Ee, Friesland. A nice sunny evening at the Frisian countryside in the Netherlands. A small group of people gather around at Dreamprojectstudios to listen to Orit Shimoni and (support act) Marleen Adema from Leeuwarden.
Shimoni, a Canadian-Israeli singer-songwriter has been on the road, “living from a suitcase”, for ten years now. Her songs reflect this life on the road, her views on life, her personal experiences. From her website:
Previously a teacher and academic, Israeli/Canadian Orit (pronounced O’reet) became a full-time touring solo artist after releasing two, highly acclaimed albums in Montreal. She moved to Berlin to write and record her third album, and after that decided to live out of a suitcase so she could pursue touring and recording with her entire focus.
I found Shimoni’s music trough a mutual Facebook-friend, Richard Wagenaar from The Next Gig. And when I heard Orit’s music online I thought “Well, as soon as she’s in the area, I want to hear her live!”. So, when we noticed she was playing in Ee, there was no doubt I wanted to go there!
Before Orit Shimoni got on stage there was a performance of Marleen Adema from Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. Marleen has been living in Wales for many years and that’s pretty obvious. Some of her songs were inspired by living there, building friendships and experiencing the country. It also clearly shows in how she writes songs as far as the lyrics are concerned. Most Dutch singer-songwriters sing “Neder-Engels” as we call it; songs that sound like translations from Dutch to English and often badly pronounced. This most certainly ain’t the case with Marleen’s songs! She sang a hand full of entertaining songs while playing guitar. The guitar playing is a little rudimentary but efficient.
The most funny song she did was a song build out of song titles of other songs. And not just a series of song titles, it did make sense. So funny and creative writing here. One of the most touching songs was a song about how, after years, a relationship can end even though you were once ‘lost’ in the person and now, at the end ‘lost’ again.
Marleen introduced most songs by painting a little picture, in words, of how she ended up writing it. She sings them in a sincere way and with a good vocal performance. I haven’t been able to find a website for Marleen’s music, sorry about that. But she’s got a Youtube channel over here.
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Even though I did hear music of Orit Shimoni on Youtube I didn’t know exactly what to expect live of course. So, my daughter Judith and I went to Ee with some expectations but were totally blown away by her perfomance!
Orit Shimoni performed songs from her albums (there are 9 available at the moment at her website) and a new one written only a few months ago. She’s not only an amazing singer and great guitar player but above all a very good lyricist. Wants to make you think (and succeeds in this) about what she has to tell in her songs. Sometimes in a soft voice, poetic. But often also powerful and straight forward. Deep lyrics that come straight from the soul. From her soul, to the soul of the listener.
This morning, when I got up, first thing I did –even before making myself a cup of coffee!– I put on the CD I bought. On it, there are a few songs she sang live also. The album was recorded and produced by Martin van de Vrugt, a Dutch musician who also playes several instruments on the album.
One of the songs, “Smarter than Me”, was inspired by his wife and also performed yesterday. Just as Marleen did Orit introduced a lot of songs by telling about them. In fact, I think she almost spends almost as much time talking about the songs, events, people and so on that inspired her or teached her ‘lessons about life’ as performing them. And that’s okay! Because she’s a good story-teller! Anyway – if there’s one thing I suggest you should do today: get the album. Order it at the website (hard copy) or download it from BandCamp.
There’s of course a lot I could tell about the songs, about the performance and so on. But I suggest you listen for yourself.
I hope she’ll keep on doing what she’s doing and we will be able to see and hear her again one day. I do believe she deserves a lot bigger audience, btw. I mean, .. if acts like Mumford and Sons, Bob Dylan and so on play for a sold out Ziggo Dome or Heineken Music Hall,.. why is she still performing for such small audiences? In my opinion, she’s at the same level as bands like that!
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