Podium Mozaik is a really cool building. Situated close to the heart of Amsterdam , Maarten Gulickx and the Podium crew champion multi-cultural performance. The amazing Imani Uzuri is programmed there in March. Facebook them.
I was invited in September ’10 to celebrate the buildings 5th birthday, and to collaborate and perform with the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went out there but was excited about writing poetry in collaboration with a wind orchestra. What blew me away (‘scuse the pun) was the global diversity in the the music and the inclusiveness of the musical collaboration.
Bart Scheeman is the musical director of NBE and an incredible composer in his own right. As an extremely laid back guy I wondered when the rehearsals were going to launch. I must have underestimated the chilledness of the Holland vibe. Rehearsals were in full flight and it was going over my head on day one. So I chilled and got into some photography, taking pics of the rehearsals. No one seemed to mind. Click images to enlarge them.
There was an interesting moment with a clash of cultures when the timing of Dhroeh Nankoe‘s Indian Sufi composition clashed with a restrictive count of European rhythm. But this is where the beauty occurred. As the rehearsals progressed layers of musical cultural restriction dropped away embracing a new way of being and the magic began to sparkle and spangle about the room.
The beautifully smooth vocals of Antillian born Izaline Calister sent goose bumps up my spine and the glamourous afro-jazz Congolese funkiness of Rosie Ntjam brought a African feminine vibe to the event that I was proud of.
The life and soul of rehearsals had to be Vasile Nedea. During performances, his high energy character amped up filling all corners of the room as he took us on a vibrant multi-layered musical journey through the Balkans playing percussion, accordian and an instrument of his heritage – the Cymbalom. Beautiful…
The enchanting compositions for the Middle Eastern instrument called the U’d played with a haunting spirituality by Haytham Safia almost brought tears to my eyes on both shows. We were programmed to play together straight after his solo. Had to swallow those tears back… but this only added to my performance as the emotion behind the piece came from an even more genuine place in my gut.
“The Artist is a Piece I wrote dedicated to all artists on the planet and to the dormant artist within us all. I guess it is an homage to Creativity. Myself, Haytham and Peter Prommel on percussion immersed ourselves in the piece in a way that moved me profoundly, reminding me how much I love my job.
Here is the promo video of the whole event. It was 3 days of trans-global bliss. (Grin.)