I grew up in the 1980s and New Wave bands/synth-pop bands like Eurythmics , Frankie Goes To Hollywood , Talk Talk and Propaganda had a huge influence on my musical taste. Just as the more guitar orientated post-punk bands. Think of the Cure , the Waterboys - we will get back to them in a later review - the Talking Heads or my all-time favourite band the Sisters of Mercy . I loved the dark, yet romantic music, the danceable almost trance-like beats and the often sharp synthesizer melodies and guitar riffs of that era. The New Wave scene was a very open-minded scene in a way. Ok, the dress code was black on black with some black to add to that, but musically it was quite diverse. It could be the electronic synthesizer sound of Depeche Mode or the dark rock-orientated sound of the Sisters of Mercy. Soon certain bands started experimenting with non-traditional song structures, included non-pop instruments like violin, trumpet or cello and started a style we now know as post-rock or avant-garde. One of the first bands to do so were Talk Talk. Their 1988 jazzy/avant-garde album Spirit Of Eden still holds pride of place in my record collection. Another band to do so were Dead Can Dance . This Australian duo started weaving European, medieval and orchestral influences into their music, giving them a unique avant-garde, ambient sound. So what is the point behind this musical trip down memory lane? Well, I wasn't the only one that loved the music of this era. A certain young lady from España did just that, especially the music of the last band I mentioned, Dead Can Dance. This young lady we now know as Lady Morte, and in 1999 she started making music herself. But I shouldn't tell this part of the story, she should do it herself. -' I was born in Barcelona in the autumn of 1980. Since I was a child my passions have always been arts and music and specifically singing. During the 90s I was a lover of medieval-, Celtic-, folk- and ethnic music. I passionately listened to bands like Dead Can Dance, Ataraxia , Corvus Corax , Sopor Aeternus and many more. In 1999 I decided to start work on a musical project which I called Trobar de Morte. It was a solo project where I played the keyboards accompanying my voice for some time. I played at other bands from Barcelona… Read More
The Dolmen create their own world and take the audience on a musical adventure. Three weeks ago, on Friday 24th, the audience of P60 in Amstelveen got carried away into this magical world. Before this one-and-a-half-hour concert of the Dolmen, The Royal Spuds made an entrance for this world.
Tonight I’m Staying In, the opening song of The Royal Spuds . They might be the only one to stay in, because P60 is filled with people. Bare feet, swirly skirts and long hair with dreadlocks; that is a rough sketch of the audience. The Spuds are here to party and after the third song, the venue is quite steamy. It’s unclear whether that’s the audience or if there are any hidden smoke machines… The curtain falls and it’s time for the Dolmen .
The curtain rises and before we can see the band, we hear the first notes of Nuada. Band leader Taloch Jameson looks like he is having the time of his life. He is dancing and jumping around the stage, which has a contagious effect on the audience. Drummer Chris Jones is taking all of his energy out on the drums, dreadlocks flying around his face.
It’s time for Crimson Tears and that is clearly an audience favourite. Guitarist Josh Elliot is playing a solo and all three band members are dancing and jumping around. The rock number shifts seamlessly into an acoustic song. Josh’s guitar is accompanied by the raw voice of Taloch. Then we hear the drums. Soft at first, but slowly becoming louder and louder until the entire audience is swinging along. And just like that, the drums stop and it’s guitar only. But not for long, the bass and drums follow up quickly. They are taking the audience on a rhythmic journey, getting ready for the drop. People are living in the moment. They are in their own world. The band and the audience become one with the moment. You can hear the love with which the music is made, and you can see it, too. The Dolmen’s songs leave the audience in a trance. They are not here to dance, but to experience the music.
Towards the end, the party music comes along; Dead Cats Don’t Meow, Rebel Fairy Fling. A few conga lines swing through the concert hall and The Royal Spuds are dancing in the back. Tim Elfring , singer and percussionist at… Read More
Left to right: Taloch Jameson
, Josh Elliot
, Chris Jones
, Kayleigh Marchant
The Dolmen are known for their spiritual music. In the last weekend of January, they took us on a magical trip during their two concerts in the Netherlands. In this interview we are joining their trip to see what is behind their music.
What drives you to make music? Taloch:
“On a personal level, we don’t know why we do it, other than we love doing it. The thing is, being a musician is like being a drug addict.”
The band laughs. Kayleigh:
“Eh, not quite…” Taloch:
“We never got any money… Can’t get a job…” Chris:
“That’s it, because we’re all unemployable… We all smell sweaty.” Kayleigh:
“Speak for yourself! I smell fresh.” Chris:
“We don’t only do the music, we do all sorts of stuff. It’s just to give people something that they can enjoy.”
