Author Archives: Alex van der Jagt

Maya & Roger Spees – Kees

20141228-002 Maya & Roger
Another report from Kees! 🙂
Yesterday he returned to Maya Fridman to attend a truly Magical Winter Concert with Roger Spees, Intuitive Pianist and, of course, Maya on cello. Read all about how Maya and Roger even got the ‘photographer of the stars’ to lay down his camera and sit back and enjoy their music!
It’s not the music you have come to expect from CeltCast, but this performance was done using a very interesting concept, so we nevertheless really wanted to share this report with you.
-Sunday the 28th of December 2014, Werkhoven.

Today I had a wonderful relaxed day. I had a day off, so that helped, but for the most part it was because yesterday I went to the “Magical Winter Concert” by intuitive pianist Roger Spees with Maya Fridman on her cello. Roger Spees has titled himself ‘intuitive pianist’ because he improvises the music he plays based on the mood and feelings he senses from his audience. This results in soothing and relaxing music ideally suited to let your thoughts float away on.

For this concert he was joined by Maya Fridman who really was tuned in to his frequency so to speak, they really added to the others music. Roger would start a strand of music that Maya would pick up on her cello, or the other way around.

Also, next to his piano Roger had a number of small percussion type instruments he could make all kinds of interesting sounds with to add to the music, soundscaping a walk in the forest, an afternoon at the beach, or a rainy day at home.

The venue was the chapel of the Samaya Conference Centre, which used to be a monastery. It was well suited for this event, located in a quiet spot out in between the farmers fields, specially quiet now that it had snowed a lot and everything was white as far as the eye could see. They had provided mats you could lay down on if you wanted to meditate on the music and they were filled to capacity. The afternoon was opened by a nice lady (I quite forgot her name) who started with a light meditation which seamlessly went over to the first melody.

These two photos were about all I made, for the rest of the concert I just sat back and enjoyed the music. I had seen another photographer busying about so I thought, that’s covered, I’m putting the camera away. It was a wonderful afternoon and if this event ever is organized again, I’ll be sure to visit!

– Kees

20141228-001 Maya & Roger

Yuletide interview with Kaat of L.E.A.F.

LEAF CD cover design We had a lovely interview with our good friend Kati Ran of L.E.A.F. Read all about their new album, their plans for the new year and of course about the teaser, the track that we will be playing in our stream, starting the 1st of January!

You can find the interview on our interview-page
And check out that exclusive preview of their new album cover! 🙂 ==>

Interview with Kaat of L.E.A.F.

LEAF CD cover design
These days between Christmas and New Years Eve are usually a very quiet time. Short dark days, long cold nights, as if the world actually moves a bit slower. What could be a better time to relax, sit down and have a chat with a friend?

We had a lovely interview with our good friend Kati Ran of L.E.A.F. Sit down with a hot cup of tea or a nice mead and read all about their new album, about their plans for the new year and of course about the teaser, the track that we will be playing in our stream, starting the 1st of January!

And check out this exclusive preview of their new album cover! 🙂 ==>

Last week you revealed a hint of what is to come by releasing a small fragment (snippet) of your new single to your audience. What we heard certainly had that familiar L.E.A.F. sound, yet there were also innovative elements. Can you tell us more about how the single came to be?
The single will most likely surprise a lot of people. With this teaser we have set off into an exciting new direction that, to me, feels more authentic in what I would like to bring across with the music that we as L.E.A.F. make. The goal to this, in the broadest sense, is to revitalise the connection that can be formed between man and the other world. The lyrics to TERVEH are a Scandinavian rite sung in Karelian (Northern Finland). They are an anthropologically documented shamanistic rite, which purpose is to contact and negotiate with spirits of the neighbouring forests. These supernatural rites were usually performed by local Tietäjä’s, wise tribal women who dared to use life force or ‘Luonto’ for supernatural negotiations or offerings, in order to better live in conjunction with the, to them, spirited and sometimes threatening nature. The song was created with the assistance of a native speaker, as well as additional research among Finnish elders, for this this type of Finnish is very hard to understand, even for the people of Finland today, as the text is in a very old dialect from the most Northern area of the country. Another famous example of a similar old Finnish rite is the already well known ‘Auto Luonto’, sung by, amongst others, Tellu Turkka of Hedningarna and Omnia. The track was recorded by none other than Fieke van den Hurk (ORCHVS studio) and I produced it with Christoffer Juul (LAVA studio), a close friend and producer, known from the Danish bands Valravn and Euzen.

