Music and music-related blog

Posts tagged “Low Countries

Last Friday’s gig

Great buzz altogether down in Fifties, Lijmbeekstraat, in Eindhoven, where meself and himself played last Friday. And huge HUGE thanks to Lena, Lisa, Paul, Jason, Nick, and the other Snor folks (whose names I do not know. Sorry!). It was the best night I’ve been out at in Eindhoven (granted, I haven’t been out much here….). Special thanks to Lena and Lisa who were organising the music – Lisa, in particular, who saw me play in Eindhoven last November and asked me to play on foot of that.

But really, big ups to all!

Cello stuffs

Cello lesson in Amsterdam again today, trying to loosen up that bowing arm. It has a tendency to tense up trying to stop the bow from tipping over or falling altogether. Gravity, innit! Seán Bergin put me in touch with Harald Austbø, a cellist and improviser who lives in Amsterdam.
He’s a student of Ernst Reijsiger, the composer and cellist who’s written music for a good few of Werner Herzog’s films (including “Wide Blue Yonder” and “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”). Beeeyyooootiful!

In the course of the lesson, talk of portability came up. I started playing the cello eight years ago for many reasons, but its portability (compared to a piano anyway) was one of them. Hundreds of bus journeys later -“Would you not play the tin-whistle?”; “I’d say you have some trouble getting that under your chin!”, cue gales of laughter – I realise it’s maybe not the most portable.

Still and all, hats off to those who try. Here’s Harald on mini-cello with the Bakfiets Band. This clip from a concert of Werner Herzog film music is beautiful, and round 8 minutes in you can see Ernst Reijsiger playing the cello standing up. Apparently he walks around with it sometimes too.

And, a bit less successfully by Woody Allen in “Take the money and run”.

The brilliant Herv released “Portable Music, Vol. 1” last year, made with Nintendo DS, Korg Monontron and (I think) an Ipad – a practical solution to having a very long bus commute to and from work. Get that show on the road, as they say!

Gig tonight in Zaal 100

Come on down! It starts at 9 p.m., all details are here.

Zaal 100, De Wittenstraat 100, 1052 BA Amsterdam.


Headed up to Amsterdam yesterday for a jam with Tobias Klein and Raphael Vanoli. Tobias plays clarinet, bass clarinet and saxophone, Raphael is a guitarist, and both of them use electronics along with their respective instruments. Yesterday was wonderful, that flotation tank feeling from abstract improv, and the bass clarinet is a big velvetty swoon-machine. Plus, the studio had a window, so we could see snow falling outside (minus 23 centigrade last night in Eindhoven – winter came late, but it’s here now!). Just beautiful.

They’re amazing musicians, wildly prolific and proactive, involved in loads of other projects, including Lackritz, Knalpot and Spinifex. I’ve come into contact with a lot of (for want of a better word) jazz musicians over here, and technical ability and prolific collaboration is a big part of (let’s call it) jazz circles. Left to my own devices, I’d write and write, acquiring the technique necessary to play my own music, but not stretching myself any further.

With that in mind, I’m getting a cello lesson next week in The Dam. It’s been three years since my last one, time to get back on the horse. Tis a life’s work, eh.

Flickr set from Monday’s gig

Thanks to Cees Van de Ven for this.

Thanks also to John Thomas and Mark Dijkstra, AxesJazzPower’s organisers, and thanks to my collaborators Sean Bergin and Alan “Gunga” Purves.

Amsterdam Gig this Monday

This nice opportunity came up just a few days ago. And any excuse to visit Amsterdam is always welcome!

This is news though

Hello from Patience Bootcamp! I’m not very patient, you see. This notwithstanding, it’s been a bit of a slow few months. But the demo CDs are back from the pressing plant, be-artworked and mastered and all those professional things. I start sending them out next week, yeow!!

My first Eindhovinian gig is on at the end of November. Yip yip! AxesJazzPower is an Eindhoven-based promotions group and “stage for adventurous new music”. Their programmes range from jazz to contemporary classical, theatre, electronica, and pretty much anything else interesting. I see that Andy Moor (guitarist from the legendary Dutch punk band, The Ex) is playing in a few weeks with Yannis Kyriakides, a Cypriot composer living in Amsterdam. Seeya down the front, hweh!

But anyway, yeah, their shows are always interesting, and for the gig in November, they’re setting up a collaboration between an upcoming artist (that’d be me) and an old, wise, lion with years of experience. So, I’ll be going to Amsterdam in a few weeks to meet up with Sean Bergin, we’ll have an aul jam together, and see what happens. It’s really exciting though, obviously a very different set-up to Ireland. Slightly more (this word again) professional. But it is though.