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Another Awesome Week

{ 20:38, 24/3/2014 } { 0 comments } { Link }

Dear you,

I just came home from the recording session with my own band Pujan! Don't get your hopes up, we decided to care only about music&sound, we don't even have a facebook account yet so there is absolutely no way you can check us out yet, you have to wait untill the mixing is done. Next week there is a radio broadcast about me so I hope to be able to play some of these fresh tunes for you then.

Last week was crazy. Apparenlty the school principle had recommended the Royal Concertgebouw to hire me for their grand event 'The night of the movies'. I was honoured of course because of her recommendations, but I was also euphoric about playing in the Concertgebouw, something I'd never thought I'd ever do since I don't really play classical music. But this night I could play movie tunes, so together with an accordeon player and a trumpet player we played the tunes from The Godfather. I used to play the main theme with a gipsy band, which was convenient. It was very nice, I put a lot of heart in it and we got compliments accordingly. I wasn't impressed by the Prominent People, the VIPS or the models they hired to try to make classical music look young and hip, but I was happy they asked for my business cards. 

Next day I had a try-out with a DJ in Café Hofman. I arrived at 00.30 to find the place completely damp and loaded. It took me a while to get to the dj booth and there was no way I could play on the stage because it was too crowded. So the dj lifted me on the dj booth where I played the songs he sent me. I had practiced the themes and did some soloing, at one moment they turned all the lights on and the music down and I had my show off solo, people went crazy! It was really, really cool and he immediately asked me to join him on King's Night on the big square. It's funny, I would have never guessed I would play violin with a house dj, let alone enjoy it so much! But to see all these people dancing on your solo's, that is amazing! This dj was also very nice and he understood what kind of music would fit my instrument, he spinned some tracks I really like.

On saturday I played on Afghan New Year with Awesta, a singer with a band I am the leader of. We played some of his tracks, and we re-arranged songs from Ahmad Zamir, the most important singer from Afghanistan in history (according to Awesta). Of course it was kind of a tricky thing to mess with the traditional music but everybody loved it :) In the end they had a special moment for me, I got a speech in Farsi I didn't understand a single word of and then they gave me a very sweet present and a big applause. I felt a bit uncomfortable by this overload of attention but anyway I was very happy Awesta appreciated my work to much that he arranged this.

On saturday night I played with l'Chaim on the Vodka Fest in Scheveningen. I got lost completely on the way so I was stressed out of my mind, but in the end it didn't really matter. The sound was the most horrible thing I encountered in years, we had so much feedback on stage that despite the fact everybody was dancing like crazy and I really didn't want to interrupt that, I had to pause the concert to ask the sound technician to please, please solve the feedback problem! I didn't hear myself on the monitor, although I asked him 10 times to turn my violin up, I couldn't hear my band members either and the people were dancing so hard that the whole floor was bouncing, and the pa system was constantly on the verge of falling down. At one point the dancing got so out of hand that people were actually tripping over the monitors, falling on the stage, dragging down microphone stands. That's when we decided we did our job and we joined the party.

Next day we rehearsed in my home with Pujan, and today we recorded two tracks in Ijland Studio. We received a lot of help from people, the day went exactly as i had wished. I'm so tired that I have blurred vision and I really have to catch up big time with emails and payments and taxes and bullshit. But I have a satisfied smile on my face! I'm blessed :)


{ 20:55, 5/3/2014 } { 0 comments } { Link }

Dear friends,

Both Cem and Artun asked me to make a weblog, to keep them posted about my professional life and to have an insight in the life of a Dutch musician. Well, here it is! 

So. Last week I had 10 concerts in one week. That was kinda crazy. It started on the radio, VARA, one of the main radio stations, with my band Akwasi&The Experience. This band consists of members of the hiphop band Zwart Licht, quite famous in Holland. The musicians are from Ghana, Curacao and Holland. The drummer and bass player are brothers, and they were musically raised in church where they played gospel. The bass player told me a funny story when I asked him why his timing is so delicious, he said: ''well, at the start, when I was still a little kid, I couldn't read any notes. Every song had just a couple of chords, let's say a, c and g, and after a while I knew where to find these notes. But I still didn't know when to play which note! So the piano player had some sheets of paper with the A, C and G written on it. When he played a chord he held up the right paper, but then of course I was always late. Later I tried to time on the beat, but I couldn't do it anymore so I'am always a bit late''. Hilarious! Anyway, to have two brothers as a rhythm section is the best thing in the world. We play songs from the theatre show we did last summer, based on the lyrics of a famous writer who passed away ten years ago. Normally I would just play some violin lines, but I decided to just do what I want to do so I introduced my pedal board to the band and made some really subtle sound scapes live on air. It was really nice! So, my pedal board is welcome from now on :)

The next gig was a schnabbel on a conference with my swing band. We play our own arrangements of American swing songs, Benny Goodman style, and gipsy swing, Django Reinhardt style. 

Then I had a showcase with a dj. I still have to find my way in that world. It needs some extra effort from my side, so I'll be working on that from now on. I found out dj&violin actually provides me with a large share of my income, so I better spend some time and effort in it.

Then I had a recording session for a friend of mine, for the new cd of Knalland, the community art project in my neighbourhood. sounds shitty, but we actually made it to national television!

On thursday I had an awesome gig, with live tape reels, a trumpet player I admire and myself in a supercool venue, the echoroom of Mediamatic. Mediamatic is a place for art exhibitions and inventors. It's a creative venue. We improvised, making use of the space and it's accoustics, and the tapes, and the possibility of live recording and playback of the tape machines. It was very trippy and I was very much into the whole thing. At the end I had no clue if the audience would have liked it but they were so enthusiastic, every single one of them! We got a lot of compliments and everybody asked when the next time would be. Well, soon I hope because my heart lies in this kind of experimental stuff.

From friday on I had a living room concert tour with Akwasi&The Experience. Some concerts were ok, some really stood out. We played at the house of a Surinam family, they said they played our songs thousands of times and especially the song 'Een Wedstrijd', which is about your own battle in life that you cannot win, it is about racism actually, the song gave them strength, they told us we were part of the family already. They made us delicious food and we all ate together. I was very happy to hear that something we made, has such an impact, that it actually helps people! Sometimes I feel selfish about making music, I really have the best life in the world, but on a moment like this I realize that actually music can ease the pain.

Yesterday I played for a record of a friend of mine, Mevrouw Tamara. She was so happy about what I wrote with the one song she sent me, that she gave me two other songs  after the first one was done. I'm very curious what it will sound like! She is a great songwriter with an angel like voice. I'm proud to play for here so I really did my best on doing something cool. Cannot wait untill I get the pressing!!!!!

Ok. That's it for now!

Oh, wait! I will tip you some of the records I have been listening to lately:

Tigran - Shadow Theatre

Deedee Bridgewater - Red Earth

Bassekou Kouyate+Ngoni Ba - Jama ko

Christian Mc Bride - Conversations (Thanks to my awesomedouble bass teacher Tjitze Vogel!)

Rembrandt Frerichs - Self Portrait

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