You are quite spiritual. Does that show in your music? Kayleigh:
“I hope so. Otherwise, we’re doing something really, really wrong.” Taloch:
“There is a very simple message in our spirituality. It’s a universal spirituality, which is not bound by the constraints of religion. The individual is always encouraged to follow their own way of spirituality. I live by a five fork mantra: every person is born equal. Every person deserves opportunity. Wisdom will come naturally. No woman, no man, can call themselves free unless they have freedom of choice. It means that everybody is always left in control. You have to take responsibility yourself. This mantra can be said in one word: love. Love for life, love for the planet, love for humankind. And that is our spirituality. We don’t preach it, we sing it. We live it. You can’t tell any of us what to think or what to do, because we’re beyond that. We live through that mantra. Hopefully, that’s what people get from our music.”
“Part of being human is to also have an essence of spirituality”
Do you think the world needs more spirituality? Taloch:
“Every person is spiritual at some point in their life, even if they don’t feel it right now. There will be one point in your life, maybe a few points or maybe an everlasting point in your life, where you will feel spiritual. Where things around you will make a big difference. And you will come to hear that… Read More
Can you put the feel of an early spring morning on a CD? If you are a talented musician like Philip Xander you can. With Prelude he has written and recorded the perfect soundtrack for a lovely sun-filled April morning drama movie. Prelude is filled with twelve instrumental songs that combine the magic of folk- and world music with touches of gypsy cheerfulness, prog-rock twists, and contemporary music quality. Philip felt no boundaries while writing the material for Prelude . No, on the contrary, he clearly used only one criterion: 'if it sounds right, use it.' and that makes Prelude a lovely album, that I highly recommend to any contemporary music lover.
Philip Xander is a Dutch multi-instrumentalist who started his folk career as the guitarist of Omnia
, and is now dividing his time between the gypsy-, chanson-, klezmer- and Balkan folk band Saffron Sun
, in which he plays eastern/Arabic percussion and the Irish folk band Withershins
in which he plays guitar and mandolin. Besides that, he often accompanies musicians like Gwendolyn Snowdon
during their live shows
And now I hold his first solo album Prelude
in front of me. A CD he recorded with the help of his friends: Anne Bakker
(violin); Emelie Waldken
(nyckelharpa); Anouk Platenkamp
(harp); Judith Renkema
(double bass); Otto de Jong
(drums, tabla, and percussion); Erwin Tuijl
(piano, keys, Rhodes, synths, harmonium, therevox) and of course Philip himself on guitar, mandolin, darbuka, and frame drum. Philip also composed and produced all the songs and Erwin Tuijl was responsible for the recording, mixing and producing of Prelude
. Philip playing New Heart, New World from his first solo album Prelude The new album Prelude
Philip Xander isn't the person to claim the spotlight, so Prelude
is not an acoustic guitar solo extravaganza. No, it really is a collection of lovely songs with a real band feel to them, starting with the lovely song Drifting
; a beautiful tender guitar melody that I could listen to for hours. Although it is only Philip on guitar playing this song, I would not call it a solo. It is a melody, a thought, a feeling put down to music. Seamlessly it flows over into Children of Chance
. A fun, slightly jazzy cross between a gypsy folk song and a contemporary pop song with a piano melody that could have been written by Jyoti Verhoeff
. This really IS spring in music form: lovely… Read More
I can still remember putting my first Mike Oldfield elpee on the record player as a teenager. It wasn't the obvious choice Tubular Bells -that came later- it was Incantations and I bought it on a second-hand market, together with a lot of other classic rock albums. Up till then my idea of pop music was based on songs I heard on the radio. 4 to 5 minute long things with an intro, a couplet, a chorus, often a solo on 2/3rds of the song and a nice ending or intro where the DJ always would talk over to announce the next song. The idea that a song could last a whole side of an album, the full TWENTY minutes, and that music could contain just as many classical elements as pop was something I could not believe. So listening to Incantations was something of an eye-opener. And I fell in love with that record straight away. Something similar happened to me while listening to Jyoti Verhoeff's Touches, I Speak With My Mouth Shut for the first time. No, she didn't record a 20-minute epos. Nor did she use as much time or as many instruments as Mike Oldfield did recording Incantations or his classic album Tubular Bells . But Jyoti and her musical partner in art, Fieke van den Hurk , again questioned my perception of pop music. The boundaries of it, the very nature of it all. And as happened so many years ago, I also fell in love with her record head over heels.
Jyoti Verhoeff is a Dutch singer-songwriter who already has 3 albums on her resume. Playing the grand piano since her 8th year, this is her main composing tool and live instrument. On her second album Riven
she explored the borders between pop and classical music, ending up with an intriguing combining of Kate Bush
, Tori Amos
and classical -chamber- music, but in her own tantalising, mesmerising style. All who know her last EP Bare
-an album she made together with cello player Maya Fridman
- will know she isn't afraid of pushing the boundaries of modern pop music, ending up with songs that wouldn't sound out of place in a performance of a modern ballet company like Het Nederlands Dans Theater. On Touches
Jyoti decided to make the boldest statement a singer-songwriter can make. She does not sing! Jyoti herself explains why in the booklet added… Read More