Last year one of my best friends had a bachelor party in Amsterdam, and prior to coming into town for it I was able to set up a show at the CC Muziekcafe in De Pijp. That night I performed with a female violinist, Femke Ravensbergen, (check out her music here: Bird in a Glasshouse) and was also joined halfway through the set by a traditional Balkan drummer and mandolin player, who had played in a Balkan band that played before me. It was great night, the place was packed. Bizarrely, the Dutch idol winner happened to be in the bar along with a guy who is truly amazing, called Kyteman. Kyteman is a wicked trumpet player who pulls together eclectic groups of musicians for recordings and shows, including a lot of hip-hop artists. He has won numerous Dutch grammys.

Tree House

Amsterdam Lodging


Vondelpark, Amsterdam

Cheese Shop

My favorite cheese shop

Canal Boat

I want a boat like this

I was able to book another show there this summer. A week before the show, I met with Femke again to jam and work on some songs. We met at her place, which was a few tram stops south of the city center. Femke’s directions had me walking past some “white buildings, the prison, and then my place is 30m down on the right.” It turned out that, though she and her friends had been trying to make the complex legit, they had been squatting in the building the past few years. That situation permitted them to do crazy things, such as build the treehouse above from some pallets. Femke and I ended up having dinner and jamming for several hours – I had proposed trying to start a duo with her.

We were joined at dinner by a fascinating guy, Kenneth, of the Kenyan acrobatic troupe,Nafsi Afrika Acrobats, who was crashing with one of Femke’s friends in the complex. His troupe does ridiculous acrobatic routines and seeks to promote peace, in general, and to bridge the gaps between Kenya’s tribes. The group has been doing tours throughout Europe for the past several years. Check out one of their videos here. When you meet someone like Kenneth, who is doing something so creative and bold with limited resources, you realize how lucky our own buying power alone makes us. If I were not from the US or a country with similar resources, it would be very difficult for me to pull off this several-month trip I’ve been on.

After jamming for a while, Femke and I were joined by two of her girlfriends. The four of us went up to the treehouse and talked, played music and drank nearly an entire bottle of Bailey’s until the wee hours. Then I stayed up there and went to sleep. There was a decent mattress inside the treehouse, and I slept like a baby.

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