advertisement

May 10, 2016

Dutch Eurovision rehearsal video leaked by Russia

Filed under: Music by Orangemaster @ 1:29 pm

We told you about the Dutch Eurovision entry from 23-year-old Douwe Bob from Amsterdam and we thought this year there wouldn’t be any fuss about wardrobe malfunctions or plagiarism, but oh no, there’s a scandal.

Apparently the Russian jury members leaked a video of them rating Douwe Bob’s entire performance at the general rehearsal, which was not supposed to happen. Большое спасибо, Russia!

Some people are pissed that the video was leaked, others like the bookies get some inside information about Douwe Bob’s chances. As we said recently, ‘Slow Down’ is nice, but not an earworm.

UPDATE: Douwe Bob has made it to the final.

Here’s the leaked video:

,

(Link: www.rtvnh.nl, Photo of Microphone by visual dichotomy, some rights reserved)

Tags: , ,

April 27, 2016

Alternative King’s Song by Truus de Groot

Filed under: Music by Branko Collin @ 11:02 am

kings-song-truus-de-grootTo celebrate Willem-Alexander’s inauguration as king of the Netherlands in 2013 a song was commissioned, the King’s Song, which turned out to be quite the disaster. The committee of wise people asked to initiate the festivities decided that everybody and their dog should be in the song and as a result, the song became a hodgepodge of ill-fitting and often downright ungrammatical phrases.

Truus de Groot felt the song was “rather dreary” and chose to write her own version. De Groot, a Dutch experimental musician living in the US, is known for playing the kraakdoos. In the late 1970s she was a member of the Foolsband, which would later become famous under the name Doe Maar.

(Photo: crop of a frame of the video)

Tags: , , , ,

April 23, 2016

Dutch Eurovision entry is nice, but will it do?

Filed under: Music by Orangemaster @ 9:58 pm

This year’s Eurovision Song Festival entry is from 23-year-old Douwe Bob from Amsterdam who will perform his song ‘Slow Down’, which is in English and sounds a lot like country music with a touch of the 1970s. He’s popular, has won a lot of prizes, seems really positive about his chances, but his song is not an earworm. I do like his pronunciation, although his lyrics are too simplistic for my taste. Then again, that’s probably good considering the level of people’s English at Eurovision.

The comments on YouTube are very positive and we’ve been wrong before. I can’t seem to remember the song after a few listens. Problem is, ‘J’ai cherché’, the French entry by Amir is an earworm for me even though it has a television commercial quality to it, and the chorus is in English. A few others have more sticking potential like ‘You Are the Only One’ by Sergey Lazarev of Russia, a typical dramatic Eurovision techno song, with a break, a bridge, and the almost obligatory modulation near the end.

Will it blend or not? Give Douwe Bob a spin:

(Links: www.eurovision.tv, Photo of Microphone by visual dichotomy, some rights reserved)

Tags: , ,

February 25, 2016

Singing off-key is also a thing in the Netherlands

Filed under: Music by Orangemaster @ 10:39 am

The Netherlands has had the imported idea of a choir for people who can’t sing since at least the summer of 2015, according to newspaper AD. The band of bad singers is called Geen Gehoor, a great Dutch double entendre roughly meaning ‘nobody hears you’ (also ‘not getting an answer on the phone’) and ‘it sounds terrible’. The choir mostly attracts the 50 plus set, and the choir practices in the Westland area near The Hague.

Founder Nico Meijer makes an excellent point: people who can’t sing should be able to sing somewhere. And the Internet will tell you how much singing is good for your mood even if you sing off-key. It also makes for a great comedy show.

Have a listen to their first ever live show:

(Links: www.ad.nl-1, www.ad.nl-2, Photo of Microphone by visual dichotomy, some rights reserved)

Tags: , ,

February 18, 2016

Learn good Dutch grammar with rock music

Filed under: General,Literature,Music by Orangemaster @ 5:12 pm

Dutch spelling is often a headache for many people from foreigners to children because it officially changes a lot. A series aimed at children called ‘Snap je?’ (‘Get it?’) deals with the dreaded conjugation of verbs where after the root of the verb there’s a ‘d’ or ‘t’ added to it, something that is tough to get right.

Dutch verbs with a stem ending in ‘d’ add a ‘t’ for the second and third person singular, but it does not change the pronunciation because ‘d’ at the end of a word is pronounced like a ‘t’, while ‘dt’ is pronounced as ‘t’, according to a quick explanation from Hear Dutch Here. In other words we often can’t hear the difference between the ‘d’ and ‘t’ at the end of any word because ‘d’ is voiced and ‘t’ is voiceless and it gets worse when you have ‘dt’ together. Getting any of this wrong is commonly referred to as a ‘d-t mistake’ in Dutch. It also makes a difference in tense in some words, so it is a big deal to get it right.

