December 24th, 2003


Concert Memories (14)

Concert Memories (14)
Rockopera Gijsbert Gijsbert, September 2003

One of the bands I have been following since my days as a student is Reboelje. They caught my attention when in the early nineties they adapted Herman Hesse’s classic book The Steppenwolf into a CD. They wrote 12 songs and retold the whole story. In Frisian off course, their native language. I didn’t speak their language, but their music caught the atmosphere of the story so well, it made up for the missing bits.

Once in a while I tried to find if they had some new CD, but having moved away from Frysia, I have to say it wasn’t easy. Their music was not easy either. I only had seen them once, though I hardly had the chance. At a party where I worked behind the bar, so I was lucky enough to see them at the stage. 643 beers later they had gone and I had missed almost all.

Earlier this year I found their website and ordered some CD’s. I missed only a few, but I had a complete collection again. Then I saw their project for the summer. Commemorating the 400th anniversary of legendary Frisian author they wrote a rock opera. Not only that, they found a brilliant location to go with it, an old church in the centre of Bolswart.

The second Saturday of September I was there to face the music. I brought my personal translator, as I was sure I wouldn’t understand a lot. Luckily she was looking forward to an evening out as well, especially when we combined it with an afternoon shopping.

The church was a great place to do this show. It appeared that only the walls were still standing, the roof was down. Apparently one of the shows during the week had to be cancelled because of the bad weather. It can be cold in September, it turned out that I was the only one without a coat, the audience were all in coats, but my extra sweater was enough for me.

The show started with the musicians coming from their coffins, where we had walked past on our way to the stands. We sat third row, good seats to see the actors playing in front of the stage. I used to be against musicals and opera’s as everything seems so artificial, but tonight it does not bother me at all. Apart from the band, there were three actors, an extra musician and an opera singer. That last one is German and she had to learn the lyrics especially for this show in a strange language, though it hardly showed.

The life of author Gijsbert Japicx is being played from his birth, to the days where he was a local teacher but also a poet. His life isn’t easy, the middle ages obviously take their toll, and they lose several of their children to diseases. He suffers, but his poetry helps him through difficult times.

Just after the break we find out that we are sitting next to the back up opera singer, she was asked a couple of weeks before, as the real singer had lost her voice. But even in the audience she is enjoying herself. After the break there is more music than before, less play. Whichever way, nearly two hours I am staring in amazement at the stage. The music is bombastic, as one could expect from a rock opera, the actors even sing along sometimes, the band turns out to be multi instrumentalists, with guest Tseard Nauta as the star who manages to play just about every instrument you can think of. The clear night adds to the atmosphere, stars in the air, stars on stage, this is a great night. Well worth driving a few hours for.

Last month, November 2003, the band decided to split up. After 17 years together, they couldn’t find a new challenge. I am happy that I saw one of their master pieces. Perhaps I can catch one of the concerts in their farewell tour.
  • Current Music
    Bert Visscher - Fisk

Nearly forgot..

..but offcourse I wish all my dear LJ-friends a merry christmas and all the best in the year to come!
  • Current Music
    Tori Amos - Silent all these years

(no subject)

I've downloaded Tori Amos singing Amazing Grace twice. Once according to the title together with the Tindersticks, the other with Tool. Having listened to them both, they are exactly the same. But who is she singing with? One of these two must be wrong. Perhaps even both. To me the Tindersticks seem more logical, yet I could be wrong.