Posts Tagged ‘traditional music’

“Music with a cause”

November 5, 2008

These are turbulent times and we’re travelling in a bubbly part of the world. One day after we’d left Quetta (Pakistan) there was a severe earthquake just 70 kilometres off the city. Right now I’m watching the Indian coverage of Barack Obama winning the US elections in a hotel room in Agra, India; a special moment in history.

Travelling through Pakistan was interesting and the images were beautiful, but as we were constantly escorted by policemen it was hard to really experience the country and its people. Whereas in Pakistan there seemed to be large areas with still a hugely ‘traditional’ lifestyle, crossing the border to India we entered an eclectic world of the new and the old, the rich and the poor. Sacred cows at the motorways eating the garbage alongside the roads; tuk tuks, walkers, bicycles, fancy cars and the occasional elephant all using the same road in a dangerous driving style. Bert and I drove to Delhi (an enormous city with 16 million inhabitants) for a concert that was scheduled for November 3rd in the outside auditorium of the Vasant Valley School.

The concert was organised via Roger, the man who has lent his Landrover to us, by Round Table India (an organisation that does a lot of benefit projects) in support of their project, ‘Freedom through Education’ and they did an impressive job of organising it all. The main organiser Khushroo Kalyanwala, an Indian architect, invited us to stay at his house the first night and took us to the Delhi main TV station the next day for a live interview announcing the concert. We told about our journey and our aim to connect with people through music in all the different countries we cross and on the studio monitor I could see them broadcasting the both of us with the subtitle “Music with a cause” (quite an impressive title…). It was a nice, sparkly interview and we played two fragments of songs (“Follow the Heron” and “The snows..”). That evening we slept at the beautiful farm house of another man, by the name of Puneet Gupta, on the edge of town.

The next morning Bert and I were taken to the school site and met with three very fine musicians (mr. P. L. Dhandra: Sitar, mr. Uday Debanshi: harmonium, mr. Sukumar Kolley: tabla) with whom we rehearsed some songs for the concert later that evening (the traditional indian way, seated on the ground carpet together). And the concert was a special event…in contrasting Indian style. Bert and I played two sets of 40 minutes, joined on some of the songs by the beautiful sounds of the Indian musicians and as we played our songs about..winds, seas, love, birds and spring in the outside concert room, every 4 minutes a noisy airplane flew over after it’d just had taken off from Delhi airport. Still we played very well I think and I enjoyed it a lot. Kind of surreal was the small media hype that took place that evening. For apart from Hans recording there were many, many cameras of multiple TV stations there filming the event with its unique mix of music, travelling and the good project. We were interviewed by three national TV stations (i.e. CNN IBN) as well as some smaller ones and it was definitely one of the highlights of the journey.
 
The Delhi concert

The Delhi concert (see the large posters in the background! We've never had them this big before..)

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Meeting Danica

September 30, 2008

As I’m writing this post we are driving through the Serbian mountains. We have left Kragujevac where we were very warmly welcomed last night by twelve year old singer Danica Krstic and her family. In less than 24 hours we got to know them a little bit and recorded two beautiful traditional Balkan songs; Zaspo Janko and Ajde Kato. The first was filmed in the orthodox town church (Danica wearing a traditional white dress with colourful flowers)..a stunning atmospheric church with iconic paintings everywhere..A lot of golden ornaments and the smell of incense. No musical instruments were allowed in here, only the two pure voices, singing a melancholic song. As Bert pointed out..there was not even an organ..in contrast to Dutch churches where a lot of things are possible nowadays.

with Danica and the musicians

all musicians

Afterwards we went outside to meet with four musicians, some of whom we’d met the day before and they were excellent players. With this small orchestra (violin, double bass, accordion and guitar) Danica and I recorded the song Ajde Kato. Bert was the sound engineer for today and didn’t play himself.

So I sang in Serbian today..and managed to remember the words, not knowing what they meant but concentrating on the sound and trying to follow the pronunciation. I think I did well..the people were satisfied and the priest gave me a compliment. It was a fruitful day!

(I also was interviewed and filmed for a TV Station and they will use a track of the Ygdrassil Live at the Folkwoods Festival DVD in their broadcast)

traffic jam in Serbia, on our way to Kragujevac, on sunday

traffic jam in Serbia, on our way to Kragujevac, on sunday

waiting for our recording session in the beautiful orthodox church

waiting for our recording session in the beautiful orthodox church

singing with Danica (Zaspo Janko)

singing with Danica (Zaspo Janko) Danica and Linde

with Danica and her orchestra, outside the church (Ajde Kato)

with Danica and her orchestra, outside the church (Ajde Kato)