Consider the following an example of the power of music:
On April 30, Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands ascended to the king’s throne, and a song was commissioned by special committee for his coronation. Numerous popular Dutch artists worked on the composition, and children through- out the country were asked to perform the song in unison on the big day.
The song, which was composed by John Ewbank and includes lyrical submissions by various Netherlanders, didn’t rest well with some. And one listen to “Koningslied” explains why. A wacky rap interlude, a forgettable melody, and lyrics that appear to be written by an über-patriotic preschooler make for a messy endeavor that plays like a Disney-constructed satire of Dutch piety. Case in point, this bit of English translation from Dutch writer Stefan Keerssemeeckers:
W for William/Three fingers in the air, come on, come on/The W for William is the W for We ... W for Water, which we face without relenting/We make the water dry and build dikes/I’ll wear a banner with your name! … I’ll believe in you, as long as we exist!/I’ll build a dike with my bare hands!/And keep the water away from you!
Well, alrighty then. The song was unveiled in April and was also worked into a cringe-worthy music video on YouTube. The backlash was immediate. As of coronation day more than 41,000 people in the Netherlands had signed a petition calling for the song’s head, the petition stating, “In protest at this imbecilic King’s Song, I hereby abdicate as a Dutch subject.” Overreaction? Probably. The inauguration committee initially withdrew the song, but the decision was reversed on April 22.
So you see, music can stir an entire nation, albeit in multiple directions. The “Koningslied” is dead. Long live the “Koningslied.” You can check out the music video by searching YouTube for “Koningslied (Officiële uitgave).” You can then immediately call your therapist.
Shreddin’ ready, Brozart!
There’s little chance of such embarrassment occurring in the United States anytime soon. First of all, we sort of have an ingrained aversion to the whole kingdom thing. Second, our emerging musicians tend to kick butt. Take, for instance, the folks performing at 6 p.m. Friday, May 3, as part of New Mexico School for the Arts’ year-end guitar recital at High Desert Guitars (1807 Second St., Suite 107, 983-8922).
The evening’s program includes “Variations on a Theme by Mozart” by Fernando Sor, performed by Mohit Dubey; “La Catedral” by Agustín Barrios, performed by Jake Montiel; and John Dowland’s “My Lord Willoughby’s Welcome Home,” performed by Luke Griffin and Sam Mozley. There are a few surprises, but Dubey and company aren’t spilling the beans. The program runs about an hour, there’s no cover, and no one will be asked to explain in song what a particular “W” stands for.
An instrumental role
The Candyman Strings & Things (851 St. Michael’s Drive, 983-5906) is geared up for its Fourth Annual Wanna Play? Experience, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 4. Each year, Candyman owners Cindy and Rand Cook invite people of all ages who don’t play an instrument to come in, get their hands on one, and have some fun without the pressure that can arise in many musical-learning environments.
Grab a mini lesson or two. Visit the instrument “petting zoo.” Play games for prizes. Stepbridge Studios is bringing its interactive recording suite, pro musicians will be on hand, and there will be art and music activities for the whole family. You can also check out some cool gadgets, like the ChordBuddy guitar-learning system. The event is free, and it’s a ton of fun.
— Rob DeWalt