Shape Of You cover

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Shape Of You cover

First of all, let me just tell you that I hit 25,000 followers on Acapella App! How crazy is that? My videos are averaging at least 1000+ likes and the community is really a supportive and creative one! 

For my latest video,  I really went one level up in a number of ways. Firstly, it's the first video where I recorded myself playing djembe! It's a new instrument to my skill-set, and I've only been playing since February. But it is so much fun! The second way that this video is better than my previous ones is because I finally bought a new bass amp (Roland Cube-20CX Bass) and some new recording equipment so I can record directly to the Acapella App on my iPhone. 

I chose Ed Sheeran's Shape Of You to cover because it is just so damn catchy and since it's a loop it would be easier to make the compilation. I had new singers willing to collab with me and also singers who had already sung with me before. It was a real mix of people and everyone added their own unique spin to the song. So grateful for their talents! 

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GIG REVIEW: Sabar Challenge Afterparty at Sociëteit SEXYLAND

After going to see Dele Sosimi a couple weeks ago and not being too inspired, I went to the afterparty of the Sabar Challenge Festival 2017 (dance style from Senegal) with Bianca, Gaëlle and Gwen on invitation from our percussion teacher, Martin. 

Now, THIS was more like it! African bands and dancing! 

First up was a band called Nusodia, a West-African percussion and dance group, based on the traditions of Burkina Faso. As a coincidence, the guy who Bianca and I bought our djembe from (and his girlfriend) were both in the band! 

They had many different percussion instruments including djembe and the dancers were playing this wooden 'salad bowl'-shape with beads on the outside and each time they threw the bowl and spun it around it would make a sound. But more than the percussion, their unique sound comes from the melodic instruments called 'balafon' (xylophone) and the 'ngoni' (African harp). 

Other performances that evening were Sysmo (percussion group using a unique system with more than 100 hand signals), Taneber dancing and Ussu & The New Balansa

More about Nusodia:
Facebook

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GIG REVIEW: Dele Sosimi at Bimhuis

Since starting a world percussion course at CREA in February, I tried to find some concerts that would have a touchpoint to African artists and/or African percussion. It's quite a broad spectrum, so the search didn't take too long before I found a concert of Dele Sosimi at Bimhuis in Amsterdam. He is one of the most active of the original Afrobeat scene, founded by Fela Anikulapo Kuti. He played keyboard with Kuti for 7 years. 

If you removed the vocals, the music was pretty much funk. So interesting how vocals can make such a unique spin on it. The band was amazing, along with the solos from the trombonist and tenor saxophonist! Dele himself was very energetic, positive and a good band leader. 

The concert was a seated one, and was hard for some audience members to sit down, so they got up to dance at the back of the hall! Soon enough the vibes were running through the whole crowd and we ended up all getting up for a little dance.

One thing I did think was missing though, was more use of (West) African drums. The saxophonist sometimes played a hand percussion which was a wooden block, but I really missed some djembe or conga or bongo drums... Another was the female back-up vocalists/dancers. The trombonist and drummer doubled as the choir which sounded quite good, but just wasn't the real deal, if you know what I mean. 

The Bimhuis broadcast the concert on Bimhuis Radio and can be found here on Mixcloud. If we had known earlier, Bianca and I would probably have agreed that it would have been better to have a glass of wine with the music playing in the background. 

More about Dele Sosimi:
Official Website

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ITC Open 2017 - The Bush Bandits

For the second year in a row, I played with my band The Bush Bandits at the ITC Open - The Conference for ICT-Research in the Netherlands. Today we had a couple extra bandits - Paul Traas and Ben Whittle who will be joining us more often from now on! But more band members did not mean a more attentive audience... this time we played during the 'borrel' in the foyer so many of the participants of the conference we busy with beers, bitterballen and taking a breather from listening to the presentations. 

However, the stage was a beautiful moroccan-inspired lounge room at Flint, a beautiful theatre and conference centre in the Dutch town Amersfoort. 

