I love guitars, always have. There’s something in the sound that really speaks to me. Especially in when I’m singing or comping. A year ago I travelled to Southeast-Asia where I found a guitar that amazed me.
It was a rainy day (read: monsoon) and I was walking through the streets of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. By chance I kind of walked into Guitar street, which is a street that holds more than 40 guitar shops. Vintage, new, famous brand and custom guitars are built there. Imagine a street, with an open garage door near the road. Cars and scooters racing by and it’s a 40 degrees celsius with 80% humidity. I ended up in the shop of Binh Nuygen, he’s the owner and builder of a store called: Guitar Binh. He works on guitars in a small shop and the guitars he sells are, amazingly considering the circumstances, quite wonderful.
I picked up a model that was roughly based on an Gibson L1, not expecting too much of it. But the sound and resonance shook me. The guitar played and sounded great. I was super surprised. In fact, I couldn’t put it down. The guitar wasn’t completely finished yet. But I had made up my mind, this guitar would return to The Netherlands with me. When I asked him if he could finish it he said; “Yes, there’s a café around the corner, come back in an hour”.
After an hour I returned and the guitar was indeed ready, set-up and all. Crazy craftsmanship and friendliness from mr. Binh that I still cherish every time I pick up this instrument. I will enjoy this guitar for many years (and gigs) to come.
If you’re ever in Ho Chi Minh, go see this shop and get yourself a nice instrument. You will not regret it.
Besides playing music, I really love listening to music. It’s basically what gets us into music in the first place. You hear a melody, a chord or a lyric that sends shivers down your spine. It was the moment I knew I wanted to be a musician. Let me paint you a picture. I was in a car looking at the passing fields somewhere in the south of Italy. I was listening to “…All This Time” by Sting. Expressive singing, poetic lyrics and lush chords (that I didn’t understand, but eagerly wanted to understand) made me fall in love with the record. I probably played that record more times than any other record I own.
It was also the first record I heard that used soundscapes mixed with acoustic instruments.
This is an important part of what Keri and I do now with Hireth. On the 25th January we released our first real single called “Snow”. I wrote it looking outside the window on a snowy day in Amsterdam. The snow was falling down so fast that you couldn’t tell if the snow was falling or ascending. Keri and I worked a lot on soundscapes in the mixing progress, trying to capture the movement of the snow.
Its thrilling to know that music you once heard in your head to be available online!
Hi all, I’ve decided to change the setup for my site. Every once in a while I will write stories about composing, teaching, playing the guitar, getting pedals etc, basically anything that’s on my mind and situations I run into being a musician. So, let’s do this thing.
Last week I had the pleasure to play some of my songs on Christmas Eve at Poppodium Grenswerk in Venlo. The evening was organized like a mass, but without the religious aspects. There were multiple speakers and musicians who all shared personal stories through words or music. It was really exciting to play a concert like this. I played “Turn Off The Lights” and “Rosy”.
Robbert was one of the coaches of ScratchJazz. An initiative to get young people to play music together. All students played one standard (from “The Great American Songbook”) and one pop tune that was arranged together with the band. On the 8th of October all bands played at Poppodium Grenswerk in Venlo as part of the ScratchJazz festival.