Is this track’s style representative of the upcoming album?
Yes and no. We labelled TERVEH as teaser, because the album will be a 50/50 mix in sound. On the one hand, tracks based on traditional folk melodies, wrapped in a mythical and warm L.E.A.F. blanket, very near-sounding, like how we already can be heard live. On the other hand it will contain tracks like TERVEH with extra sounds and effects that can only be produced in a studio, because when you have so many technical possibilities and you’re working with a producer like Christoffer Juul, it’s just very tempting to use these options and make the album exceed the level of “just playing” some folk tunes. It is however my intention and hope to get as close as possible to the sound of the album when we play live, which will present whole new podium challenges. We are in no hurry with the production, quality before quantity is my new motto.

How actually does a group of Dutch artists come to make Nordic Folk? What is/was your inspiration?
If you take a close look at the start of L.E.A.F. you’ll see that the first tracks we played already were Scandinavian songs, such as ‘Under Nymanen’, ‘Fjarilar’ and ‘Bundet’. L.E.A.F. has been Scandinavia-oriented from the start, especially because this feels very near to me. I feel a deep connection to the languages and areas there, something I do not experience with other parts of the world. However beautiful, I could never play a Bulgarian, Polish or African song, because it doesn’t feel close enough to me to really connect with it. And to me that’s a prerequisite to singing, if you are to portray something believable with your voice. This is something I have had to learn by experimentation over time. I have also been inspired by my travels through Norway, the immense nature and history there, and the knowledge I obtain there about old folk songs from my Viking friends. The reason we call it Nordic PaganFolk is merely to give it an identity within the known Pagan Folk scene.

Is there an underlying message that you wish to convey to your listeners?
Certainly. You can find meaning for yourself in the lyrics and in the way we convey the music. Sometimes naming something essential and tangible that resides between the lines doesn’t do it justice and can diminish the feeling, but in short it’s about the connection between man, nature and the other world. It’s also by singing of universal emotions that we hope to touch the hearts of our listeners.

Your music is driven by various uncommon and mysterious sounds. How do you come in contact with the instruments that produce these sounds?
This is because we are historical instrument fetishists, or at least I am. By meeting other historical music nerds you get new inspiration and you want to learn to play uncommon and old instruments more and more. It’s an obsession and a collecting mania. Avid musicians from my inner circle will recognise this. Look twice before you leap into this!

The EP that was released mid 2012 was mixed and co-produced by Fieke of ORCHVS studio. She also provided the artwork and the website. Who will have the honour of helping the upcoming album take shape?
For this album, provided that the crowd funding works out, we will work together with the LAVA studio. Christoffer Juul and I will be producing and mixing. The excellent studio recordings will be done by Fieke van den Hurk (ORCHVS) once again, as we wouldn’t want to work on this album without her energy and her amazing studio in the Netherlands. As for our album and PR artwork, there will be a mix between again Fieke and the newcomer and brilliant illustrator Charlotte Boer.

And when do you expect to present the result of this collective hard labour?
This is a very hard question to answer, because, when is something really completely done? Not until it’s actually finished. We have not set a deadline for it as we’re aiming for quality. We want to make an album that, in ten years’ time, we will still be able to look back upon with pride. That consumes a lot of time, also to let the recordings sink in, and to fine tune them and let them ripen along the way. But we hope to release it at the end of 2015. In the mean time we will keep our funders and fans up to date on our Facebook page and via our website, and we’ll release some thingies and snippets along the way, like the teaser now.

What does an average week for you look like? Do the members of L.E.A.F. go to the office every Monday, or did you manage to give life your own little twist?
This varies per band member of course. All our members have amazing talents that they use outside of L.E.A.F. for work, study, their own freelance businesses and things like that. Speaking for myself, I am quite a multitasker. I have a “regular” job as a pedagogue (teacher) in a nature based child day-care centre, where I try to teach teamwork and confidence by, amongst other ways, learning survival techniques. It is very much trial and error: falling and getting back on your feet, making fire and the like. I’m also a mother, so I have a household to run, and when I’m “off the clock” I work on L.E.A.F. and other wonderful musical projects daily. This encompasses everything from administration to collecting lyrics, from HTML coding to keeping up social media. And then sometimes other projects come my way, like acting and art photography, plus I also run a modest massage and coaching business (VANIR). If something grabs my interest I gladly take it up, and in the end we all have to survive financially as well. I have to restrain myself from doing too much, but there is this creative drive in me that just won’t stop. L.E.A.F. is one of the nicest ways to express myself and everything that lives inside me. I could never “just” have a job and do nothing else. I would be bored to death… Steve Sic’s (Omnia) motto used to be: Create or Die. I can really relate to that.