Coincidentally, it was my birthday so I went out with the band and extended groupies to an eventful 3-course dinner in the neighbourhood. 

Thanks once again to Ad Buter, our guitarist for arranging the gig for us!

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GIG REVIEW: Tegan and Sara at Paradiso, Amsterdam

It has been 7 years since I last saw Tegan and Sara in concert. It's amazing to see the identical twins from Canada are still going strong internationally after so many albums. It was not a sold out concert, but the crowd was full of girls and a few tall guys at the front who were big fans. 

Tegan was the main one of the two, the main talker, the one who played guitar, the main songwriter but all of my friends who came along all agreed that Sara was the cuter one and because she's more introverted. Both seem incredibly down to earth and entertained the crowd with stories and engaged with members of the audience who recently had heartbreaks. 

They played their new songs (my favourite one is called 'Boyfriend') and my old faves such as Walking With A Ghost, Back In Your Head, Alligator and Closer. 

All in all it was a cute concert. Wouldn't die to see them again during this tour, but maybe in 7 years again! Thank you to my special Bianca for taking me along! <3 

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Return Of The Mack cover

I'm back! After spending 3 months down under, I decided to record a cover of Return Of The Mack by Mark Morrison as a soundtrack to acknowledge my return to Amsterdam. Swedish DJ Nevada covered the original and made it into a summery club jam and I thought it was super catchy that I had to do a cover myself. Also, a lot of my latest covers on Acapella App were really slow and cello-eque, so this time I thought it would be fun to try something new, which includes singing and dressing up. Let me know if it's a good move, or an embarrassing one!

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One Day I'll Fly Away cover

A girl I met on Acapella App made a request for me to sing the Song from John Lewis Christmas Ad 2016 ONE DAY I'LL FLY AWAY by VAULTS. The original song is by Randy Crawford but it had a totally different feel so I opted to do the lush string version which was also made famous by Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge. 

Happy holidays everyone and all the best for 2017!

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GIG REVIEW: 2CELLOS at Palais Theatre, Melbourne

After missing 2CELLOS concert in Amsterdam Cello Biënnale in 2014 due to a vacation, and then missing them for the second time this year due to travel plans (!) I just let go the idea that I would ever see them live. Until I received a letter in the mail from someone dear to my heart with a ticket to their sold-out Melbourne show! WOW! 

I arrived at the gorgeous Palais Theatre, one of my favorite concert hangouts in Melbourne, and took my seat. The support act, The Twoks, consisted of an ex couple, the lead singer/violinist and drummer who sang quirky love songs about their break up and other trivial topics. 

When 2CELLOS came on stage they just did their thing like clockwork. Both Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser, who have been classically trained by the best (Luka finished his Masters at the Royal Academy of Music in London and Stjepan at RNCM in Manchester along with winning many international competitions and studied with the top cellists of this age) were so technically sound but then like supermen on top of it. They were like super cellists. Luka is the introverted, gentle and "quiet achiever"-type who plays the bass (he tunes the C string down to a low G) and the rhythm, while Stjepan plays the joker, flirter and "wild guy" and during the rock half of the concert he wore his electric cello with a custom rig and rocked the stage. They also brought out a drummer in the rock half of the concert. During Michael Jackson's Human Nature, one guy from the audience shouts out "WHAY WHAY" in the most Australian accent and continued to do so until the end of the song and in the end became the hero of the night. 

2CELLOS were absolutely mindblowingly amazing. 

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Meeting Vince Pizzinga

A long-lost penpal who I finally met, 13 years later! 

In 2003, as a teenage fangirl I became obsessed with Australian singer/songwriter Delta Goodrem and her album Innocent Eyes. All the songs were so catchy and she was so amazingly inspiring as a human being. She could sing beautifully, play the piano, but most of all, she sparkled when she played and whenever she was interviewed. 

