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Bebop Spoken There

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Saturday, June 01, 2019

More DJazz news.


(By Rob Adams)
LoLanders hit the road for Durham and Newcastle
A new international band featuring popular visitors to the Bebop Spoken Here heartlands plays gigs in Durham and Newcastle this month.

LoLanders came about as a result of Scottish saxophonist-piper-whistle player Fraser Fifield, whose duo with guitarist Graeme Stephen has won friends on Tyneside down the years, meeting a friend in a bar.
The friend had noticed the tours that have been going out under the Jazz Promotion Network’s Going Dutch project and suggested that Fifield, who has worked successfully in the Netherlands and has a following among musicians there, might be able to put something together with some of his contacts.
“I immediately thought of Oene van Geel, the violist with jazz-raga trio the Nordanians and together we approached the Going Dutch people, who had been hoping that some collaborations between Dutch musicians and players over here might result from the project,” says Fifield.
Fifield had enjoyed guesting in Amsterdam with the Nordanians, who have made visits to Newcastle and Gateshead over the past two or three years and he knew, also, that Graeme Stephen had played with Van Geel’s string quartet, Zapp4. Van Geel also has a long partnership with bass guitarist Mark Haanstra and with the addition of Glasgow-based tablas player Hardeep ‘Sodhi’ Deerhe and Dutch percussionist Udo Demandt, LoLanders was formed.
“What was most exciting for me, and I think for all the other musicians too, was that we’d never all played together before we got together to rehearse for the first gig, at Celtic Connections in Glasgow, in January,” says Fifield. “We knew we had six experienced players, some of whom knew each other, but it really was a case of let’s see what happens.”
The Celtic Connections gig went very well – The Herald’s Keith Bruce enthused about the group’s strong grooves and the quality of its compositions and musicianship – and further dates, including Glasgow Jazz Festival and the Bimhuis in Amsterdam quickly came in for the new band.
“It’s been great knowing that this wasn’t going to be just a one-off, as can often happen with these sorts of collaborations,” says Fifield. “Right from the start, when we met up in a studio in the Scottish Borders, it felt like a band and by the time we played that first gig, it seemed that there was already a band identity, in terms of sound as well as collective spirit.”
With Fifield concentrating on pipes and whistles, there’s a strong folk music element in the music but as van Geel points out, there are also chamber music qualities as well as there being a lot of room for improvisation.
“This is a band – and music – that really comes alive in the moment,” says the violist, whose wordless vocals add to the world music vibe that the two percussionists drum up.
“We’re really looking forward to taking LoLanders out on the road,” says van Geel. “As well as playing at the Durham City Jazz Festival on June 7th and in a double bill in Newcastle [Bridge Hotel, June 23rd] with another Going Dutch band, Under the Surface, we have gigs in Sheffield, Ambleside, Glasgow and Bath in the UK and Nijmegen, Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the Netherlands. There’s some crazy travelling involved but it’s going to be fun.” 
Rob Adams

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