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WPGM Reviews: Dutch Music Export At SXSW 2021

New Dutch Wave is an international movement focused on high-level Dutch creativity and entrepreneurship, which was launched at SXSW in 2017 to give Dutch artists the opportunity to perform in front of an international audience, but also to give entrepreneurs, start-ups and creatives more visibility on the global stage.

They have collaborated with Dutch Music Export to curate a music stage at SXSW 2021, and two artists from Amsterdam took over SXSW Online to show us their art and music as part of this New Dutch Wave showcase with Dutch Music Export! On stage were singer-songwriter Nana Adjoa and 60s Turkish music-inspired psychedelic rock and folk band Altın Gün.

Nana Adjoa is an Amsterdam-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. With an acclaimed album and several EPs to her name, and with a specific indie music style, she already knows where she is going.

For this event, Nana and her four-piece band played several songs in what felt like a full-on concert performance, starting with the single “No Room” from her 2020 album titled Big Dreaming Ants.

The song talks about the mind, how technology takes us hostage as the lyrics say, “Through the phone held hostage in your hand“. This first song is really soft, with Nana’s voice guiding you through the music and the different sounds and lyrics.

For the second track titled “National Song”, blue lights takeover the set to highlight the different vibe behind this new performance. The track is sadder than the first one and a tad bit slower paced.

It sees Nana talking about life, how we don’t have control over it and how we just live like society wants us too. Again, Nana mixes her mesmerizing voice with the band instrumentation and some electronic sounds, which gives the song more dimension.

The third and last single performed is titled “Cardboard Castle” and it is a more energetic track, with even a rock feel to it. It is all about lying, how it never ends well and how people can see through you at some point.

This song makes use of of more drum patterns and electric guitar arrangements, led by a stronger vocal performance from Nana than we have heard up until this point, with the set concluding with a full-band instrumental encore. All in all, Nana shows that she is an artist to follow, she has a great writing style and really put on a great performance with her band for SXSW 2021.

Altin Gun is an Anatolian rock and psychedelic Turkish folk band based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. They are composed of bassist Jasper Verhulst, Ben Ride on guitar, drummer Daniel Smienk, Erdinç Ecevit Yıldız and Merve Daşdemir both on vocals and keyboard, and finally Gino Groeneveld on percussion, the band performs on the SXSW Online festival stage for the Dutch Music Export Showcase.

For their SXSW 2021 performance with the Dutch Music Export showcase, the group performed three pieces of music, the first being “Sevda Olmasaydi” from their Yol album, which was released earlier this year. The band is true to itself in using folk sounds and also for the fact that their music is performed almost identically to their studio recordings.

“Sevda Olmasaydi” is followed by a performance of “Ordunun Dereleri”, which is from the same album and is also one of the most listened to tracks on the album so far. Finally, the group performed “Maçka Yollari” to end the showcase.

The three pieces of music generally keep the same captivating tones, smooth rhythm and high-level musicianship throughout, which is testament to the quality on their new album Yol.

With very folkloric tones brought by the bass, the mandolin and the percussion as well as the Turkish vocals, Altin Gun proved that folk music can be very powerful and that it has its place in our daily listening.

Despite the global pandemic, SXSW 2021 audiences were lucky enough to have Nana Adjoa and Altin Gun grace their performance stage and showcase the massive talents coming out of the Netherlands, thanks to the New Dutch Wave.

Both gave impressive performances and showed us their musical universes, but above all, Nana Adjoa and Altin Gun took the opportunity for worldwide visibility with both hands. They have not only inspired us to discover a bit more about the Dutch music scene, but they have cemented themselves as ones to watch going forward.

Words by Alice Briere, Stella Follain and Victoire Gonzalez // Edited by Ayo Adepoju

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