When I discovered that her album had strings, I was adamant on playing with her in the future. So as simple as that, I checked the credits on the CD booklet and searched the name of her producer, Vince Pizzinga on the Internet and sent him an email. To my surprise, Vince replied to my first email and we somehow became friends. I had a lot of questions about how he got into the music industry, and told him my frustrations of being a classical cellist and not knowing how to get into pop music. 

Eventually we lost touch, but with Facebook and Instagram, we ended up 'staying connected'. As Vince relocated to Los Angeles in 2006, I thought I would never have the change to meet him. Then by chance, I was going to Sydney for a conference and I saw he was posting photos from Sydney and invited him for a coffee. 

We talked about our projects and passions and just started to get to know each other from scratch. He told me about being the musical director and playing the cello for Delta's Wings of the Wild tour, his new joint cafe venture Matcha Mylkbar and making a documentary with his friend. What an amazing kindhearted interesting and not to mention humble soul Vince is, exactly how he was in the emails. So great that people like this in the world exist. I am so grateful to have met him and hope to meet him again one day. 

Vince with Delta Goodrem and the boys performing her new killer single The River at the NRL Footy Show

The album - 'Innocent Eyes' (Sony/BMG) subsequently had over 4.5 million sales worldwide, was awarded ARIA “Album Of The Decade” in 2011 and in 2003, Delta Goodrem was the winner of 7 ARIA Awards. 

More about Vince:
Official Website
Instagram

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Meeting July Jones in London

The first friend I made on Acapella App and met in real life!

July Jones (soul-pop singer/songwriter based in London) was one of the first people I followed on Acapella App was who I discovered on the popular page. She really stood out to me and I liked her unique style. So I reached out to her just to connect and we immediately became friends. We talked a while about which song to collab together and before I knew it, I was heading to London for work and it gave us a chance to meet up! 

We met up for lunch on a beautiful sunny day with both our girls and it was so unreal to exchange stories about life and where we want to go with our music. We even talked about one day playing together. What an inspiration to meet such a smart, talented and confident young lady at only 20 years old! So grateful for the Acapella App which has a community FULL of amazing people! 

We also finally did a collab together - Runnin' (Lose It All) by Naughty Boy feat. Beyoncé: https://mixcord.co/acapella/p/L9BxgiJQPv22HeB-3p83VA/

Follow us on Acapella App: JulyJones and thewongjanice

Check out July Jones:
Official website
YouTube
Instagram
 

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Cheap Thrills Compilation

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Cheap Thrills Compilation

1 cellist, 13 singers and 2 violinists!

So a few weeks ago I put the cello music up for Cheap Thrills on Acapella App and asked if anyone wanted to sing with me. Again, I was blown away by the talent of these people!!! People who I don't even know! Grateful and happy to collaborate with these people on this app. 

If you don't know Acapella App, download it on the Apple iTunes Store or Google Play Store

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Work From Home Compilation

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Work From Home Compilation

A few weeks ago I put up my video on @acapellaapp and asked if anyone wanted to sing Work From Home. I had around 40 random singers record any part of the song and this is the AMAZING RESULT of these singers put together! 

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I MET GRACE CHATTO FROM CLEAN BANDIT!

Can't believe I met Grace Chatto, the cellist from Clean Bandit. I saw Clean Bandit perform in 2014 in Utrecht and when I saw Grace playing her NS Design electric cello I knew it was the one for me. It took me one year to save up to buy it and now I finally have it. I called it Grace. 

Anyway the night before I was supposed to fly to Germany for the yearly adidas Global Brand conference I was reading the lineup for the festival they organised and I saw CLEAN BANDIT on the list. WTF!!! Wow I was so happy! I was going to try to meet Grace! 

As I arrived at Nuremberg airport I was thinking about how I could meet Grace and who I could contact... I came up with a plan and 1 hour later I was snuck in and was watching their sound check! After a long rehearsal (they were not really warmed up yet and the singer was still finding her flow) they finished and as they were about to leave, I was invited to come and talk to Grace. I nervously chatted about having the same cello, and she said she was still not used to it yet and had to look at the frets. It was a bit awkward and very quick, but I thanked her for inspiring me and got a photo together. That was enough! 