For anyone who knows French, when we get stuck with how to write the ending of a verb in the right tense we use the verb ‘vendre’ (‘to sell’) as a default and then conjugate our chosen verb accordingly. The Dutch in this video suggest the exact same with the verb ‘lopen’ (‘to walk’). And then there’s the fact that the band from Nijmegen De Staat wrote the music behind these fun grammar lessons, so give it a whirl.

(Link: www.ed.nl)

Tags: , , ,

February 14, 2016

Chiptune pioneer Jeroen Tel took on the British gaming giants

Filed under: History,IT,Music by Branko Collin @ 11:53 pm

hawkeye-boys-wo-brainsIn the 1980s a couple of famous rivalries were fought out in the media and on the playground: Coke vs. Pepsi, Michael Jackson vs. Prince, Commodore 64 vs. the ZX Spectrum. And if you had the former, Rob Hubbard versus Martin Galway.

During the era of the 8-bit home computer, the Commodore 64 ruled supreme. To this day it remains the best-selling computer model of all time. Part of what made the Commodore 64 great was the fact that its sound chip, named SID, could do more than just produce the odd beep, as it was a fully featured polyphonic synthesizer. In the hurried run up to the release of the computer in 1982, designer Bob Yannes had to make compromises, but the result was still more than competitive. (Yannes later helped make the Ensonic ESQ-1 which did have the features he had originally wanted for the Commodore 64).

Games in those days were often made by and for the British market, and British game music composers were known by name to the public, more so even than the games’ programmers or artists. Everybody had an opinion about which of these composers was better, Rob Hubbard or Martin Galway. Contrarians opted for Ben Dalglish.

And in 1988 the Maniacs of Noise popped onto the scene, two boys from the Netherlands, Charles Deenen from Holthees and Jeroen Tel from Helmond, Noord-Brabant. Deenen was the programming genius who created the machine code sound player, Tel was the composer of numerous tunes such as the theme music for Cybernoid II and Hawkeye (by Dutch software house The Boys Without Brains) and the demo song Kinetix (see above).

In an interview with Tweakers.net last November, Tel said that though he had written hundreds of songs, “all the music I wrote for the Commodore 64 is 750 kilobytes combined when compressed in a RAR file.”

Tel’s attraction for programmable music started with the Casio watch, which had tunes for each day of the week. “I liked the discreteness of it. The discreteness of oscillators. So it turns out this was programmable. Mind blown. This is what I wanted to do.”

Gaming companies knew well how to exploit the teenage heroes that created their properties. Tel said, “you never get royalties. You get a lump sum and that is it. When you make music for films or television, you get paid for the broadcast rights. With games it’s more like, here, have 20,000 euro while we make a billion. And that’s only if you are one of the better composers.”

“I had no business sense, but how was I to know the value of money? What child does? If you had 10 guilders in your hand, right then and there, you were happy. And I was holding 1000 guilders in my hand. I was happy.”

Arriving in 1988 ensured that the name Tel (and that of his colleague, Reyn Ouwehand) was not on the tip of everybody’s tongue. The active life of the Commodore 64 would be another four years, insanely long for any computer platform. People were already getting into 16-bit machines, the first of which, the Apple Macintosh, was introduced in 1984. These new computers had the memory and speed to play long tracks made using samples. Tel nevertheless managed to get his name into the Top 100 List of SID tunes 13 times, twice even in the Top 10.

(Illustration: detail of the game Hawkeye)

Tags: , , ,

February 8, 2016

Carnival hits shunned by Dutch radio

Filed under: Music by Orangemaster @ 3:34 pm

Although carnival is winding down, the plethora of hits used to prop it up over the past few days never made it onto the Dutch music charts. The song ‘Feestmuts’ (‘Party Hat’) from the Snollebollekes was the exception at No. 86 in the GfK Single Top 100 (video below). It’s apparently fine that tons of businesses make good money off carnival music, but it’s shameful to publicly recognise that it does because radio stations would, what, rather push the Dunglish they pass off as third-rate American music?

Carnival music executive Van de Berk of Berk Music is outraged and blames the rigid rules of radio stations for ignoring them, while some 5 million people celebrate carnival in The Netherlands and hundreds of thousands watch all kinds of carnival YouTube videos. “We understand that radio stations don’t want to play carnival music all day, but one number here and there should be possible. Maybe the broadcast tower should move from Hilversum to Eindhoven! (The Dutch media is concentrated in Hilversum, North Holland as opposed to carnival-savvy Noord-Brabant where Eindhoven is located).

Berk Music has recently awarded the Lawineboys a gold record for 15,000 sold copies of their hit ‘Sex Met Die Kale’ (‘Sex with that bald one’), an adapted cover of ‘Sex on Fire’ by Kings of Leon.

If you like videos shot in mini-vans, watch Snollebollekes do their thing. Beer helps.

