Celt n Folk X

Remember that enthusiastic report that Jan van Offeren made for us of his visit to Trolls & Légendes? Well, he also visited CELT-N-FOLK at Poppodium De Meester in Almere, and he was just as enthusiastic in writing about that!
You can read about his first real encounter with Sowulo, about his relived RASTABAN experience and of course his love, Cesair, and how they once again rocked the stage with their musical perfection and their vibrant stage show.
Of course he also speaks of the performances in the smaller room by Tipsy Gipsy (BE) and Robert den Hartigh (NL), and also gives tips for those interested in going to the next edition of this great indoor festival.

Flyer (750p) Who among us dares to claim that indoor theaters are only a pass-time to ease the waiting for the outdoor festival power? Not me any more…certainly not after Carolien and I visited the, to us so far unknown, CELT-N-FOLK in Almere! This might just be the exception(al) to the rule, but at the risk of sounding like a cliché, nothing could be farther from the truth. It is a beautifully set up indoor festival, easily reachable and with loads of parking space, I’ll advise you to park in the nearby parking garage, cheap and safe!

The entrée fee was, especially in pre-sale, a nice and friendly €7, €10 at the door, for which one got to see and hear a lot of beauty! We were very much on time, partly because of an early departure, and partly because of the ease at parking. The doors opened on time by a friendly yet stern security guard. Just to be safe I had decided to wear my every day clothes and after my experience at Trolls et Légendes I had left my arms and armour at home. Carolien was allowed to bring in her (large) purse, even though it did have to get checked first.

The first room we entered was upstairs. It wasn’t overly large but decorated completely in Folk-style, immediately feeling very familiar. Drinks could be purchased with coins that could be bought from a machine. These could not be changed back for money at the end of the evening, which could be an inconvenience to all but regular visitors, as they would be able to use them on any other night. The music here that played between and after the performances was good and certainly adapted to the event, to give some examples: Irfan, Faun and Stellamara.

photo by Kees Stravers

photo by Kees Stravers

Sowulo were the first to perform and gave a beautiful show, preceded by a gorgeous ritual. We had never seen them perform even though, at the advice of the “well informed” we had bought their music at the Gothic & Fantasy Beurs in Rijswijk. Their music, mainly instrumental, is very appealing! The live performance was very good, though just like with the other bands the transition from music into “the talk after the show” would leave us shaking from the bass, if just for a moment. But I’ll say that Sowulo is a great addition to our “knowledge bank of bands” with their mainly very calm music.

photo by Don Bakhuizen

photo by Don Bakhuizen

photo by Karin Den Hartigh Zegers

photo by Karin Den Hartigh Zegers

During the breaks, because of the resetting of the main stage, one could enjoy performances by Tipsy Gipsy (BE) and Robert den Hartigh (NL) in the smaller room, which was certainly worth it. These will one day certainly outgrow these smaller rooms. Though I could not listen to everything completely due to circumstances, what the hammer and anvil in my ears did pick up certainly was a well-forged sound!

photo by Kees Stravers

photo by Kees Stravers

The second act of the evening was RASTABAN. Just like during the previously mentioned Trolls & Légendes, where I saw them a first time, a very complete show where, despite the fact that this was an away game for the mainly Belgian band, they spoiled the crowd and really gave them lots of joy! I’m already anxiously awaiting there next CD, even though we only purchased our first one this evening! So RASTABAN, we will keep a close eye on you!

photo by Kees Stravers

photo by Kees Stravers

As last act for this evening Cesair was to turn off the lights but, and I suspect some degree of chauvinism in this, before the lights went off (or on, actually) they did manage to energise the crowd even though they had been tired after a long night of Folk, and the audience spontaneously joined in all forms of joy and happiness. With their beautiful sounds, singing and show, and their joyful appearance, they brought the audience into motion and ecstasy, and they were rewarded (like the other artists) after an even more enthusiastically played encore with a long and amazing applause.

Whomever says that Pagan Folk isn’t much, I’ll certainly disagree with them, especially after an evening like this, with 3 bands of this calibre, and some great up and coming artists. I would recommend anyone to get to know this great music, and a world where one keeps meeting beautiful and happy people!

Thank you for reading this, and I hope to see you at a next festival, where we can just be ourselves and can be amazed that joy can be experienced in such a versatile way.

– Jan van Offeren


Kees Stravers

Don Bakhuizen

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

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: http://www.pbase.com/kees_s/omniabochum

Maya & Hilversumse Orkest Vereniging – Kees

2014-11-09 Kees - Maya (750p)
We all know Maya Fridman from her collaboration with Jyoti Verhoeff, and the brilliant concert they gave at Paradiso Amsterdam where their new album Riven was presented. They were accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra Midden Holland and choir, resulting in a really wonderful and magical event. Jyoti and Maya also were finalists in the Grote Prijs van Nederland, the longest running pop music competition from The Netherlands aimed at recognizing new talents, where Maya won the prize of Best Musician.

Maya Fridman was born in Moscow and has been playing the cello from a very young age. She was soon recognized as a gifted child and was taken under the wings of the Foundation of Yuri Bashmet, a well known conductor and violinist who teaches at the Moscow Conservatory. In 2009 Maya graduated from the Schnittke Moscow State College of Music, where she had won many awards and obtained excellent grades during her music school and college years. Since 2010 she studies at the Amsterdam Conservatory, where she is currently working on her Masters.

Next to her collaboration with Jyoti that we know her from, Maya plays many different kinds of music. She also is a member of the jazz trio DINOSAUR, with which she toured Ireland last summer. She will be guest starring at the German folk band FAUN’s tour in 2015, and plays with them on six tracks of their new album Luna. She is working on a CD with a sonata by Schnittke, which is written in a unique style, combining serious and light music. But playing classical music is her speciality. By coincidence I found out she would be performing at a concert by the Hilversumse Orkest Vereniging, at the Morgensterkerk in Hilversum, so I just had to go and hear this performance.

The piece to be performed was Schumann’s Cello Concerto in A minor and it was really amazing to hear Maya play it. It is the most complicated piece I ever heard her play. It has very calm and meditative parts but it can suddenly switch to very agitated and back. It has three movements but they are played as one piece without breaks, lasting 22 minutes. It is very intense and Maya had to work very hard, but she pulled it off brilliantly. And she did it all by heart, she was the only one without the sheet music in front of her. The audience rewarded her with a thunderous applause when it was done.

To hear it played with a real orchestra was wonderful, there is no stereo set that can reproduce the sound of the real thing. There were no amplifiers or equipment like that, just a hall that was well made to sound good. The Morgensterkerk is a great location for concerts. And thanks to conductor Paul van der Reijden, the Hilversumse Orkest Vereniging really outdid themselves with this piece supporting Maya.

During the break afterwards I heard from one of the other guests, who knew the concerto very well, that Maya had added some small embellishments to the piece here and there, which made it even more beautiful, and that the conductor had masterfully guided the orchestra along with them.

It was well worth the trip and I hope I can hear Maya play again soon.

Of course I made some photo’s which you can find in this album.

– Kees


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