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Dancing on the inside and out

April 27th, 2011

Filed under: MUSIC


Staff Benda Bilili

Staff Benda Bilili‘s story is one worth knowing (there is indeed a film), but if you ever get the chance to see them live, you’ll be inspired by their music alone. Many members were once paraplegic street musicians; now they are an 8-piece internationally renowned band (they are, alas, still paraplegic). Their rhythms demand toe-tapping and their happiness force smiles and laughter in kind. Staff Benda Bilili’s dance music is infectious and the somewhat staid crowd in the Eindhoven Airport Zaal (in the Muziekgebouw) thawed out by the end, where around 150 people in the theatre got footloose in front of the footlights. I couldn’t squirm out of my dead-centre seats, pinned in as I was by serious types; so after dancing a while with my eyes and my heart, I started to dance in my seat. In doing so, I felt a great affinity with the group, many of whom are wheelchair bound.

After leaving the concert, we saw in the Eindhoven market square that there was another concert in progress – the TU/E (Technical University Eindhoven) is celebrating 55 years. In honour of this milestone they’re throwing a couple of City Concerts. Tonight was Orkest Zuid and Gerard van Maasakkers, and tomorrow pop starlet Ilse DeLange will take centrestage. People were seated in their optimum spots in the cafés and bars encircling the stage; the masses were standing, beers in hand, and swaying in that Dutch way, singing along to some of the classics Gerard was churning out.

The crowd at the TU/E city concert

A glimpse of Orkest Zuid and Gerard van Maasakkers

Perhaps pop on down to check it out on Thursday. At any rate, there’s music to be found in the city; inside and out … with significance that can move you, deep within – or perhaps more superficially, through dance (both sorts have a place!). While at times I felt a lot of the former this evening, more of the latter will likely be stumbled upon wherever you go as we get closer to the unavoidably festive Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day).

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