Music is fascinating. Okay, I have to admit that I'm not going out on a limb here, as I guess everyone will agree with this statement. But… isn’t it crazy how many emotions can those three simple words underlie? They were already very meaningful to me before, but they somehow got an extra layer of truth after the Ruins and Remains concert by Wolfert Brederode, Joost Lijbaart and Matangi I went to last week. As someone who has been to quite a lot of concerts, I wasn’t expecting to be moved by music in a completely different way than usual (silly Eider 😶🌫️). If you know me, you know I talk A LOT, yet here I am, struggling to put my feelings into words and describe how amazing the concert was. But bare with me, I think I’ll be able to - or at least I’ll make you be willing to go listen to their next concert!
A bit of context before I dive into the topic. Right after graduating from my Master’s, I started working as Social Media Manager for Matangi. As someone who loves challenges, experimenting and getting out of my comfort zone, I got to say that for me this job has it all! Although I was super excited when they offered me to work with them, my lack of experience and knowledge about the field brougth me thoughts like “I’ve never done it before, will what I do be good (enough)? And how will I know if it’s good (enough)? ...” with the added difficulty of posting in Dutch! Of course all those insecurities still come to the surface sometimes, but they’re a nice reminder to trust myself and the process, knowing that I will get better at it over time. In fact, I’ve been enjoying getting to know more about social media, video editing (I think this is my favorite part so far!), the differences between the platforms, the kind of content that can be more attractive and meaningful for the followers…
Part of my job consists of going to Matangi’s concerts to get content; I mean, isn’t that amazing? I’ve discovered a lot of new repertoire, I’m getting an inside view of how a professional string quartet works, and most importantly, I’ve reaffirmed to myself how important it is for me to work in the music scene. I’m so happy of how much I’m growing personally and musically, while working with people I look up to 🤩
Matangi recorded the Ruins and Remains album in 2021 with Wolfert Brederode (who also composed this suite for piano, string quartet and percussion) and Joost Lijbaart, and they were just awarded an Edison Jazz 2023 in the Instrumentaal Nationaal category! You can click the box below to listen as you continue reading :)
Anyway, let’s get to the point of the post: the concert. Of all the Matangi concerts I’ve been to, Ruins and Remains was my favorite one so far. Unlike most of the times I go to concerts (not only Matangi's, but in general), I had no idea of what to expect, and I think that might have been the reason why I liked it so much: because I was surprised. 70 minutes of non-stop music in which time seemed to stop and all I could feel was calmness and freedom, completely disconnecting from the outside world. And I bet I was not the only one… everyone in the room seemed to be connected to the music in a way that was almost tangible. It may seem hard to understand and turns out to be close to impossible to describe, but I could, in one way or another, feel that we were all on the same boat, letting ourselves go to the music and just being in the moment.
If I was able to feel that, it was mainly thanks to the connection and communication between the musicians. It seemed as if they were exploring the possibilities of sound as one group - not six individuals - which I could hear as well as see. I loved how they reacted and responded to what the others were doing and how they interacted with the space, filling every inch of the room. Music was definitely a language, so spontaneous and natural that it gave me the impression of being improvised.
“At a number of levels, the piece has to do with grief and loss and learning to stand up again” - Wolfert Brederode about Ruins and Remains
The warmth of the music opened the room for introspection, and although I had no idea of the relationship between the music with grief and loss beforehand, I must admit that’s where my thoughts decided to travel to. I loved how all the tracks were so smoothly connected into one whole concept without interruptions, which only made it easier to lose myself in me.
All of these elements together made it both a special and inspirational moment. As I mentioned in the beginning, it was somehow different to other concerts that I’ve been to, in the sense that it took me to places where music hadn’t taken me before. I created a connection between those feelings of putting my mind blank, relaxing, taking deep breaths and letting go completely, and music. I had no worries, no pressure and no expectations, I was just being in a room, that was my only purpose. And for once in my life, it felt so amazing to JUST BE. Thanks to music, and because of music.
It brings me so much peace to think back on it, and I’m sure it will become an anchor memory to look back to and try to transmit that warmth and intimacy in my playing. Will I ever be able to reflect all these in social media? I don’t even think it’s possible, but I guess that’s where the grandeur of music and art lies.
Check out Matangi's coming concerts here!