The snippet was framed with visuals by Rhaenys Redleaf. May we hope that this is a precursor to a first actual video by L.E.A.F.?
There are some rumours that I will all of a sudden hike into a snowy forest in Southern Germany with some genius film friends with RED cameras attached to flying drones to shoot some footage of pine forests on an actual mountain and perform some weird occult stuff… We will see.

There will undoubtedly be opportunities in 2015 to enjoy your music live. This last year we have seen Dutch bands such as Omnia, Rapalje and Cesair move more and more abroad. What are your aspirations concerning foreign soil?
With Folk Noir I have already had a lot of opportunity to perform abroad. I’m familiar with lots of foreign festivals, among other reasons because I’ve worked as a crew member and guest for bands such as Faun and Omnia for several years. This pays off, as I can approach festivals organizers directly and point out cool new Dutch projects. L.E.A.F. is already familiar enough to be very welcome at festivals in Germany, Belgium, the USA and multiple locations in Scandinavia. This is actually a rather funny and glaring contrast with the small festival scene in the Netherlands where newcomers to the folk scene are almost fighting for a spot and play for almost no money or terms. It’s remarkable that you often see the same bands booked, while there’s such a wide range of high-quality and diverse bands to choose from. I personally think that this is a shame. Then again, this surplus of bands also provides some very cool new initiatives because bands now organize their own concert nights where the listener gets treated to a very unique experience. How cool is that? Next year L.E.A.F. will be playing on some festivals in Germany and we’re already discussing some very cool German offers for 2016. But the focus for L.E.A.F. this year will mainly be on the album. You only do that once. There will always be time to perform live, and we’re simply putting that off until we’ve finished the album. That is truly our main priority now.

And then maybe there will come a day when you get to take the music back to its area of origin. Have you ever played your songs to the Northerners? And what was their response?
Yes, but that was only me at Viking markets in Norway. The reactions were positive and emotional. I’ve also had the chance of being a guest musician for Wardruna for their concerts in Norway this summer. We have a few beautiful offers for L.E.A.F. to play there, but the distance makes it a challenge to realise. Who knows, maybe one day…

And for all the people who are anxious to start the New Year well: how will the entire new track be made available?
The crowd-funding won’t start until later in 2015, as we were advised not to do this exactly on New Year’s Day, because it is a time when people are less active on social media and one is less likely to invest. That’s why the teaser will be released on our YouTube channel to enthuse people for the new album, but we won’t start the crowd-funding just yet. The track will be made available at a later stage through the crowd-funding.

LEAF bandphoto CAVES
Band info:
The Dutch Folkband L.E.A.F makes ‘Nordic Paganfolk’ using ancient texts and traditonal folksongs to enchant their audience. L.E.A.F plays on historical folk instruments, such as the Swedish Nyckelharpa, Celtic Harp, Hammered dulcimer, Acoustic guitar and irish bouzouki, powerful Fiddle, Kraviklyra, overtone flutes, shamanic drums and more.

L.E.A.F consists of:

Kati Ran (frontwoman, former member and co-founder of Folk Noir with Oliver S. Tyr of FAUN)
Vocals, Hammered Dulcimer, Nyckelharpa, Sami-drum, Frame drum, Irish Bodhrán, (overtone) flutes.

Nilla Flowerface
Vocals, Violin, overtone flute

Chloé Bakker
Celtic harp, Bodhrán, Hammered Dulcimer

Philip Xander (former member of OMNIA)
Acoustic Guitar, DADGAD guitar, Darabuka, Frame drum, additional vocals

Marijn Sies
Drums & Percussion, such as Cajon, Frame drum, Davul, Darbukka, additional vocals

Winter has come – Arjan

MWF omslag A cold but beautiful winter-morning. With sunglasses on and singing along loudly to some great folk sounds playing on the car stereo I’m on my way to one of the last large events of the year, the Midwinter Fair at Archeon in Alphen aan de Rijn in the Netherlands. I can’t wait to see my folk-family again, to feel that feeling of home that is so different from all other “homes” yet always feels so familiar.

Archeon is an open air history museum covering roughly the time period from the stone age up to medieval times. Its collection of buildings, from bronze age farms through a Roman bath house and inn, all the way to a medieval cloister, provide such a great backdrop for this festival that you can just imagine yourself actually being transported back to these earlier times.

Upon arrival the first thing that you notice, apart from the very friendly staff, is the wonderful smell of wood-fires burning everywhere. It is after all a Midwinter Fair, so some added heat is required. Every few hundred meters there is a fire burning, with extra wood supplied, so that if you want you can build the fire a bit higher to warm up. This combined with so many happy people, many of which are clad in stunning costumes, makes the cold air fade to the background and warms the heart.

