Gluren bij de Buren 2019
Wow! What a fantastic experience that was!!
On the 6th of October 2019 Houten held an arts festival called ‘Gluren bij de buren’, which is a name taken from a Dutch expression meaning to ‘peek into your neighbor’s house’.
So, fifty private homes opened their doors to a variety of performance artists and all the brave souls who traipsed from house to house in the continuous rain to see them.
Performers were both local and not and performed a 25 minute set three times.
In my case, that meant our house, our piano and my songs.
Luckily a lovely friend came to help the family host our guests and make sure everyone had their tea,coffee and cake.
I’m happy to say, it went fantastically!
(And yes…that includes all the piano mistakes ;-))
So, here’s a taste of the program I put together for my 25 minute show.
Unfortunately I don’t have any usable footage from the day but all songs are now on You Tube.
Gluren Bij de Buren 2019
2019 marks the 75th anniversary of the end of Nazi occupation in The Netherlands. Gluren Bij de Buren took this celebration of freedom as it’s theme and artists were asked to build their performance with notions of ‘freedom’ in mind.
I found myself looking back a few years to when the enormous walking-train of people fleeing war in Syria was weaving it’s way through our lives. Here in Houten a number of people were housed temporarily in one of our sports centres and many empathetic local hearts were broken by those people’s horrific experiences and their drive to find a safe life.
The sports hall is part of a complex that houses nurseries, gyms, play-barns, the police and fire stations, swimming center and care facilities.
One day, I cycled past the hall on the way to the gym, a place I had depended on heavily when we first came to the Netherlands, because it had good child-care and because I really needed to take care of myself after a the enormous upheaval of shifting country with little kids, a limited budget and a very limited support system.
And an odd thing popped into my mind.
I wanted to take those people resting temporarily from their horrendously endless flight, to the gym.
What was I thinking?!?!
But after a while I realized what that meant. I wanted them to come to the gym, because if they could do that, it meant they were sufficiently established somewhere to be able to think of something other than ‘fight or flight’. Having the mental energy to even consider something like a step-class is the kind of attention to health that only happens when immediate daily danger is no longer present.
So what I wanted for those people…was the end of fight-or-flight. I wanted a normal life for them. I wanted for them the freedom to think about the normal quandaries we seem to struggle with once we have secured food, warmth and freedom from physical danger.
And that’s how I approached the building of this little set of mime around the theme of freedom.
All these songs are about moments of human experience that make up the lives of those free from constraint, be it the fear of death
or even fear of controlling systems.
So here goes!
We opened with a song about the role music plays in our teenage lives when we’re possibly, if we’re lucky, the most fragile and vulnerable we’ll ever be.
Here’s a country style song about the healing of old scars.
Don’t tell me a woman can say this in all the world’s countries!
Even here, which is the most mature and advanced culture I’ve lived in, we still have a long way to go.
And then, there are the quiet moments that a safe and healthy life offers.
And of course…if all is well…you’re probably going to need a holiday soon!
And lastly…there’s home.
Even a safe stable life is never free from the fact that life is fragile.
And that was my set for Gluren Bij de Buren 2019!
I had a great time doing it and if you think my kind of work would fit into an event you’re organizing, send me a message.
I’d love to hear from you!
And if you’re wondering what happened to the Syrian people who were offered temporary respite, I do know that
Houten is now now home to a number of proud families.
I’m even lucky enough to teach their children.