Posts Tagged ‘Dutch Jazz and World Meeting’


The Ex may have all the trappings of a punk band…the pigeon-toed stances, awkward moves and the impossibly low slung guitars, but don’t let that fool you. There’s a lot more than thrashing going on. And in reading about them, it seems there’s always been more than sheer volume and energy that has kept them going strong for this long. The Ex have been around since the late 70’s and have 122 releases to their credit, (123 if you add “Catch My Shoe” their latest CD on Carrot Top Records slated for US release January 25th.) I had actually never heard of these guys before I saw them at the opening of the Dutch Jazz and World Meeting in Amsterdam. Travel DOES broaden the mind!

The evening at the impressive venue Bimhuis opened with a duet by jazzers Lee Konitz and Guus Janssen which was very good, if unsurprising. But when The Ex revved up I really did not know what to expect. Theirs is not complex music; riffs are short and drum patterns are basic. There are no lightning fast solos; the guitar work is sound-oriented. There’s a heavy element of trance, but there is also something to listen to, that develops nicely. And although they project density and power, they do not need volume to make a point. (As a matter of fact, when I reviewed my camcorder footage, I found to my surprise that the sound had not distorted at all; it was only the mix that was problematic.) When all was said and done, I enjoyed the musicality of the Ex thoroughly.

I initially wondered why this particular band was chosen to represent “world music” on opening night. But as I listened it was apparent that the Ex has been heavily influenced by non western and experimental constructs. In the course of the concert, they were joined by trombonist Wolter Wierbos who occasionally sounded like a rampaging rogue elephant, and Afework Nigussie, an Ethiopian with a sweet and soulful voice. Drummer Katherina Bornefeld also stepped out from behind the kit to sing a paean to freedom from the repertoire of Muzikàs. And while I shot the performance, running through my mind was the thought that the band would make a great double bill with Konono, the distortion-driven Mbira group from Congo. Sure enough, at one point lead singer Arnold de Boer announced the next song as “Theme from Konono.” Evidently that band has played a significant role in his music. (If you have not heard them, run, don’t walk to​index.php?id=37&rel_id=124 and check out “Lufuola Ndongo.”)

In view of all this, presenting the Ex for world music made perfect sense and prepared me for the rest of the event which proved to be every bit as adventurous and ear-opening as that first night.

To get the complete background of the Ex go to:​history.htm it’s quite a read.

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Another song from the engaging duo shot -not as well as the public post – at the dutch Jazz and World Meeting , December 3rd at the Melkweg club, Amsterdam.

Michael Moore sits in on sax, Eric Calmes provides the excellent bass playing.

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With members from Turkey, Romania and Iraq, Arifa is a sweet hybrid of a band. I caught them in Amsterdam at the Dutch Jazz and World Meeting. They had already made waves with their first CD “Beyond Babylon” and they presented a program of their compositions with musical bridges between each song, so that the performance ran uninterrupted from start to finish. I videotaped until the number of people walking in front of my camera became unbearable. So here are the first 15 minutes or so.

It took a bit of time for me to warm to this semi-ambient music, but I eventually started to savor the flow of it, while appreciating the more animated passages. I even used the music to back up a “home video” I made of my trip to Fes, Morocco. It works wonderfully– music supervisors take note!

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Here’s where you’ll find my weekly original world music video blogs that appear on Huffington Post, as well as an archive starting in April of 2009.

This is also the place where you will find video that is exclusive to my site. I’ve traveled to places like Uzbekistan, Morocco, and Taiwan and no matter where I go I have found amazingly talented and creative people working in every genre from the deepest traditions to the cutting edge.

It’s been incredibly rewarding to interview them and to capture some of what they do on video. Enjoy what you see and hear, and let me know what you think. I welcome your feedback.