elephant songs 2012 – drumbiker


Elephant Songs is a band with an always changing line-up: new musicians join drummer Robbert van Hulzen everywhere on his way from South India to the Netherlands on an old Enfield motorcycle loaded with drums.
Eleven countries, 20,000 kilometres, and as many musicians as I can find in the six or seven months the trip will take.

see all morning pictures

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Blind people gather round an elephant. Touching it. They all feel different parts of the beast – the head feels like a pot, the tip of the tail could be a brush. A leg a pillar, the trunk a snake.
Elephant Songs is the optimistic inversion of the old story of the blind men and the elephant. Everyone experiences music differently, but we’re all partly in the right, and as musicians we can always create a piece of music together, whatever we call it and wherever we come from. From our different backgrounds and perceptions, we’ll compose an elephant – if our parts add up to an elephant, that is. Could be a bulldozer. A dead rabbit. A christmas tree, or an Enfield 350 cc motorcycle.

I’m playing with with a few musicians each time, ideally in a previously not existing combination. Each group creates original music based on tunes from my elephant songbook (playing with odd metre rock grooves, filmic melodies, South Indian rhythm games, homespun harmonies, and a delicate balance between composition and improvisation) and pieces brought by the other members-of-the-moment. We’ll perform – in someone’s living room or on a brightly-lit stage – and record the results.
 I post audio and video of the encounters on my blog nocount.org, along with stories and image of the motorcycle trip.
20,000 kilometres through fourteen countries on a 1979 350 cc Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycle. From Madras and India’s deep south straight up to Amritsar, crossing into Pakistan at the Wagah border. After Lahore, Quetta, and the somewhat nervousness-inspiring Baluchistan desert, I crossed into Iran, travelling through through south eastern deserts, fairy-tale Isfahan, and Tehran. Came into Turkey near Doğubeyazıt (Armenia and Georgia were put on hold for the next trip), now following the stunningly beautiful northern coast to Istanbul. I’ll continue northwest into Europe: Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Germany, and finally the low lands.

selected elephant songs 2012 – drumbiker

see more elephant songs videos

uploading the last of 2012’s videos over the next few weeks – video and audio including another track of the successful show at darbast, tehran in june), highlights of the elephant songs show with duygu demir and meriç demirkol at nina’s, istanbul (august), the final track of the elephant songs show at true brew, lahore (april), playing with dhol-drummers conga and mitthu sain at peeru’s café, lahore (april), elephant songs at plantation house, bangalore (february)


the posts tagged elephant songs are about the “official concerts” with video, photos, and text


the bike

Music has taken Dutch drummer Robbert van Hulzen to many places (Indonesia, the USA, Palestine, Canada, Italy, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain etc), and he’s been visiting India for many years, playing with various groups and musicians from the fusion scene and the classical world, including Maarten Visser, Keith Peters, Mishko M’ba, and BK Chandramouli. In Amsterdam, he works in the (free) jazz scene (with many musicians including Alfredo Genovesi, John Dikeman, Ned McGowan), dancer Michael Jahoda, contemporary gamelan ensemble Gending, and many others, and writes and produces music for film and theatre. He holds MA degrees in musicology from the Amsterdam University and performance from the Amsterdam Conservatory and studied Indian rhythm with MT Rajakesari, BC Manjunath, Suresh Talwalkar, Sundar Nagarajan and others.

past shows

Date artist City Venue
30 January
elephant songs ntr – dichtbij nederland hilversum
2 November
elephant songs rood|noot utrecht
please sign up if you want to have dinner ** yedo gibson (saxophones), ayman asfour (violin), nizar rohana (oud) jornt duyken, fabrizio colonna, khaled kaddal, alfredo genovesi (guitar), marco bonarius (double bass), robbert van hulzen (drums) ** and photos and filmclips and stories of the trip

26 October
beukorkest burootje beukorkest eindhoven
6 October
elephant songs acud, quergebäude rechts II berlin
jeremy woodruff (woodwinds), robbert van hulzen (drums)

5 October
elephant songs the julian percy after party @ zmf – zur möbelfabrik berlin
taishi nagasaka (voice, electronics) & robbert van hulzen (drums)

1 October
elephant songs radio diy church berlin
23 September
/na:u/ & robbert van hulzen studio alt@ prague
20 August
elephant songs ninabar istanbul
meriç demirkol (saxophones), duygu demir (cello), robbert van hulzen (drums)

10 August
elephant songs kooperatif istanbul
duygu demir (cello), meriç demirkol (saxophones), öz (violin), john (guitar), robbert van hulzen (drums)

7 July
elephant songs village square jennat roudbar
majjid rahnama (ney, sorna, setar, voice) & robbert van hulzen (drums)

25 June
elephant songs darbast tehran
daryoush azar (double bass) mohammad azmand (guitar) rouzbeh esfandarmaz (clarinet) arash lotfi (percussion) behnam moayerian (ud) hesam mohammadianpour (percussion) omid nemati (voice) soheil peyghambari (clarinet) kaveh salehi (guitar) mahyar tahmasebi (setar & cello) robbert van hulzen (drums)

24 June
elephant songs darbast tehran
daryoush azar (double bass) mohammad azmand (guitar) rouzbeh esfandarmaz (clarinet) arash lotfi (percussion) behnam moayerian (ud) hesam mohammadianpour (percussion) omid nemati (voice) soheil peyghambari (clarinet) kaveh salehi (guitar) mahyar tahmasebi (setar & cello) robbert van hulzen (drums)

10 June
elephant songs parkingallery tehran
arash lotfi – percussion, ney, kaveh kamjou – oud, robbert van hulzen – drums

26 April
elephant songs true brew lahore
11 April
goonga & mithu sain, rani taj, robbert van hulzen peeru’s café lahore
dhol & drums

7 April
mian meeri qawal’s troupe peeru’s café lahore
5 April
elephant songs lums university lahore
coonga & mithu sain – dhol, jonas stampe – guitar, robbert van hulzen – drums

3 March
mylai s mohanraj & troupe prakriti’s festival of sacred music @ pushya mahal ghat thiruvaiyaru
mylai s mohanraj & troupe – nadaswaram & thavil, robbert van hulzen – drums

19 February
elephant songs fireflies bangalore
amit heri – guitar
maarten visser – saxophones
keith peters – bass
robbert van hulzen – drums

18 February
elephant songs plantation house bangalore
maarten visser – saxophone
keith peters – bass
robbert van hulzen – drums

10 February
elephant songs b-flat bangalore
maarten visser – saxophone
keith peters – bass
robbert van hulzen – drums

morning pictures

One Reply to “elephant songs 2012 – drumbiker”

  1. hi. i met you in choa saiden shah, town in pujab pakistan. i think you remember us had orange juice together.
    this was an excellent trip. hope you have nice feelings. i will appriciate if you share some pictures of the event in my town.
    thanks and take care

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