I have a daily routine in which I read a passage of Sonia Choquette’s book Grace, Guidance and Gifts. It’s a book you never finish and in that way is a companion on your life’s journey. There a some profound wisdom in it, for example about listening:
To listen to others is…
to learn from their experience
to draw from their gifts
to bask in their victories
to grieve with their losses
Listening is expanding your own life experience.
I have a weak spot for the Dutch singer Sabrina Starke. Not only because of her music, voice and presence, but also her look on life. I heard an interview with her a couple of years ago on the radio about the Buddhist teachings she has adopted. She came across as a lovely, warm and compassionate human being. She has just released a new album and is in the midst of a new tour to promote her album. I was at the first concert of the tour and shot these two pictures of her with my trusty Leica M8, paired with the classic Voigtlander 35 mm.
When I got to play in my first band, the band members used to call me ‘Flying Vinny’ because I often close my eyes and drop my head backwards when playing a solo on the guitar. I like this nickname and see other guitarists doing just the same 🙂
Although I am a huge fan of Mark E Everett and his band Eels, due to some personal little earthquakes last year I had a difficult time listening to his music that has often a melodramatic character. He is a master in expressing the struggle he has with romance and love:
What I Have To Offer
What I have to offer
Well, there’s a lot
Now I’m a modest man
But look at all I got
For all the wear and tear
I look OK
I got good manners
And I make good pay
And you know I’m all full of love
What I have to offer
Well, there’s so much
I care and nurture and a
I got a pleasin’ disposition
And I don’t care about
Football or fishin’
And you know that I’m all full of love
What I have to offer
Well, check it out
I’ve learned some things
And I know what it’s about
I’m quite discerning and
I’m pretty smart
It takes an awful lot to
Win my heart
But you know that I’m so full of love
So when this amazing artist recently visited The Netherlands, I hesitated for a moment to go but just for a brief moment. I took my beloved Leica M8 with me and being signed by Anton Corbijn it resulted in this photograph which reminds me of the Rattle and Hum period of U2.
Thanks Mark and Anton for your art and inspiration.
As my subscribers know, I like to combine my passions and that means photography and live music. A good friend of mine and a former band member plays in a Beatles tribute band. I have captured multiple performance of them so I have become kind of the band’s household photographer. I even played along at one of their performances and that was awesome. At a recent gig, they played in a small venue. I sat behind this boy who not only recognised the music from the times his father played the songs in the car, but also was enjoying himself immense. It is quite fascinating that after 50 odd years the music of the Beatles is still relevant and appealing to the youngest generation. Truly timeless musical art!
They say that meeting your hero can be a disappointment , but it surely was not the case when I recently met Joe Satriani. As expressed already in this post, this guitarist means a lot to me. This time I had decided to opt for the ‘VIP package’ which includes meeting Joe….Although the security of the site was quite nervous and we had to line up for Joe, his assistant and Joe himself were very relaxed and easy-going. I practice the insights from Buddhism in which concepts as ego and equanimity are very prominent but surely that went all overboard! After shaking hands and thanking Joe for his music, art and the place his music takes in my heart, I asked Joe to sign my M9, just as Corbijn has signed my M8, which he happily did. The concert was awesome and as you can see, Joe played 1-2 feet away from me. After the encore he give me a big smile, pointed at me and made a ‘thank you’ gesture. To my big surprise, he decided to place this other picture on his site. Not as a photograph but as ‘art’.This picture is actually the result of the M9 not handling the burst of light of the stage lights. I was shooting at a fixed shutter speed and wide open which resulted in a totally over blown picture. I liked the results however and decided to send the picture to his webmaster. As the title of his latest album is ‘Shockwave Supernova’ the response of Joe was: Vincent van Kleef sent us this “shocking” photo he snagged while at the Heerlen show a couple of weeks ago. Joe shreds his way into a Supernova!!
Definitely one of my highlights in 2015 :-).
The man pictured on this photograph is Ty Taylor of the band Vintage Trouble . They are supporting ACDC on their tour right now and visited Rotterdam on their own where they performed at the Metropolis Festival. I was totally blown away by their performance but managed to take some pictures though. They are not only excellent musicians but great performers as well, making them an awesome subject for my photography. They all expressed so much intensity that it transferred to the audience. I was jumping and moving around to get rid of all the excess energy I got from their presence and performance. Music is such a beautiful thing!
This very weekend I visited the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, along with my girlfriend, her sister and daughter. One of the acts was the famous crooner Tony Bennett with Lady Gaga. The venue was jam-packed as there were a lot of ‘little monsters’ as Lady Gaga likes to call her fans, but sure enough Tony has his fair share of fans as well. At 88 years (!) old he needs to use the autocue and does not manage to sing perfect pitched anymore, but he still got ‘it’ for sure. What strikes me most besides the seemingly odd combination with Lady Gaga and her impressive voice, is the joy Tony expresses and the fact that at his very advanced age he still is able to do what he does best: singing and entertaining the audience. Truly an inspiration and proof that age is just a number.
Whenever I visit a concert, my thoughts wander away from the scene….wishing I was at the stage instead of the artists I’ve come to listen and watch. These are people who are following their passion and use their talents to the fullest. The saying ‘want what you have and don’t want what you don’t have’ is oh so true, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting things which are apparently not on my path :-). Having said that, I do actually play in a band which is great. Music let’s you connect with other people on a whole other level than with words. For me creating music with like-minded people really fills up a gap which is otherwise been neglected. It can be playing in a band other just with a singer, which I have done many times too. This picture is of the awesome band Oli Brown, taken at the Satriani concert in Tilburg. If you like gutsy blues rock, you definitely have to check them out!