Picture by Kees Stravers

Picture by Kees Stravers

Right at the entrance we were greeted by the musicians of Datura. Welcome home! After a quick chat it was off to our first performance indoors for the day, Sowulo in the cloister. As we have come to expect from this band this was a heart-warming and soothing performance, with their spiritually inspired sounds blending perfectly with the smell of incense and a candle lit room. Ok, I know there was electric lighting as well, but the were candles and I’m trying to convey a feeling here, give me a break


Picture by Kees Stravers

Picture by Kees Stravers

After this performance there was a little bit of time to walk around to sniff the atmosphere and get some quick lunch, after which it was time to get back to that same cloister for a show by Einar Selvik, best known for being the man behind the formation of Wardruna. During the show the emphasis is not so much on the music itself, but heavily on the stories and the lore behind the instruments and the poetry. Einar performs with a passion for the music, and he certainly succeeds in conveying that passion onto the audience. I’ve been looking and thinking hard to find the correct words to describe the performance. Moving, touching, emotional, these come close but don’t do it much justice. Best way to describe it is: Do yourself a favour and go to one (or many) of his performances!

Picture by Kees Stravers

Picture by Kees Stravers

The stage was quickly converted for the next sound-check and performance. Kaunan is a new formation, these were their first performances, but with very experienced musicians. It’s a new side project by Oliver s. Tyr from FAUN, playing Nordic Folk in somewhat of a more old school style than his more modern musical endeavours. Great music to sit and listen to, but also to dance to! As they are so new they do not yet have any music recorded, but as soon as they have an album you can be sure we will add it to our play-list!

Picture by Kees Stravers

Picture by Kees Stravers

After this we walked around for a bit and as so often happens we met so many old and new friends that we missed a lot of performances. Unfortunately we can’t be in more than one or two places at a time. The evening then turned to a more personal note as we attended a beautiful handfasting. Well, I, Arjan, attended, as Alex was actually the one getting handfasted. 😉

And then the first festival day ended with a smashing show by The Dolmen at the Roman inn. Hard hitting pagan rockers from Britain, these guys, and girl of course, always know how to make a party! They almost blew the roof with their great music and experienced showmanship!


The second day started surprisingly similar to the first one, all be it rather late after an impressive Saturday, we overslept, we’re only human 😉 Sowulo is a band we can easily visit twice in one weekend, so that was our chosen method of waking up. Besides being great musicians they are also just amazing people and good friends, so a nice chat ended up in us stepping across the threshold for the next performance just as they played their last note. But the guys and girl of Pyrolysis were nice people too, so we agreed that they would give us a little heads up right before their next, and final, performance of the day so that we could see them live.

Picture by Kees Stravers

Picture by Kees Stravers

Quick lunchtime again and then back to the cloister for L.E.A.F.. Their show on the previous day at the Roman inn had been plagued by technical difficulties, resulting in a short performance. Not so on this Sunday. No matter how often you see these amazing musicians perform, their desire to reach perfection shows every time, and it’s always a joy to experience. Surprising to me, yet very fitting, were their renditions of songs by Trolska Polska and Virelai. A feast for the ears! Somehow, organically, the room divided itself. People were sitting and listening right in front of the stage, where left from the stage a sort of dance area formed. To the right there was room for those who came in a bit too late to sit down to stand, and so everyone could get the full effect of the show that they wanted!

With only a short thirty minutes before the next performance, again in the cloister, we raced out to do some shopping, because let’s face it, how can you go to a fair and not buy something like for instance some great mead for back home? We made it back just in time for the start of this day’s performance by Kaunan. Oliver s. Tyr (DE), Göran Hallmarken (SE) and Boris Koller (AUT) used their self-described “archaic” instruments to create an atmosphere that completely fitted the theme of the fair for this year, Vikings. With eyes closed the cloister almost turned into a longhouse and I would definitely love to see an extended show of this great new group!

Picture by Don Bakhuizen

Picture by Don Bakhuizen

Right after this performance we received the heads up I mentioned earlier, that Pyrolysis was about to start their final show, so it was off to the Roman bath house which by this time was filled with candles. Originally formed in 2010 as a folk-punk band these four guys and one girl play a very good acoustic set and we had loads of fun listening to them. It was extremely hard to keep myself from moving along to the music while I was trying to record some video. Work of their own, and well known traditionals, it was just pure fun being there!

