A beautiful cold day in Beautiful Bahrain
I have just returned from 3 wonderful weeks in a city I truly love Amsterdam, (now don't let your head go there) to me it is the most beautiful place.I walk for hours and hours daily, and as many years I have been going, it still amazes me at each turn, it is constantly unfolding it's Beauty. When I say Amsterdam to my friends their minds automaticly go to the pleaseures they have experienced, or the pleasures they think is Amsterdam. Those who have been there only saw or experienced exactly what they were looking for (most have limited themselves only to the areas of their pleasures) but the City is so much more!
The amazing thing about Amsterdam is the music,(if you limit yourselves to only the tourist areas you only hear commercial music, they play to your taste) it never ceases to amaze me the Dutch taste in Music. Remixes and original artist, Dianah, Billie, Marlena, Ella, Miles,Cassandra ,Nina,Jill,Angie,and the list just goes on ans on, They really appreciate the greats...Sitting in local bars or cafes is of the greatest pleaseurs....
By all means visit the music store Concerto, if they don't have it it has not been released (don't think Fame or Virgin) it is a true Amsterdam experience...
I had a young traveling companion, that was a little bored with the music store and tried to drag me kicking and screaming in ti the 21st centry of Ipods and downloads, but I understand the instant gratification genaration. They will never know the sound of records,and needle, the pleasure of 45s,331/3s, LPs but that is ok! But the Dutch understands and that is what is important the music is being preserved...and enjoyed by a new generation, including my friend, he too was amazed at the music...and that is what's important. he was able to hear it for in may instances the first time...One day he will understand the pleasure of choosing a CD, reading the liner notes and placing the CD in the changer and hearing that sweet sweet sound....I still have a tape deck and a turntable for goodness sakes!!!( it is ok to laugh here..).
The first day we were walking to one of my favorite places, when we saw the poster, The Harlem Gospel Choir in Concert ! and decided to go.....OK...now I have attended concerts in Amsterdam over the years and have always enjoyed them very much, so I felt no reserveations about going...now here is where it gets interesting!!!!!I will also post photos after I get my film developed (yes I still use a point and shoot) as I am slow sometimes. But this was one of the most interesting nights of my life! We went to the ticket center(something you must do in Amsterdam) and even got half price tickets! we then walked to Paradiso to see the distance from the hotel to plan our time for the next night......Looking forward to the Harlem Gospel Choir!!
So on the next night we left early to get to the hall and good thing too because there was a long line..then we had to buy membership to get in (no problem) when we entered we choose floor seats about 5 rows back on the end (good seats). A very interesting couple took seats next to us ( in Amsterdam it is ok to have conversations with people you are near) we started a nice conversation and it was all good.....Now I grew up in the South and remember" Revivals" so I was cool Until!!!!my friend went to get refreshments, and came back with BEER!!!Baby Louisiana and my Mama came flying through that room instantly!!!Beer and Gospel Music just did not instantly compute!!!!The look on my face must have been amazing, because I stopped in mid sentence and just stared at the beer and lost it!!!! You can take the man out of Louisiana but you can not take Louisiana out of the man, I have never laughed so hard in my life!!!WOW! But more confusion was yet to come!!!
The first group was a young Dutch Female Acappela Quartet that was very good, the second group was a gospel rock group which was very nice. The Third Group was when I started to get Nervous! it was a Polish Gospel Choir, lead by a Chicago Brother, (now I must say here I do believe in something bigger than me in this universe, butI have a fear of organized religion, I have paid too many dues and suffered a lot of pain)The first words out of the brothers mouth was " If you thought you were coming to a concert you are so wrong"!and started a serious guilt trip on the crowed!!!!Now picture this,I have beer in my hand and except for my friend, the only one in the area with a beer!!!!"We are here to praise"Get up"!and it looked like I had walked into a another time!!!All of you Southerners know what I am talking about it was a little freaky......I turned to my friend and asked should we leave(it was his first time) he said no lets stay awhile.....Now I am glad I did (I am still not to the best part)! The Polish Gospel Choir even though singing gospel were 2 steps from a disco I have never seen any gospel group get so close!!!!
Then the magic happend in the form of Ms. Naomi Shelton and The Gospel Queens! She was assisted down to the stage and WOW! Brooklyn can be very proud of this Lady!!!Here is a clip from a few nights later in Brussels, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xfCPl1zKpo
My friend did take videos of the night we were there but he has not sent them to me yet, but this is the group traveling with her currently, on their European tour, Amsterdam was the first city on the tour...When she did "A Change is gonna Come""Sam Cooke anyone " she brought the house down.....
I was really amazed at her stage presence and the Dutch loved her I am sure all of Eroupe will embrace her, as they did that night...She was so amazing she really took me home for one night.....I fell in love.....When she did this I was was lost!!!
Please keep up with her I am sure there will be more posted on You tube of the Eroupean trip so check her out.....
Now here is the Clincher, Naomi was not tthe closing act!NO NO the closing act was the Harlem Gospel Choir....and the first thing the Choir director said after the first song was "Not everyone from New York is from Harlem" !" We are from Brooklyn"!!!!! Now I wasssss really confused!!!! Is the Harlem Gospel Choir from Harlem or Brooklyn? Then they procceeded to try and take me back to that scary place!!!Jazzlovers I am not saying they were not good! but I was not at a Revival!!!and I was not up to a guilt trip at a concert,and that is when people started to leave including me....by the way only the Dutch singers and Naomi had mention on the morning news the next morning....I am truly trying to find news on the rest of the tour....as i said the Dutch knows music!!
Jazzlovers there will be more on Amsterdam in the next couple of post as there is lots to tell...My Birthday was one of the best I have ever had, The Dutch know how to relly say happy birthday, they made it very special! (but that's a whole nother story) too be continued!
Until then have a very Happy Holiday and a Wonderfully Happy New Year..Jazzlovers..You are Loved.
Keep the beat...