Groninger Museum Live: Female edition

After the success of last years Groninger Museum Live editions, the concept is back. It’s been altered a bit adding poetry and theater, but also there’s still music. This first edition of the year was to include Aafke Romeijn, whom I failed to see every time I got the chance so far and also a performance by Mattanja Joy Bradley.

This edition is based on the current exposition of “Nordic Art“. Upon arrival the audience can walk around the museum on the first floor of the museum where a part of the museums art can be viewed. Also walking around here were some frivolous dressed women, some obviously Norwegian dressed elder women and a group of men up to no good (people in a museum wearing ski masks cannot be a good sign).


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Two stairs up I arrived in a huge hall. I’ve been here a few times for expositions, but seeing it setup with a stage it makes sense they’re organizing it here now. The locations of last year were great -literally- between the arts but here they have a dedicated space with more options to organize events. The acoustics however do leave a bit to be desired, bit too much resonance perhaps?

There’s a big stage, filled with instruments, but first up is Aafke Romeijn playing solo. Between all the instruments on that stage Aafke looks tiny and very alone. But the concert is superb. Lots of Dutch songs (a change from her album ‘Stella Must Die’) and Aafke looks at ease on the stage chatting between the songs, adding a good dose of humor and stories. Had a great time and hope I’ll be able to catch a gig of her again sometime.


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As the stage was being cleared I headed downstairs again to have a look around the exposition, bumped into Mattanja and promptly missed the poetic performances by  Henny Klooster-Peper and Jet Langerak. When I arrived the improvisation comedy and theatrer group ‘Stranger Things Have Happened‘ was abut to start. Having the audience choose one of the paintings of the Nordic Art exposition and the emotions that goes with it, the group started improvising around the theme of silence. Great fun, but I would have liked to see a bit more interaction/steering from the audience (but then the time they had did not really allow for much  of that).


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Next up was a classical piece by the Prins Claus Conservatory group NAIP (New Audiences and Innovative Practices) playing anothre Nordic Art inspires piece consisting of 5 parts.


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While the stage was getting cleared for the next performance, in a side-space a student of the Minerca Acedemy presented a work of art that was also based on the Museums exposition. Unfortunately due to the resonance and me trying to take photos in this ill lit location I didn’t get anything of the information she gave, but checking out the work afterwards I did see that she definitely took an adult view to the works :)


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Back at the stage Mattanja Joy Bradley played an excellent set. A bit of singer-songwriter, but with a spoonful of swing and blues. It was great seeing Mattanja again. Having seen her in De Roodehaan late 2011, with her band Bradley’s Circus at the Bluesdagen of 2012, seeing her bandmate Andre van der Boogaart in the latest edition of the Bluesdagen and now Mattanja again. Had a great time and it was great catching up with her again, short though it was. Will have to try and make it to the album-presentation of the new Bradley’s Circus album.


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Last performance of the evening was an dance/choreography act with choreography by Aglaya Koika. Here all the costumed visitors of the museum (the frivolous ladies, the Norwegian elders, the crookes) danced in a piece that acted out themes of various works of the Nordic Art exposition and moved from location to location with the dancers dancing in between the audience and the audience moving with the dancers from location to location. After the performance Aglaya informed us that there was to be a surprise-addition. Explaining that in the old days prostitutes could be freed from their position if a man agreed to marry her the boyfriend of one of the ‘frivolous women’ asked her to marry him to which she -luckily- replied with an absolute YES! A great way to end the first edition of Groningen Museum Live 2013.


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All in all a very good start of the new season. The hall is a great location giving the museum room for new and different acts. The only downside is the resonance of the hall which made speech and song a bit hard to follow every now and then.

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