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Madiba – Carel Kraayenhof- Liberation concert 2015

Nelson Mandela
As a addition to our special theater show ‘Liberación’ on Liberation Day, May 5th, at the Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ, Carel Kraayenhof has written a new composition. This special composition will be presented for the very first time during the Liberation meal by the Carel Kraayenhof Ensemble, proceeding the theater show.

When Carel was asked to write a new piece for this special event he thought immediately on a homage to one of the greatest fighters for freedom, Nelson Mandela. He, who during his long life won friends and enemies on his fight for freedom and equality for everyone. As a lawyer, as an ANC leader, from prison and finally as president from a new South Africa. His commitment, his patience and optimism are sources of inspiration for mankind.

Nelson Mandela

Kraayenhof’s new composition breathes happiness, just as the irresistible laugh from Madiba (as his friends called him and as this composition is called). It sounds just like a film where he starts a speech and then starts dancing and partying.
Bandoneón and strings form a South African choir and the piano and bass lead a contagious rhythm, where the pianist almost seems to play the kora.
At the end of the composition the serenity comes back, as the sound of a choir at a night camp fire.

We are looking forward to the 5th of May, so we can share this and celebrate with you!

Carel Kraayenhof – Thirza Lourens and team

Liberation Day Concert – 5 May, Liberación, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Amsterdam

Muziekgebouw aan het IJ
For the special event of our theater show Liberación on Liberation Day, 5 May 2015 at the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in Amsterdam, I have composed a new piece which I will perform together with the Carel Kraayenhof Ensemble during the exclusive Liberation Dinner, prior to the show.

When asked to compose a new piece for this special occasion I thought immediately on an homage to one of the most important freedom fighters of all times, Nelson Mandela. During his long life Mandela made friends and won over enemies on his battle for freedom and equality to all. As a lawyer, as the leader of the ANC, from jail and finally as president of a new South Africa. His clear purpose, his patience and optimism are sources of inspiration for the entire world.

My new composition breathes happiness, just as Mandiba’s irresistible laugh, as his friends would call him. That is also the name of my composition. It is just like a movie, where he is at first calm and emotionally speaking, after that he starts to dance and party.
The bandoneón and the strings will form a South African choir, where then the piano and double bass will light up a firing rhythm. At times it sounds like the piano player is actually playing a kora.

The calm returns at the end, just as a choir sings around the bonfire deep in the night.

We are looking forward to the 5th of May, so we can celebrate freedom together with you!

Carel Kraayenhof

for more information: www.muziekgebouw.nl

Carel Kraayenhof Ensemble live on Podium Witteman, March 1st

Podium witteman

On Sunday afternoon March 1st, the Carel Kraayenhof Ensemble will be the guest of the new popular tv program Podium Witteman, on the Dutch channel NTR NPO 2.
The program will be live, at 17:00 hrs.

The program is a weekly music festival presented by Paul Witteman together with pianist and comedian Mike Boddé and music connoisseur Floris Kortie. The program talks about special topics with guests and offers a platform for new and known musicians to play live.

The program is presented live from the brand new “De Hallen Studios” in Amsterdam-West.
Audiences may join the program free of charge, by signing up via the email: bijwonenpodiumwitteman@ntr.nl.
for more information: www.https://programma.ntr.nl/10627/podium-witteman

No te rindas – Don’t give up by Mario Benedetti

Mario Bennedetti
We have received requests from some of the audience of our Liberación theater show about a poem which is part of the show. Here is the complete translation of the poem No te rinds, from the Uruguayan writer Mario Benedetti.

Don’t give up, you still have time
to reach up and start anew,
Accept your shadows,
Bury your fears,
Free your burdens,
Fly again.

Don’t give up, that’s what life is
Continue the journey,
Follow your dreams,
Unstuck time,
Move the rubble,
And uncover the sky.

Don’t give up, please don’t give way,
Even if the cold burns,
Even if fear bites,
Even if the sun sets,
And the wind goes silent,
There is still fire in your soul
There is still life in your dreams.

Because life is yours and yours is the desire
Because you have loved it and because I love you
Because wine exists and love is true.
Because there are no wounds that time doesn’t cure.

To open the doors,
Take away the locks,
Abandon the walls that have protected you,
To live life and accept the challenge
Get back laughter,
Practice a song,
Lower the guard and extend the hands
Open the wings
And try again,
Celebrate life and take back the skies.

Don’t give up, please don’t give way,
Even if the cold burns,
Even if fear bites,
Even if the sun sets,
And the wind goes silent,
There is still fire in your soul
There is still life in your dreams.

