There’s some pretty incredible stuff going on with the folk music scene in Belgium. I was just teaching at a week-long festival in Gooik, a small village that gets completely overrun with folk musicians… All day long there are classes for all the different instruments: fiddle, bagpipe, accordion, guitar, hammered dulcimer (that’s me!), percussion, hurdy gurdy. And then at night, after the evening concert, everyone fills the dance hall and dances into the morning. On the last night of the festival, the youth take over, and keep it going literally until breakfast. I loved how the kids mimicked their teachers, as the two boys in this clip are playing the role of ensemble leader, just like the ensemble class they had been in all week. I also love how these young musicians are thinking about arrangement and changes in energy to keep the dancing going. The melodies are simple and fun, but how much fun is determined by the group. I think it’s safe to say they’re generating an ample amount of fun here!
What a gift, to be set up on a musical “blind date” like this. I’ve been paired with Maarten Decombel to perform at the Friday night concert in Gooik. Maarten and I hadn’t really met before yesterday, but we did exchange a few mp3s of some good tune candidates. This one, “Dodecamedita,” is one that he wrote and sent to me. It’s been my happy tune for several weeks now, as I’ve been looking forward to Belgium. Yesterday, Maarten and I treated ourselves to a full rehearsal day, and we put together arrangements for a full set of music. It’s so wonderful to meet and work with someone who has such compatible musical sensibility. Right from the very beginning, we were thinking very similarly about what to do with all these tunes, a very natural flow. I think it’s going to be a respectable performance on Friday, if not downright enjoyable!
Here’s Maarten and I practicing his tune, “Dodecamedita”– although it cuts off near the end, right in the middle of his improv section… camera malfunction.
Thanks to Jan and An for hosting our rehearsal in their paradise of a garden!