A ‘dutchie’ with Alan Lomax in Spain

In an interesting blog Dutch musicologist Evert Bisschop Boele wonders about a not by name mentioned ‘dutchie’ in John Szwed’s biography of ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax. It concerns a person from The Netherlands who was travelling with the famous American songhunter to Spain in a period “just after the war”.


Alan Lomax in 1952, with a local from Aragon/Spain

The exact date isn’t mentioned, but I presume “just after the war” means 1952 or 1953, being the years when Lomax visited Spain and recorded there. I didn’t know about a Dutch person travelling to Spain with Lomax at the time. Very interesting!
After concluding it wasn’t and couldn’t have been Jaap Kunst (1891-1960) Bisschop Boele ends his blog asking “Who is he? Who?” Well, I’d like to give it a shot. I think the person involved here might be Bernard IJzerdraat (1926-1986). In fact, I can’t think of anyone else. Let me try to explain this.
In the early fifties Bernard IJzerdraat was in his twenties and a well known figure in the Dutch gamelan scene. His group Babar Layar was very popular in Holland. The group played Javanese gamelan music for radio and television, recorded an LP on the Philips label and toured succesfully throughout Europe.


Bernard IJzerdraat on kendang (drum), leading his group Babar Layar

In his writings Lomax refers only twice briefly to his companion, first as “a young man who specialized in Javanese gamelan music” and then he writes: “I did not know that my Dutch travelling companion was the son of the man who had headed the underground in Holland during the German occupation.” This quote immediately reminds me of Bernard IJzerdraat’s father, Bernardus IJzerdraat (1891-1941). In the early stages of World War II Bernardus IJzerdraat was one of Holland’s prominent figures of the Dutch resistance. He’s known as the founder of De Geuzen, the first Dutch resistance group. He was arrested and shot by the Germans in 1941, together with 17 others, including three Communists involved in the February Strike.


Bernard’s father Bernardus IJzerdraat, famous man of Dutch resistance

Knowing these facts and reading what Lomax says about his young Dutch fellow traveller without revealing a name, I think the unknown ‘dutchie’ could be Bernard IJzerdraat, gamelan specialist and son of a war hero.

So far my educated guess. I might be wrong here of course. Anyone else having thougths on this? If so, please let me know.

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Gamelan music in my May 2012-edition of Concertzender’s ‘Wereldmineralen’

On Saturday May 12th 2012 Concertzender’s broadcast ‘World Minerals’/’Wereldmineralen’, produced by me, was dedicated to recent releases featuring gamelan music. The programme features three albums: [1] ‘Bali – Terompong Beruk’ (2011), played by musicians from the Balinese village Bangle, [2] ‘Java’ by the Sundanese group Sambasunda (2011) and [3] ‘Gamelan of Java – Volume Four: Puspa Warna’ (2010), played by musicians of The Institute of the Arts in Surakarta, Java. On this page you can play the programme ‘on demand’ (by clicking on the speaker icon) and you’ll find more information (in dutch) with a detailed playlist of the programme.
The album ‘Bali – Terompong Beruk’ also includes an interesting documentary, some of which can be seen in the video below.

DOCUMENTAIRE: Terompong Beruk from 3PlansMuets on Vimeo.

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Wereldmineralen 4 Nov. 2010 : great tracks from new world music releases

For Concertzender‘s broadcast on thursday 4th of November 2010 at 19.00 PM I’ve produced (including all mixing and editing) another edition of world music programme Wereldmineralen. You can listen via cable in many areas of Holland or otherwise via internet worldwide and after broadcast you can listen on demand via this page.


Natacha Atlas at Roots Open Air 2009 in Amsterdam (photo by Pieter de Rooij)


Souad Massi at Roots Open Air 2009 in Amsterdam (photo by Pieter de Rooij)

The programme features recent album releases: If the rains come first by American singer/songwriter Somi, African Revolution by reggaesinger Tiken Jah Fakoly from Ivory Coast, Sinta Wullur‘s gamelan-raga project Indi Go with dutch ensemble Multifoon, Mounqaliba by Belgian-British Middle East-singer Natacha Atlas, Jamm by Cheikh Lo from Senegal and O Houria by Algerian singer Souad Massi. A not to be missed selection of these albums’ best tracks!

