How wonderful it is to receive photos from someone else who had also enjoyed that marvelous cultural programme of the Spring Festival and Queen’s Birthday of the Netherlands India Association! This past Sunday 25th April in a village between Utrecht and the Hague, about 100 people gathered to enjoy a meeting of two cultures. I mingled among the members of this cultural association, while Robert waited in the dressing room for the show to begin.
A tall Dutch gentleman told me about the kind people he befriended in India. It’s like a second home to him, and he encouraged me to go there. Today I received his e-mail with three photos of the performances that evening. He wrote:
“We hebben elkaar afgelopen zondag ontmoet tijdens de bijeenkomst van the Netherlands-India Association. Het was leuk om je te leren kennen en wat gedachten en ervaringen uit te wisselen.” We met each other last Sunday at the event of the Netherlands India Association. It was interesting to get to know each other.
While watching the Indian dancer on stage, I wondered whether there is a Dutch-Chinese cultural association, or a Dutch-Taiwanese, or Dutch-Singaporean, or other cultural associations that I could be part of.
True, I was fascinated by the Indian culture largely through movies I’ve watched and my Punjabi neighbours from Okinawa who introduced me to Indian food. Practising yoga brought me closer to India, but I have still not set foot in that country of a thousand scents and languages. Some ladies even asked if I came from the north eastern part of India near the Himalayas. Is India so vast that I, with my Chinese features, could be mistaken as an inhabitant?
The realisation that there might be many cultural associations where our piano guitar duo could participate dawned on me when Robert appeared on stage. He represented the Dutch part of the cultural programme, after the Indian classical dance.
Robert Bekkers did not mention that he was playing a concert guitar built by a Dutch man in Amsterdam. His programme was not Dutch though he did choose well-known guitar solos by non-Dutch composers, namely
- Cappricho Arabe Francisco Tarréga
- Decameron Noir -II Leo Brouwer
- Ultimo Tremolo Augustín Barrios Mangore
- Asturias Isaac Albéniz
Below is a short extract from Ultimo Tremolo of Barrios.
At the end of his programme, he paid tribute to the evening’s celebration with a guessing game of famous Dutch tunes. I particularly enjoyed his improvisation on the Dutch national anthem —- something I will video in the tulip gardens to share with the world.