Professional Slovenian tenor Ambrož Bajec-Lapajne recently put a video of him undergoing an ‘awake craniotomy’ where he was asked to sing in order to ensure a successful surgery.
Bajec-Lapajne, who is now fully recovered, was diagnosed with a brain tumour over a year ago. In this video, the music neuro team of the UMC was also involved in order to assist the surgery, like a medical DJ.
“I sing two (first and last) couplets of Schubert’s lied ‘Gute Nacht’ [The first lied of Schubert’s Die Winterreise (‘The Winter Journey’): the minor-major transition in order to see if I can still recognise the key change. All is fine until 2:40 when things start to get very interesting…”
I’m a big fan of Die Winterreise, especially sung by German Hans Hotter (bass-baritone), but it would be great to see Bajec-Lapajne in concert some day.
There’s no blood and guts in this video, consider it ‘safe for work’, and he sings a few times:
To all the unilingual English speakers who keep saying they can’t learn Dutch after years of being here, maybe you should take a page from these American kids: fake it until it sounds vaguely Dutch. Top tip: don’t be afraid of sounding or looking stupid, either. Half way through the video the guys get asked questions about the song, a bit like a Dutch exam, but with more adult content.
‘Drank & Drugs’ (‘Booze and Drugs’) by Lil Kleine & Ronnie Flex is going viral, and we’re joining in. The first guy can at least says something remotely Dutch on the beat, while the second guy can’t seem to get it right. OK, the ‘spaghetti’ bit is funny.
It’s not ‘impossible to translate’ as the link suggests, considering many words are Dutchified English words anyway, but booze, drugs and bitches (“if they are bitches,” says the first guy) is common fare, pardon the pun.
At this year’s edition of the dance festival Mysteryland in Noord-Holland in August, a volunteer-run organisation called 10,000 hours will let ‘grandfathers and grandmothers with DJ aspirations’ take a turn at the CD players, and no, not at the turntables like Parool would like us to believe.
Parool: ‘Seniors with DJ aspirations can cut loose at the turntables during Mysteryland’
Me: ‘No turntables, it’s CD players or USB sticks. No vinyl.’
Parool: ‘Maybe some of the seniors still have records at home :-)’
Seniors, if you have records at home you don’t want, get in touch with me and I’ll totally visit you.
Festival-goers have been asked to help senior citizens this July at retirement homes. DJ and ambassador of 10,000 hours Nicky Romero will go and shake non-alcoholic cocktails at a retirement home to do his part, so I say let senior citizens take a crack at putting a USB stick into a CD player in front of the kids.
Although the idea of seniors spinning dance music is amusing and maybe some of them can actually do a good job, the heat, volume and crowds don’t seem like the coolest thing to be subjecting seniors to for any reason. I do hope someone proves me wrong.
And remember, get in touch with me for those old records.
Cafe Averechts in Utrecht has been around since the 1980s and continues to flourish amidst dwindling profits in the hospitality sector. The cafe’s ‘reverse’ approach to profit-making is the key to their brand of success: it is entirely run by volunteers.
Before anyone thinks ‘why would anyone work for free’, it is important to know that all pop venues in the country rely on volunteers. If you were to remove all pop venues that make a loss in the Netherlands, not a single one would be left standing and the country would be a cultural desert. Even the Paradiso in Amsterdam is subsidised by the city and in order to enjoy a favourable tax rebate as such, patrons pay a membership fee with their tickets. That’s right, the most famous Dutch club in the world needs government money.
During the week Averechts features a small stage with music, poetry and the likes as well as vegetarian food (vegan on demand) at a low cost. It also has lots of beers and more than 20 kinds of whiskey. All profits made go straight to charities and any tips are doubled (you put in one euro, the house matches it, we imagine) to send even more money their way.
Averechts is also a great place to celebrate King’s Day if you’re in Utrecht.
This week Amsterdam’s Luna Zegers, 40, has graduated as the first ever non Spanish flamenco singer from the ESMUC conservatory in Barcelona, a top Catalonian music institution.
A few years ago Luna move to Spain, where people call her Luna instead of her real first name Lonneke, after graduating from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam as a jazz singer. At the ESMUC only one student a year is admitted, but in the year Zegers applied, the institution let two singers in, and she was one of them.
Zegers had to work hard as a Dutchwoman entering a foreign space as well as study half of her courses in Spanish and the other in Catalan. She says she found what she looking for in the expression of flamenco after losing her father, mother and sister in a very short time span. “Jazz is very polished – that started to bother me. I was looking for something rawer. Flamenco is a mix of lamentation about things like death and unbridled joy. For the level-headed Dutch this is quite an intense form of expression.”