Playlist:

Titel: Enganjyani
Tijdsduur: 05’19
Uitvoerende: Somi
Componist: Somi, David Gilmore, Michele Locatelli
Album: If The Rains Come First
Label en Jaar: Obliq Sound 823889910921 ; P en C 2010

Titel: Maybe Then
Tijdsduur: 06’08
Uitvoerende: Somi
Componist: Somi, Herve Sambe
Album: If The Rains Come First
Label en Jaar: Obliq Sound 823889910921 ; P en C 2010

Titel: African Revolution
Tijdsduur: 04’11
Uitvoerende: Tiken Jah Fakoly
Componist: Tiken Jah Fakoly, Jonathan Quarmby,Thomas Naim
Album: African Revolution
Label en Jaar: Wrasse Records Wrass275 ; P en C 2010

Titel: Je Ne Veux Pas Ton Pouvoir
Tijdsduur: 03’23
Uitvoerende: Tiken Jah Fakoly
Componist: Tiken Jah Fakoly, Jeanne Cherhal
Album: African Revolution
Label en Jaar: Wrasse Records Wrass275 ; P en C 2010

Titel: Laisse Moi M’Exprimer
Tijdsduur: 02’46
Uitvoerende: Tiken Jah Fakoly
Componist: Tiken Jah Fakoly, Mr. Toma
Album: African Revolution
Label en Jaar: Wrasse Records Wrass275 ; P en C 2010

Titel: Transformaties #2
Tijdsduur: 06’26
Uitvoerende: Ensemble Multifoon
Componist: Sinta Wullur
Album: Indi Go
Label en Jaar: PAN Records PAN 9902 ; P en C 2010

Titel: Transformaties #3
Tijdsduur: 04’13
Uitvoerende: Ensemble Multifoon
Componist: Sinta Wullur
Album: Indi Go
Label en Jaar: PAN Records PAN 9902 ; P en C 2010

Titel: River Man
Tijdsduur: 05’38
Uitvoerende: Natacha Atlas
Componist: Nick Drake ; Arr.by S. Bishai
Album: Mounqaliba
Label en Jaar: World Village WVF479048 ; P en C 2010

Titel: Mounqaliba
Tijdsduur: 03’38
Uitvoerende: Natacha Atlas
Componist: Natacha Atlas, S. Bishai
Album: Mounqaliba
Label en Jaar: World Village WVF479048 ; P en C 2010

Titel: La Nuit Est Sur La Ville
Tijdsduur: 03’35
Uitvoerende: Natacha Atlas
Componist: Francoise Hardy ; Arr. By S. Bishai
Album: Mounqaliba
Label en Jaar: World Village WVF479048 ; P en C 2010

Titel: Bourama
Tijdsduur: 04’24
Uitvoerende: Cheikh Lo
Componist: Cheikh Lo
Album: Jamm
Label en Jaar: World Circuit WCD084 ; P en C 2010

Titel: Ne Parti Pas
Tijdsduur: 04’08
Uitvoerende: Cheikh Lo
Componist: Cheikh Lo
Album: Jamm
Label en Jaar: World Circuit WCD084 ; P en C 2010

Titel: All Remains To Be Done
Tijdsduur: 04’52
Uitvoerende: Souad Massi
Componist: Souad Massi
Album: O Houria
Label en Jaar: Universal Music 517 ; P en C 2010

Titel: Let Me Be In Peace (one take version)
Tijdsduur: 02’56
Uitvoerende: Souad Massi, feat. Paul Weller
Componist: Souad Massi
Album: O Houria
Label en Jaar: Universal Music 517 ; P en C 2010

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IGFA 2010 was een muzikaal feest voor oog en oor!