Because every day is a new beginning,
Because this is the hour and the best moment.
Because you are not alone, because I love you.

Overwhelming reactions to the Liberación theater show

_L4Z0046alt

Carel Kraayenhof and Thirza Lourens, together with the musicians and Liberación’s entire crew, are more than happy with all positive reactions from the different theater audiences. Our social media is glowing.
We hope that this will bring even more people to the shows, so they also can enjoy this special evening.

A beautiful review for the CD Liberación at the ‘Antiliaans Dagblad’

ADCuracao 31.10.14 cd Liberacion

This review was posted on the newspaper of 31st of October.

Translation:
Kraayenhof: tribute to freedom
By Giselle Ecury
On 28 October I attended, in Amsterdam, to the official presentation of the new album of bandoneonist Carel Kraayenhof and his ensemble. A month ago I met him during Millicent Smeets-Muskus’, better known as ‘Dudi’, book presentation. ‘Curacao is deep in our heart’ he confided to the audience at that time. He confirmed that now as well, by playing ‘Cry for freedom’.
He dedicated this number to Nelson Mandela and Tula, the leader of the slave uprising of 1795 on plantation Knip. Right there the tone was set for the afternoon: Kraayenhof and his ensemble want to stand for equal rights and freedom to everyone. And they do that by making music that touches straight to the heart.
This music comes straight from their hearts, and that you can feel. ‘Liberacion’ lives. Between the lines and the notes I start to understand the message: let’s be grateful for all the good we have in our life and for those who fought for that for us. Once back home I notice a very tender song in the klezmer ‘doina’-tradition, it is a tribute to the mother of violinist Bert Vos. The writer Ida Vos (1931-2006) survived the German occupation, but lost many school friends. This song is called ‘Rumeniher Volekh – Ida y vuelta’.
As a traveling musician Carel lets himself be inspired by the music and the people he encounters. He is deeply touched by the multitudes of refugees, which appear to be unstoppable. By their ways and becoming immigrants in another country, world music arises. When the Carel Kraayenhof Ensemble started making this album, two years ago, they didn’t even suspect that the release of it would take place at a moment when the refugee issue is more relevant than ever. The intense number ‘Lampedusa’ – the Italian island which is flooded by refugees from Africa searching for safety – is a proof of this. Just like ‘Aleppo’, a cry out against the warriors who, 100 years after the break out of the First Worldwar, still use chemical weapons causing devastation to the population and entire cities. At the same time it is a tribute to the man in Aleppo who places his piano, every day, among the debris and performs with a little choir. “Because this is the only positive thing we can do in our destroyed city: make music”. So hope prevails; and that you can also hear.
The attentive listening audience was treated with eleven of the eighteen tracks, under which ‘Libertango’, the ‘freedom tango’ (1973), arranged by Kraayenhof in the style of Osvaldo Pugliese; musician, politician and one of the great peacemakers of Argentina.
I think this album is a jewel, a variation of melancholy, nostalgia, tragedy, power and hope. Several times I was carried away, felt like dancing, I wanted to show that nobody can oppress the power of the human spirit. We always recover, especially when we feel united with each other by means of music. Every goodbye is the birth of something new. Carel Kraayenhof (1958) clearly enjoys what he is doing.
This goes for all his musicians: Bert Vos, 1st violinist and partner of also violinist (2nd) Iefke Wang; Juan Pablo Dobal, pianist; Jaap Branderhorst, double bass; and Jan Willem Troost, cello. They all have worked together, frequently and intensively, rehearsing in the Beemster. The result is magnificent. Music is a universal language, which everybody understands and senses. They show that they can spread that language as no one else.
And after coming home, while writing this column, the number ‘So many partings’ touches my soul. It is the number right before ‘Sabrosita’, the Aruban tumba by Rufo Wever, arranged by pianist/composer Randell Corsen. These sounds I can and want to literally take home with me. The next track is ‘Atardi Korsou ta bunita’ by Rudy Plaate, dedicated to Millicent Smeets-Muskus, who the ensemble remembers with bliss and gratitude. It isn’t spelled quite correctly on the cover, but I think that’s actually a bit charming. After all it is the work of men, mistakes are allowed. Like in quilting, not all stitches need to be perfect, because ‘only God makes no mistakes’.
As of the 1st of January this music will be performed in the new theatre show by Carel Kraayenhof and his ensemble: ‘Liberación’. As of the 31st of October the album is for sale. For more information you can visit, and enjoy, the website www.carelkraayenhof.com.

