One of the most illogical concerts I have ever organized was for the Yuri Honing trio in the 90s. We played at the Tbilisi guitar festival in Georgia as the only guitar-less band and were programmed again two years later.
That, and many other experiences, taught me that more is possible than you think.
Two and a half years ago we gave our first foreign concert with Under the Surface, at the sur le Nigér festival in Ségou, Mali. A great experience in which we improvised with kora player Madou Sidikki Diabaté. In the following two years, more tours followed and the music brought us to more than 18 countries on four continents.
We played at jazz festivals, but also “Arts” and “performance” festivals, museums, living rooms, huge open-air venues, universities, concert halls or a small outdoor stage overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Not everywhere was our music the most obvious for programming, but it always worked.
We inspired the audience with our improvisations and (not unimportantly), the country, culture and the public also inspired us. Playing in an unknown place is great. It takes you out of your comfort zone, gives you new energy, insight and opens your mind; you expect something that then changes into all sorts of shapes that you do not expect so that you ultimately expect nothing more. You go on a journey without too many plans and hope for the best. A good way to discover new things.
Eight concerts in four countries
In April there are two major music festivals in Central Asia every year; one in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and one in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Both festivals are one week apart, so ideal for trying. With a confirmed concert in front of it in Istanbul and a number of options in China in between, I saw a nice tour ahead of me. After a year of calling, mailing, puzzling, thinking, nagging, almost giving up but still going on and lots of people talking we are on our way for a tour of eight concerts in Turkey, China, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Read the full story (in Dutch)