De afgelopen week verkeerde ik in gamelansferen. Dat kwam door de 2e editie van het International Gamelan Festival Amsterdam – het IGFA 2010 – dat plaatsvond van 2 tot en met 11 september in het KIT Tropentheater. Ik heb alle avondvoorstellingen bezocht.

Was de eerste editie van het IGFA in 2007 al een groot succes, het IGFA trok in 2010 nog meer nationale en internationale belangstelling en alle avondvoorstellingen in de schitterende Lichthal van het Tropenmuseum (met 550 zitplaatsen) waren nagenoeg uitverkocht. Balinese en Javaanse topensembles verzorgden oorstrelende en oogverblindende concerten die je op Nederlandse podia hoogst zelden en eigenlijk alleen maar op dit unieke festival zult aantreffen. Amsterdam mag zeer trots zijn op dit wondermooie festival van wereldformaat. Ik zie al weer uit naar de 3e editie van het IGFA! 🙂

Als bonus hier nog even de Balinese groep Semara Ratih, hier in een laatste repetitie op Bali van het schitterende stuk Lapanbelas, dat zij op 9 september op het IGFA in premiere brachten. Dit is het eerste deel…

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Balinese gamelan: Lotring tribute video with footage + music from 1972

I guess with the upcoming second edition of the IGFA (International Gamelan Festival Amsterdam) in september 2010, gamelan is more on my mind these days – and btw, in the past I played Balinese and Javanese gamelan for almost twenty years – maybe that explains why I couldn’t resist making this Lotring-tribute video 🙂

The video contains footage of legendary Balinese musician I Wayan Lotring (1898-1983) dancing and playing in 1972. I combined this footage with a segment of Lotring’s composition ‘Liar Samas’, played by himself and his orchestra in 1972. You can find the complete recording on a marvellous 2cd-album, released by Ocora, titled ‘Hommage a Wayan Lotring’, an album I highly recommend, a very worthwhile buy if you like gamelan music from Bali.
In the 1920’s and 1930’s Lotring was an absolute sensation on Bali, revolutionising musical form of gamelan pieces on kebyar, pelegongan and gender wayang, and in so doing paving the way for others on Bali to take gamelan into new directions.
I would expect Canadian composer Colin McPhee to have filmed him in the 1930’s but haven’t seen that footage (I’ve only seen a few photographs of Lotring by McPhee). In his book ‘A House in Bali’ McPhee meets Lotring and even devotes a chapter to him. A nice read that brings you in the midst of musical history on Bali.

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Balinese Gamelan: unique footage of legendary composer I Wayan Lotring

Recently published on YouTube in two videos: selected segments of unique footage from 1972 of the legendary Balinese composer, musician, dancer I Wayan Lotring (approx.1898-1983).

lotring-picture

Lotring is arguably Bali’s most influential gamelan composer/musician of the twentieth century. And of course a great dancer as well. We see Lotring at old age dancing and playing his own compositions with fellow musicians. When playing, we see Lotring mostly as the leader of the ensemble, playing the kendang (drum). Segments are shown of the famous 1972 performances that have been published on Ocora in 1974 (rereleased in 1989). Below you’ll find part two. At 2’40” in this video the famous piece ‘Gambangan’ is played and from 6’16” there’s my very favourite piece ‘Liar Samas’ 🙂

Great as this footage of Lotring might be, there are also two regrettable minuses regarding this material:

1. It’s in black and white (filmed from a black and white tv screen?). I can’t imagine (ethno)musicologist Jacques Brunet shot this material in black and white. Moreover, his recordings of these sessions are presented on Ocora along with colour photos in the cd booklet.

2. Sound and image are not sync. It would be very easy to correct this. I’m always surprised to see this. Why do uploaders not correct this before they publish? As a consequence we don’t get to see the real artistic beauty of Lotring’s dancing along with the music and of his (drum)playing with the orchestra. Ooooww!!! 🙁

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