One of the greatest things about Wageningen is that you meet people from over the world. It’s a fairly small university, but it is very internationally oriented, so there is no escaping our international students and staff.
Some of them find themselves in a small pub on a Sunday afternoon listening to a couple of folks playing bagpipes, fiddles, hurdy-gurdies and other strange acoustic instruments. That would be me and my fellow musicians at the monthly traditional music session in Café De Zaaier:
(I’m the one holding the camera.)
We have been doing this every month for more than 10 years now, and I know we should count ourselves very lucky. It’s the perfect setting for a traditional music session: the pub is a traditional ‘bruin café’ (literally “brown pub” – a type of Dutch pub named after its dark brown wooden interior) with a large collection of Dutch and Belgian genevers, many different beers (including Guinness and Kilkenny – Irish sessioneers seem to be quite keen on that) and the owner is a musician with a love for folk music. This being Wageningen, we have enjoyed the company of musicians and listeners from Mexico, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Eritrea, and, lately, the Basque country:
Everybody is welcome to come and listen or to play along. All traditions are welcome – this diversity is one of the fun things! The only thing to mind are three rules:
- We play ‘around the table’ so that all musicians get a chance to start a tune or a song;
- It is better to play something simple you feel confident with than to play something difficult that you have to start over and over again. In other words: if you play, you play;
- Feel free to join somebody else’s tune or song, but don’t overdo it, especially if you don’t know the song or tune.
Curious? We have a website where you can find all the details.