Chacarera – Carel Kraayenhof

I am the best bandoneonist of Noordbeemster! That’s not an alternative fact, but an accurate description: I am the only bandoneonist in our tiny village…So tiny, that, when my twins were born nineteen years ago, the population augmented with one percent.
At the edge of the village lives one of my friends, who is a biological greengrocer; when I asked him what kind of music he would like me to write for him, he said to my shock: a chacarera! Oh dear, I thought, I have never done that before! Chacarera is a special kind of Argentine folk music, polyrhythmic and rooted in an old tradition. Since 2010, when pianist Juan Pablo Dobal and I started our duo, I have been learning to play the chacarera, thanks to the knowledge and help of my brilliant collegue; on the other hand, writing one is another matter…
By the way, I should have mentioned that my friend is in fact the only Argentinian in our village. So now I am trying to write a chacarera for the best Argentine greengrocer in Noordbeemster!

Summer column Carel Kraayenhof – E-bike

e-bikeI first stepped on a bicycle when I was four years old, and kept on biking full-time until I was forty; then I moved to the Beemster and needed a driver´s license, as local public transport didn´t meet my needs as a constant travelling musician. So sadly my bicycle started to feel lonely, and the heavy Beemster wind didn´t improve my urge to make a ride: no matter in which direction you start, you always seem to have a strong headwind.
When Thirza decided to buy an E-bike because of the condition of her knees, I realized it would be a tiresome job keeping up with her: so I purchased one too.
Although it defies all courageous behavior of a true Spartan, I can call myself now the proud owner of a Sparta E-bike. Definitely the best therapy you can get: some magical force is giving me a push whenever I need it…So coming from the supermarket on my amazing bike with heavy-loaded saddlebags, at twenty miles an hour, I tend to overtake surprised youngsters in disbelief on their sporting bikes…

Sommer Column Carel Kraayenhof – Cats

What I like about cats, is that in our relationship hierarchy never is an issue: far from being able to describe myself as their owner, they choose to co-exist with me.
To put it more accurate: the bottom line is that they are convinced that they are in charge.
The cats who live with us are Blokje and her son Beer (Bear), who is twice as big; long time ago they seem to have lost all awareness about their family relationship, but their common goal is usually the same: food and affection when needed. I don´t know how they manage, but they always give me the feeling that I should be grateful for rendering them a service, when I open a door for them, feed them or bring them to the vet.Katten
And here I am, working like a madman composing and arranging music all day through,
and there is Beer, lying in the grass like a sunbathing tourist, looking at me through the open window; do I see indifference in his half closed eyes, or does he actually have pity on me?
That´s the thing with cats; they seldom share their opinion with you openly.
Even when Blokje rubs her head affectionately against my leg, I realise I feel proud that
it´s my leg she has chosen, not a random one of the kitchen table.