De lange zomer is weer voorbij... maar niet getreurd, tijd voor muziek. Voor heel veel muziek! Met MJOY en met het Dutch Organic Choir staan mooie concerten op het programma de komende maanden:
A trip to Budapest
Last year, Peder Karlsson (of Real Group and PT fame) and Merel Martens
(arguably the most exciting new conductor in the Dutch vocal music scene of the last
few years) created something new: the Dutch Organic Choir. It started with
a group of talented singers from all over Holland, even across the border,
one of those talented singers being yours truly.
(ah cut that false modesty - hey I made it through the auditions! : )
The idea: exploring the 'intelligent choir' with a lot of room for improvisation, in a leaderless setting where all members contribute to the music and everything related.
That sounds like Vocal Group Occupy and #rethinkVG, doesn't it? Indeed there's a lot in common. It's a bit more realistic though, because in the end the music is the focus point, not the process. We're experimenting with the process to get the circumstances right for the music to bloom.
Initially we improvised almost everything, and after a while some limitations became apparent and we started mixing improvisation with original written scores, some of which came from improvisation, others started out as compositions. It became clear that our getting used to improvisation had also shaped our ability to listen and play around in a more strict context. Nice.
Just back from Budapest. A longer travelogue will follow in a separate post, here I want to share some tips for vegetarian food in this lovely city.
Always such a trip: busy sightseeing and suddenly I'm tired, haven't eaten for too long, time to eat... and vegetarian offerings in regular restaurants are very, very few. ("Oh yes, this is vegetarian, it only has chicken sir, no meat!").
On Sunday evening we succumbed to pizza but you don't want that every day. So thank the veggie gods that by accident we found some dedicated decent vegetarian restaurants, actually very close to our hotel and the Vaci Utca tourist strip, just a few streets to the east. There are some university buildings in that neighbourhood, lots of students around, hence a market for cheap and decent vegetarian food I guess.
In 2010, Milena and I walked from La Verna to Assisi along the Saint Francis pilgrim's path. Milena did a great writeup of our experience here. What an experience, a real pilgrimage, and off the beaten path (incomparable to Santiago).
This is a nerdy, note-to-self blog entry.
When upgrading a mac to OSX 10.10 Yosemite, I found that OSX Mail.app can change the preference for outgoing smtp servers.
In Mavericks and earlier, there was a setting 'use default ports' which would result in the outgoing server trying three ports: 587, 465 and plain ole' 25. The name of the mailserver I used was 'smtps.domain'. (an old alias, it turned out, but still working). Note the s.
After converting to Yosemite, mail would occasionally have trouble connecting to the smtp server. It turned out it had converted the setting to the fixed port number 587. For this server it turned out it had to be 465.
So, trouble sending mail after upgrading to OSX Yosemite check the SMTP-serverlist in Mail preferences (under account, outgoing server, click on the popup-list, then 'manage smtp servers').
For Three MDB I made an vocal arrangement of Girls & Boys by Blur
that's moved on quite far
from the original. People have asked me: nice tune, but what the hell is it you're trying
to tell? So here's the story behind the arrangement and what it means.
I've long been a fan of Blur. When Britpop happened I was firmly in their camp, Wonderwall not withstanding. I Saw them live in Paradiso, and followed their journey post-britpop with interest. Damon Albarn proved himself a gifted, quirky songwriter (as did Graham Cox!). Tender, Coffee and TV are timeless classics.
Girls and Boys is not a song in the same vein. Not unlike Song 2, it's a tune that started as a joke, but was just too good to be just that. Too fucking catchy. Girls who are boys who like boys to be girls, over an octave jumping bass and flanger kicking in halfway... Gotta love it.
Summer's nearly over, time for the next singing season. Lots of news here. First of all, we have some exciting plans brewing with Three MDB, new songs, more presentation, and the new line-up with two Mariekes is just sounding so damn great. And lots of fun.
Here I want to give a big, big, big thank you to The Real Group and everyone involved! Not just cause they're fantastic singers whose music is so inspiring and touching. Or because they were lovely and down-to-earth people when I met a few of them last year at their festival in Stockholm. This is because of a great gift they've given me and the missus.
White Stripes - Seven Nation Army