Here’s Luna Zeger with ‘El Amor Dolido’ from the ballet ‘El Amor Brujo’ by Manuel de Falla:
This spring, Dutch artist Kenny B released a Dutch song entitled ‘Paris’ with interspersed French words, filmed in Paris. He meets a girl who happens to be ‘Néerlandaise’ (Dutch) and goes on to sing ‘Praat Nederlands met mij’ (‘Speak Dutch with me’), which should become the new mantra of many struggling to practice their Dutch. Kenny B often mentions in the media that he doesn’t like the qualifier ‘Suriname-born’ as he is Dutch, although he does have a characteristic pronunciation from his background, which adds to his appeal.
Then, there’s a short but sweet Groningen cover version by Michael, sung in local dialect Grunnegs. It’s going viral and we’ve jumped on the bandwagon. Yes, it needs more verses and I want more versions: Internet, do your thing!
After the Pentecost holiday on May 24 and 25, Rhea Elise Khoeblal expects her plan to have the city of Nijmegen place 12 pianos around town to be approved and carried out. The city is still dealing with the permits, and the pianos will stay put for three weeks.
Last year the city had five pianos around town and it was such a success that this year they want to have more pianos at locations such as the Radboud University, the Van Schaeck Mathonsingel, in Brakkenstein parc, the Dukenburg shopping mall and at the Honig food company.
Amsterdam Central Station, Utrecht Central Station and a few other train stations have pianos, which attracts all kinds of happy onlookers. In 2011 Tilburg let pianos take over the streets much to the delight of local residents and visitors.
Seasoned Arnhem stop motion filmmaker Mascha Halberstad is up for a Berlin Music Video Award 2015 thanks to a video she made for the UK band The Prodigy of their song ‘Wild Frontier’. Frontman Liam Howlett asked her personally to make the video, and according to De Gelderlander, she is a favourite to win the German award.
Featured on the album ‘The Day Is My Enemy’ from February 2015, here’s ‘Wild Frontier':
With no controversy or mudslinging in sight, pop and jazz singer Trijntje Oosterhuis is going to represent the Netherlands at the Eurovision Song Festival 2015 in Vienna with the song ‘Walk Along’. The lyrics were written by pop singer Anouk who represented the Netherlands in 2013 with the song ‘Birds’ and took ninth place. The music for ‘Walk Along’ was written by Swedish-born California-based heavyweight songwriter Tobias Karlsson.
Last year’s second place win ‘Calm After the Storm’ by The Common Linnets, which received its share of criticism, is now the one to beat. Unfortunately, there’s nothing special about ‘Walk Along': it sounds like typical Dutch radio music, it’s well interpreted by Oosterhuis and some say it’s a bit catchy. However, the chorus is too repetitive (‘ay ay ay’). I think it’s going to flop because it’s sound like everything else on the radio in many countries.
The song that popped in my head when I heard ‘Walk Along’ was Natalie Imburglia’s ‘Torn’, originally written and recorded by American band Ednaswap, which I had to look up and realised that version was way better.
I was wrong last year about The Common Linnets whose song went down really well abroad and the Internet has a lot of positive comments for Oosterhuis, so judge for yourselves:
‘How Metallica raised hell in De Westereen’ in Frisian with English subtitles gives you an idea of how laid back Frisians can be and how that worked to history’s advantage, like it did for Metallica.
This historical gig featured Twisted Sister as the opening act by mistake, making their hit song ‘We’re not gonna to take it’ that much more amusing, accidentally giving Metallica their first headliner in Europe. The bookers said to themselves, “they’ll be just as big as Iron Maiden”, and they were right.
The local church was less amused about having a ‘hard metal rock band’ play on Whitsun and asked the city to revoke the license for the show. The bookers’ answer to that was “but the Bible doesn’t say: Thou shalt not organise a hard rock concert” and
“church organs are loud, too”.
You’d assume the problems with the show for the church would be the lyrics because back in the 1980s all that devil talk was often banned. However, the Frisians in the documentary didn’t really understand the lyrics, so they didn’t care. The reverend at the time just thought it was too loud and not the best choice without any ranting and raving about blaspehmy like they did in the US at the time.
After looking at a few pictures, Metallica’s James Hetfield talks about hanging out with the fans, having a few beers and this one guy with real wooden clogs on.
Even if you’re not a metal fan, this video is still a great story.
‘How Metallica raised hell in De Westereen’ (English subtitles):