Carel Kraayenhof talks to the Refugee assistance of The Netherlands

On the new CD Liberación, in which Carel worked on for over two years and was released at the end of October, there are many new compositions related to the theme ‘Freedom’. Two of these compositions are ‘Cry for Freedom’ and ‘Aleppo’.
Currently there are important talks being held between Carel Kraayenhof and the refugee assistance in The Netherlands looking into the possibility of Carel and his ensemble giving a concert, in november, to the Syrian refugees which are sheltered at the IJsselhallen in Zwolle. Carel did not have any idea that this could be a possibility two years ago when he started this project. He feels deeply with these people who had to leave everything behind (at times even their own families), fleeing from so much violence in their own country. Carel hopes that his music can bring some healing and distraction to the people.
But the main idea is not just to play a concert, pack up and leave. His dream is to “add something” to the refugees which will remain with them for the long run. Completing the dream is to gather music instruments and distribute them at the refugee camps, so that people who used to play music at home can go on bringing a bit of happiness to the their situation. Should you wish to know more about this, please follow Carel on Facebook or Twitter. You can also send us an email to: liberacion@carelkraayenhof.nl
Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland

“LIBERACION” A theater production where image and music become one based on the theme ‘freedom’.

Carel Kraayenhof has been busy for more than a year and even rehearsals have taken place. Now the entire world may know: together with his ensemble and two filmmakers he is creating a new theater show: ‘Liberación’. A theater production where image and music become one based on the theme ‘freedom’.
It is actually pretty logical, as the bandoneón player and composer Kraayenhof says: “At home we had an “LP” with the song ‘Ouverture 1812’. This song told the story of how Napoleon’s army were defeated by the Russian army in 1812. On the cover you could see a painting from that time period showing a battlefield. That painting showed exactly what the music was about; that made the music live. You could see what you were hearing.”
“We live in a visual time. Everyone matches music and image on their daily lives. I believe that video and music can bring extra excitement to the theater. At times the music will lead and at times the images will guide you on.”
The Carel Kraayenhof Ensemble works together with direction Jos Groenier and filmmaker Joost Gulien. Some pieces have already been worked on. For example images of the Italian island Lampedusa were already edited, here Kraayenhof wrote a powerful composition for. “The fishermen of that island are forbidden to help the African refugees who come ashore in that area of the Mediterranean Sea. ‘Not helping’ goes against their instincts and against their tradition. Long time ago, their grandparents walked on the same shoes as these refugees.”
The images fit the theme, because Kraayenhof does not make music without a meaning. “We have been a little bit around the world and everywhere you can see that the need for freedom ignites the creation of new music. In the past you could see that with the Irish, but now also with the Cubans. Liberación is about the musical freedom. Music with a fancy touch, wanting to reach higher levels.
“That is why I composed a song inspired by Tula, the leader of the slave revolution in Curaçao in 1795. This man held himself to the French Revolution’s ideal: freedom, equality and brotherhood. Based on this ideal the Haitian slaves had already gained freedom. If you travel a lot, just like we do, you gain knowledge and impressions; inspiration.”
Kraayenhof plays a short piece of music. Alex North’s slow theme for the film about the Roman slave Spartacus, who he compares to Tula. It was a milonga, melancholically colored by strings and the bandoneón. Seamlessly, and almost unnoticed, the musical mood turns Irish, when the sounds of the ‘pipes’, bagpipes, play along. “This sound is also generated by the vibration of ‘tongues’. You are influenced by people and the landscapes, you feel how it is to be there.”
All that remains the base of the tango language. That is one of the reasons why he added a piece of music from his mentor Astor Piazzolla in his song ‘Libertango’; but Kraayenhof adapted it to the style of his other musical father: Osvaldo Pugliese.

“Don’t expect an extremely serious evening. Humor and optimism are a great part of it. Just think of how people with big problems, in many different countries, are great in improvising. Argentineans are masters in that, and also in Indonesia they have a good hand in it.
At the end of this year the try-outs will take place and in the beginning of 2015 ‘Liberación’ will have its premiere. Until then a lot of investments have to be done. Challenging, because subsidies are pretty hard to get, or unexciting and because it is such a new concept theaters are somewhat hesitant to book the show. In order to manage to put all that money together we have started a crowdfunding campaign. That means that whoever supports this project financially will receive a special something in return; from an hour at the gym with Carel to a new composition written by Carel dedicated to the supporter/sponsor. How are you going to do that? “This summer I won’t be bored, writing on request is not that crazy, I may even say that it is nice. Composers such as Mozart and Beethoven lived of it.
Carel Kraayenhof Ensemble #