What a wonderful surprise in my mailbox a few days ago, right in the dead of winter, a cd reminder of a summer week spent in Gooik, Belgium. I’ve written on this blog before about working with Maarten Decombel, and what a pleasure it was to get to know his music. This recording is from the concert we gave inside Gooik’s giant church. My favorite track is still this one: “Dodecamedita”, a piece composed by Maarten himself. I love the main melody, the harmony that goes with, the interesting rhythm, the improvisation sections.
Maarten Decombel, bouzouki, and Christie Burns, hammered dulcimer, August 2009:
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!