A race back to, yet again, the cloister, because Einar Selvik was playing again. And judging by the crowd, many people had heard of his amazing performance the day before, because the cloister was pretty much full. The performance itself was just as moving as it was on Saturday, but being able to share that with such a large group of people was amazing. The emotions that Einar placed in his music and his singing reverberated through the entire crowd and probably also back to him, as this was fast becoming one of the most touching shows ever. After it was over, which was way too soon, there was a well-deserved standing ovation, and there were many people, including the both of us, left in tears from the massive emotional roller-coaster. Thank you Einar, thank you so very much for this experience!

20141207-001 Campfire Coming down from this emotional high we unfortunately missed the closing act of the fair, Rapalje. A shame, because these guys know how to make a party! Fortunately the CeltCast family extends beyond just the two of us, so I’m glad to report that the Roman inn was packed full from front to back, with everybody dancing and moving along to the music. With candles on all the tables and that typical Rapalje madness it certainly was a party!

This is however somewhat of a continuous thread through the Midwinter Fair, albeit a positive one. There is so much to be seen, in so little time, that you are bound to miss some great shows and events. And that’s just the music! How about the many stands selling all sorts of lovely things, the story tellers, the costumes, the Kid’s Quest, the LARP’ers, the wedding chapel, just too much to talk about without this report turning into a book 😉 I guess in the end there’s just one more thing to say. It has been an amazing weekend, and we are already looking forward to next year’s Midwinter Fair!

– Arjan

Pictures courtesy of:

Kees Stravers

Don Bakhuizen

Omnia in Bochum – Kees

2014-11-27 Kees - Omnia (750p)
We are still floating on Midwinter goodness, working on getting our words written down.
In the mean time please enjoy this latest contribution by Kees:
I went to see Omnia in Matrix Bochum on 27-11-2014. It was quite a while ago since I saw them last, and Bochum is not too far away from Eindhoven, so it should not have been a problem. However, it turned out to be quite the adventure.

I was a bit worried that I would not be able to leave on time from work, since I was in a loooong meeting. Fortunately it ended on time. But after that it was all downhill. I started my car at 17.15 and should have been in Bochum at 19.00, but the traffic was really horrible. It rained a bit and for some reason that makes everyone drive very slow it seems. There was a horrible traffic jam around Eindhoven, the road to Venlo was packed with trucks, and there was an ever bigger traffic jam on the A40 around Essen. Judging from the amount of Polizei and Notartzt cars that were racing by it must have been quite the traffic accident. When I finally arrived at Bochum it was 20.30 and Omnia had been playing for half an hour already. Matrix shares a parking lot with a supermarket and of course the lot was jam packed with cars. I had to circle it for quite a while before someone finally left and I got a spot for my car.

Then when I arrived at Matrix the security wouldn’t let me in because I had brought a SLR camera and they only allowed compacts and phones. I was able to get around that because Daphyd had made a pass for me proving Omnia invited me to come take photos. When I was finally in, I had to go down an incredible amount of stairs to go to the hall the band played in. When I got there, it turned out to be a very narrow and long tunnel with Omnia at the far end, and the entire tunnel was filled with crazy dancing, singing, and jumping Omnia fans. I almost gave up at this point, they were packed closer together than sardines in a can, and it was incredibly hot and humid in there.

But I dived in anyway. If I only wanted to listen to Omnia, I might as well just listen to a CD. With a lot of trouble and bumping in to people I managed to make it to within ten yards of the stage. It was impossible to get any further. On the way someone had accidentally pushed me to the wall, and that had jarred my F2.8 zoom lens so much that it would no longer focus, so I had to use my F4 spare to try and take some photos. (I am by now well versed in changing lenses while in the middle of a pandemonium.)

Fortunately from this point on the situation improved a lot. I was able to make it to the bar at the left side of the tunnel, and they had air conditioning! A very welcome breath of fresh air. I decided to stay at that spot then and there and enjoy the music. Even though most of the band had not fully recovered from their flu, they put up a great show with enormous fire and enthusiasm and they really worked the crowd up to a frenzy. Some songs were livened up by Kelvin Kalvus, the crystal ball contact juggler, who even performed blindfolded during one song, and never dropped a ball during all his crazy stunts. The sound equipment of Matrix was very good, Omnia sounded a lot better than they usually did at the MPS. I managed to take a few photos, and when the concert was over, I met my friends, and after the signing there was time for a chat with the band.

Matrix security had shown themselves from their good side then, because one of the fans that had visited the concert was a lovely woman in a wheelchair, and security had carried her all the way down the stairs for the concert and back up again after it was over, that was very nice of them. Faith in humanity restored!

Now I’ll have a look at my photos, I hope there’s a few good ones among them.

– Kees

For more photo’s, check:


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