In the Radio House, on the couch opposite the dining table, on which eggplant and cheese sandwiches are placed in a cardboard box for studio guests, I found a man with an accordion. A gray lady with a guitar flew around him.
I don’t know what I thought of it, probably not: “good live music”, because I only really like it at concerts for which I myself bought a ticket. But I gave them their attention, because it doesn’t seem like an easy time for musicians in this age of inflation.
The man pulled on his instrument.
They were called.
I saw them dragging themselves to the studio, I myself disappeared in the elevator a little later.
It was only later that I learned that they were the famous bandoneonist Carel Kraayenhof, the man who stole a tear from Maxima at her wedding, and Leoni Jansen. Two artists that I will never be able to say walked beside their shoes, because I hadn’t recognized them.
They turned out to be neighbors, neighbors who share a passion for folk music from around the world. In their case, there are quite a few, because they live in the Beemster.
Acquaintances of ours also live in the Beemster, on a farm where they light fires. Last time we visited my daughters and I were huddled in a pile of pillows looking out the window where nothing was going on. Yes, the wind was blowing stronger than the day before. I didn’t know then whether I would be very happy or very unhappy in such an environment. The nearest neighbors lived a hundred and fifty meters away, they had good contact, but what exactly that meant there was unclear. Of course, you don’t want to live in an old farmhouse if you’re afraid of social contact.
When Carel Kraayenhof and Leoni Jansen first met, I now have whole fantasies. Of course, you don’t expect to meet another folk music lover from all over the world in this endless plain. It felt nice to me, but also oppressive, because of course you can’t go anywhere when you see the other person approaching in the distance with an instrument around their neck. You can’t leave your house unseen. I think I’d go down to the cellar and wait for the visitors to come back from the yard, but that’s me. A normal person has just opened the door and before you know it you are with your famous neighbor on Radio 1, with your folk music from all over the world.
Marcel van Roosmalen writes here an exchange column with Ellen Deckwitz.
A version of this article also appeared in the newspaper on March 8, 2023
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