(Link: www.entertainmentbusiness.nl)

Tags: , ,

January 18, 2016

Carnival song says refugees came for the beer

Filed under: Food & Drink,Music by Orangemaster @ 12:45 pm

carnaval21

Noord-Brabant student singers Grenzeloos Gek have made the news with their carnival song ‘Vluchtelingen uit Aleppo’ (‘Refugees from Aleppo’). They can’t sing on key and dance around a touchy subject, but so far they’ve not caused any actual controversy except for fueling the annual carnival lovers vs. carnival haters ping pong online.

Here’s a rough translation of the chorus:

“Refugees from Aleppo, over the mountains so high
Refugees from Aleppo, farmers, bakers and biologists
They’re coming here for four days of beer.”

It’s about a bunch of white male Dutch students drawing attention to themselves with a sub-par song using a ripped off melody and a hot topic. It’s about drinking beer and having fun and singing as flat as a carnival beer. The song amusingly implies that refugees drink beer when in fact a lot of them probably don’t and didn’t flee for their lives for a few watered down carnival beers with frat boys. I’m still wondering if this would have worked with a bunch of white Dutch girls: depending on their looks, they’d been written off or tolerated because of them.

Last year we had a few zingers. We’ll keep you posted this year.

Refugees from Aleppo is sung to the tune of the famous Dutch song ‘Una Paloma Blanca’ by George Baker Selection, better known by the younger generations for ‘Little Green Bag’.

Listen to ‘Refugees from Aleppo’ at your own risk, I couldn’t get through the video.

(Link: www.omroepbrabant.nl, Photo of Maastricht carnival 2008)

Tags: , , ,

November 29, 2015

CEO of rights holders’ org gets 500,000 euro severance money

Filed under: General,Music by Branko Collin @ 8:30 pm

records-branko-collinFor the second time in five years composers’ and performers’ rights organisation Buma/Stemra has lost a substantial sum in severance money to high paid executives. According to a news report which the organisation released earlier this week, chairman of the board Hein van der Ree will leave Buma/Stemra next February over a wage dispute, taking half a million euro with him.

Van der Ree wanted to be paid 387,889 euro per year for running an organisation of 250 employees, but a recent law declares that managers of quangos like Buma/Stemra cannot earn a salary higher than 130% of that of a government minister. Van der Ree refused to take a cut and as a result the board of Buma/Stemra is cutting him loose.

Composers were quick to point at the difference between the ways they themselves, as the actual creators, and intermediaries like Van der Ree are rewarded. Singer song writer Pim van de Werken calculated that a popular radio channel like 3FM should play his songs every minute of every hour of every day for more than a month to make as much as Van der Ree’s severance pay.

In 2011 Buma/Stemra had to fire Van der Ree’s predecessor Cees van Rij for reasons it did not disclose at the time. Van Rij received 700,000 euro in severance money. In 2014 the organisation collected 190 million euro of which it distributed 163 million euro to its members.

Tags:

November 20, 2015

Paris peace pianist plays in Amsterdam

Filed under: Music by Orangemaster @ 11:14 am

Eiffel_tower2

Germany-based pianist Davide Martello who famously played John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ outdoors in Paris recently to comfort listeners travelled to Amsterdam and played next to the National Monument and the Nieuwmarkt downtown this week.

Known as Klavierkunst, Martello wants to travel to play the piano in all the capitals of the world, sometimes suggested by fans. He can now cross Amsterdam off his list. I really like the idea of a bicycle able to cart a piano around the city and calling him the ‘peace pianist’. He also played on Dutch television, which you can watch here.

Other pianists took to the free piano in Amsterdam Central Station before and after the one minute of silence held throughout the country on 16 November, playing ‘Imagine’.

Why ‘Imagine’? The slogan ‘Pray for Paris’, which was surely well meant, bothered many French people and others, such as French cartoonist Joann Sfar (some stuff is in English) – I’ll let his points speak for him. Considering the attacks were religiously motivated, ‘Imagine’ has lyrics that suggest we imagine there’s no heaven or religion, which would imply that if religion wasn’t around we would be better off, something French secular society strongly believes in.

There was once an episode of late 1970s American television show ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’ where a reverend comes to the rock radio station and tries to have a bunch of songs censored, specifically ‘Imagine’:

The reverend: This is typical of the kind of secular liberal humanist point of view that gluts our airwaves.
Station manager: Yeah. But we’re not talking obscenities here anymore, we’re talking about ideas, political, the philosophical ideas. First you censor a word and then you censor the ideas.
The reverend: But the idea is man-centered, not God-centered. The Bible tells us to put our reliance in God, not in our fellow mortals. This song says there’s no heaven.
Station manager: Ah, no, it says just imagine there’s no heaven.

(Links imdb.com, www.at5)

Tags: , , , ,

Older posts »