of artists such as Peter Broderick and Lambert, the brothers released their debut THE GRUNEWALD CHURCH SESSION in 2016. On CONCRETE FIELDS from 2017, they paid tribute to their musical roots in East Germany of the 1980s while WÆNDE from 2018 comes to terms with the sudden fall of the Berlin Wall. In 2019, they debuted their first solo work on the EP Q3A. They resumed the newly established dual recording process from their EP in that same year on the latest album HIDDENSEE – a sort of 1990s travel log. All releases are part of a back-to-back anthology.
CEEYS’ beautiful abstract compositions have received excellent press and their releases can be found on the acclaimed labels 1631 Recordings, Oscarson and Neue Meister. CONCRETE FIELDS and WÆNDE are also available on both vinyl and CD while CONCRETE FIELDS is distributed digitally worldwide through Decca Publishing and Deutsche Grammophon. WÆNDE and HIDDENSEE are published by Kick the Flame Publishing in Leipzig. In 2017, the brothers won the Rilke Special Award at the International Poetry Film Festival Vienna. That same year, they started their WÆNDE tour through Europe. The duo played both East and West German festivals such as Fusion or Reeperbahn.
Encouraged to play from a preschool age by their parents, the brothers went on to study music formally, with Sebastian graduating from ‘Hanns Eisler’ Berlin and Daniel from ‘Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’ Leipzig. These days, Sebastian plays as associate principal at Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg while Daniel is a conductor and lecturer for piano and chamber music at the State Music School ‘Johann Sebastian Bach’ in Potsdam. Both have been featured on numerous album releases and soundtracks. Sebastian has also collaborated with BAFTA-winner Ólafur Arnalds and violinist Viktor Orri Árnason on a virtual instrument for Spitfire Audio. He is part of Erased Tapes’ tenth anniversary box I+I=X and Masayoshi Fujita’s BOOK OF LIFE with whom he only recently toured Germany and shared the stage with Peter Broderick and David Allred.
In 2017, the brothers founded the boutique festival Q3AMBIENTFEST, which is named after a three- to five-storey cross-wall building – ‘Querwandbau’ or Q3A in German. As a part of Nils Frahm’s Piano Day, they once a year invite renowned artists such as Anne Müller, Andrea Belfi, Midori Hirano, Masayoshi Fujita, Martyn Heyne and Poppy Ackroyd to not only share the stage with them but also – as yet another example of their dualist approach – to create a bond between music from avantgarde to pop and Potsdam’s diverse architecture.
With their music, CEEYS not only reveal an intimate dialogue between artist and instrument but also revive those musical experiments that once emerged from the isolated East. And there is no doubt that they will continue doing what they have always done: weaving together different aspects and reversing contrasts with the truest form of human intelligence – with a light tone of humour.
New music and projects are set for release in 2020.