The Band



About the Band

The original idea when founding QNTAL was to achieve the perfect blend of medieval and electronic music at a time when the former was completely unknown to audiences. As one of the founders of today’s rampant medieval scene, the band is always developing and since its beginnings, has also included music and texts from later epochs in its repertoire. The musicians have spent great effort to stand against superficial musical trends. Originally planned as a field for experimentation for members of the band DEINE LAKAIEN and ESTAMPIE, QNTAL soon developed an unmistakable sound, the unique voice of Syrah floating over it. The essence of our work is still the joy of being musically inspired by ancient texts in all possible languages, to always find new solutions, yet at the same time sounding diverse, challenging, and catchy. All members are studied musicians, and for this reason, the high musical quality and independence is self evident.


From its first hour, Syrah has given QNTAL its unmistakable “sound” with her charismatic and versatile voice.  It is she that collects the lyrics for every new CD, the whole year scouring through libraries, pouring over tomes of poems, and intuitively making her selections, often revealing some undiscovered treasures.  These colorful texts, originating from Troubadours, Minnesingers, Mystics, and English romantics of centuries past, inspire Michael Popp in the composition of his unique and timeless songs.  Syrah is also responsible for the optical appearance of QNTAL and is probably our greatest lover of art.  Some of her favorites: Poems of W. Blake and I. Bachmann, Paintings of van Eyck and Bacon, and all of the wonderful archaic and mystical structures of the Romantic....


Michael Popp studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and there developed a particular interest for Early Music, especially that of the Middle Ages.  He has founded various ensembles with Sigrid Hausen alias Syrah:  ESTAMPIE - an ensemble for Medieval music, QNTAL - a mix of Medieval and Electronic, VOCAME - Medieval vocal music, and the AL ANDALUZ PROJECT- A folk project featuring the Christian-Jewish-and Muslim Music of Spain.  Michael plays many diverse instruments, some quite exotic and unusual, on which he roguishly demonstrates his expertise in his various ensembles as well as in theatrical productions.  In QNTAL, he composes the songs to texts that have no melody or whose melodies have been lost.  


Mariko made her first appearance with QNTAL on the Silver Swan Tour in 2006.  Already then, the onstage and musical chemistry between her, Syrah, and Michael Popp was apparent. Soon after, she made the move from New York City to Munich to found VOCAME with the two and to join the line up of ESTAMPIE. After several years of intensive work together, she has been able to develop the perfect vocal blend with Syrah as well as add a glittering height: up to a C’’’!. This combined with her “rock ‘n roll” violin stylings and fresh stage presence have taken QNTAL’s signature sound and look to the next level. As QNTAL’s “Junior” member, Mariko also serves as the band’s voice on the internet, communicating and documenting all goings on through Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.


The Kulmbach born drummer has been QNTAL’s live drummer since the 2005 Ozymandias Tour.  Markus is famous for his energetic drumming style which is both subtle and finely, elaborately arranged.  His musical intuition and powerful beats are a vital piece to the melodically complex compositions of QNTAL.

Since 1993, Markus has resided in Berlin.  Aside from QNTAL, he has played concerts, international tours, and on productions with artists such as Artwork, Goethes Erben, Wolfsheim, and De/Vision.


Producer : Leon Rodt

Leon graduated with a degree in sound engineering from SAE and after years of working in various studios in Munich, finally settled down at Weltraum Studios where he now works as a free producer and sound designer.  His work with the most ecclectic of projects makes the DJs sweat and the people party.

After producing one of the first remixes for Estampie several years ago and discovering that not only do he and Michael Popp live in the same neighborhood, but practically vis-a-vis from each other, a friendly and lucrative collaboration seemed almost a matter of fact.  The production of the seventh QNTAL album was only the first milestone in an exciting path together.


Beyond the edge of the world

In 1992, a newly founded band project swept the moldy dust layers off the medieval music scene forever with a single club hit. “Ad Mortem Festinamus“ of the Llibre Vermell de Montserrat, a collection of late medieval songs from the 14th century, amazed the audience not by an authentic performance on historical instruments, but with an innovative reinterpretation using electronic sound spheres. Powerful beats and driving synthesizer pads  in harmonic interplay with the engaging mezzo-soprano Sigrid „Syrah“ Hausen captivated dance floor enthusiasts as well as discriminating music lovers. Early music has never been more vivid and is being defined in a completely new way by the trio Qntal.


Following two virtuosic and expressive albums – unaffectedly entitled „I“ and „II“ – the two creative forces Michael Popp and Sigrid „Syrah“ Hausen concentrated preferentially on their acoustic ensemble Estampie.  After an 8 year break, they immersed themselves once again, this time with new reinforcements in personnel, into the unique and avant-garde world of Qntal, creating four unique opuses; each one with a different focus regarding sound as well as subject, but always intertwined with the Middle ages and fathoming all its facets anew. It is not for nothing that the dedicated musician Michael Popp refers to himself as the last troubadour alive, connected throughout several levels of history.  “For me as an artist, it is important to look deeper under the surface, not to simply remain there.“ This remains his creed, even after 20 years of experience in the turbulent music business. "Eventually, I demand even more, to take the subject apart, look into one’s self a bit more and scrutinize what is there.” For this reason, one single medium of expression was not enough for him and his companion Syrah. In 2008, after their last studio album „Qntal VI – Translucida“, the duo decided to focus again on their work with Estampie and at the same time, to launch an entirely new project called VocaMe, focusing on the classical side of the Early Music.

However, the year 2014 marks the beginning of a new creative period for Qntal. Thus far, Sarah "Mariko" Newman supported the band only at live performances, but as of now will be integral part of the line-up. Their new electronic mage will be Leon Rodt, substituting Philipp “Fil” Groth from now on at the keys and supporting the band as empathetic producer. Furthermore, for the first time in the history of the group, Michael Popp will appear as a solo singer. The seventh studio album – again simply entitled „Qntal VII“ – is ushering in the third era for Qntal and, despite all changes, still remains true to the original virtues. Sensitivity and expertise guide these musicians on their approach to century-old lyrics and melodies. Transformed into modern arrangements, lyrics and melodies alike are reanimated with virtuosity. Svelte artistry mingles with danceable, catchy sounds, always committed to the historical momentousness of the original piece. Alongside medieval sources such as the song manuscript Carmina Burana, the theologian Meister Eckhart, the minnesinger Heinrich von Morungen or the ars nova composer Guillaume de Machaut, Qntal now also advances as far as the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. One example, the enchanting poem „By The Light Of The Moon“ by the British poet Lord Byron, is just as well transformed into a dignified piece of musical art as the “Tyger” by the nature mystic William Blake. Romanticism thus is not only an integral part of the album sound wise, but also flushes its lyrics with a melancholic dreaminess. With the title “Schnee” [“Snow”], the album “VII” dares even to enter the present: fantasy author Markus Heitz, known for his Dwarves and Alfa novels, conceived this ode to the “eternal night”.  

But regardless of which century the lines originate from, either 12th or 21st, Qntal always succeeds in allowing its essence to resound in its songs – multifaceted, formidable and moving. It is no wonder that these unique avant-gardists have appeared at classical events, such as the cloister concerts at the Walkenried Abbey, the “Landshuter Hofmusiktagen” [court music festival] or the European Church Music Festival as well as at medieval festivals or independent events such as the Amphi-Festival or the renowned Wave-Gotik-Treffen [Wave-Gothic-Meeting] at Leipzig. The opuses of Qntal are universal and timeless, permitting a glance beyond the edge of the world.