It was a cool festival. Jungle was the first act, followed by Clean Bandit and then Stormzy. There were food trucks in city themes, and a hot air balloon on a crane. It was an amazing show put on by adidas, and leaves us feeling proud and inspired. 

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GIG REVIEW: Alessia Cara at Melkweg, Amsterdam

The night I went to Alessia Cara's concert it was my birthday. My very good and dear friend Jen took me out on the occasion. I don't consider myself old, but it was a bit of a coincidence that on the day of my birthday, it was the first concert where I felt super old (ok, at Justin Bieber's concert as well, but I expected children to be there..). 

The first support act was a handsome singer songwriter, Craig Stickland (who turned out to be the guitarist of her band) and all the young girls were screaming at him. Usually Dutch crowds are not so enthusiastic for support acts but that's when I realised there was something unusual about this crowd. They were super young. I saw a lot of parents in the crowd. When the support act left and the dj was playing some tunes to fill in the gap, he played Justin Bieber's 'Sorry', and at once, the whole crowd cheered and started singing along. I actually had to laugh about it, because we were there to see live music, but they were excited to just hear any familiar song. 

Alessia herself is just a mere 19, but she has a very big voice. I liked a lot that she had a lot of positive energy and motivational words for her equally young fans. They all tried to touch her hand and give her letters, just as teen fans do. She was sweet, and so were they. They all put their phones up and I could see that a lot of them were recording videos on snapchat. This was when I really felt like I'm in a different generation. 

Alessia's band was really good, and the production of her songs are excellent. A great little pop act, she was a delight to see. 

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GIG REVIEW: Lianne La Havas supported by Roseau at Paradiso, Amsterdam

I had the privilege of seeing these two London beauties, Lianne La Havas and her good friend/support act Roseau, perform a sold-out show in Amsterdam's iconic Paradiso. I played with Roseau on the small stage of Paradiso in 2013, when she performed in duo Peter & Kerry. Roseau's (Kerry Leatham) new act is more electronic, introverted and less 'singer-songwriter' than Peter & Kerry. The music is definitely closer to her heart and comes from within. 

The last time I saw Lianne was in the Summer at Lowlands 2015. Lianne was great. The crowd was a mix of very young fans at the front, dads in the back, and other mainstreamers (including me and my date for the evening) from 20-35. The crowd was super attentive and very quiet when Lianne played with her guitar alone. Lianne's old tracks were a hit with the crowd, and some of the new ones had a different feel, some more happy, and some more rocky. It's cool to see her experimenting a little with styles. 

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REVIEW: Priscilla Queen of the Desert at Carré, Amsterdam

Australian classic movie The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert was turned into a theatre production, starring Neighbour's very own Jason Donovan. Drag queens, blokes and songs by gay icons such as Village People, Kylie Minogue, CeCe Peniston, Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin made the show extraordinarily energetic, and even the usually dull-Dutch were clapping along and gave a standing ovation to the cast & crew, in the last show of the Amsterdam tour. I thought it was great! I've been to Paradise but I've never been to me. 

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GIG REVIEW: Chvrches at Melkweg, Amsterdam

Arrived a little late but managed to catch Chvrches' support act, Australia's homegrown Mansionair, who's song 'Hold Me Down' is really catchy. They seemed a bit fresh though and I was really there to see Chvrches. 

Chvrches' music is really strong, and the music production is really good. One can tell their band has some experienced backbones. Singer Lauren Mayberry has a crystal clear voice and despite her petite stance on the stage, she still manages to make a presence. But for me it's the music that makes Chvrches so successful. The beats and electronic sounds are so powerful. 

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GIG REVIEW: Christine and The Queens at Melkweg, Amsterdam

I first stumbled the French Christine and The Queens at Lowlands festival earlier in 2015. I was walking towards another stage and literally had to stop because I heard amazing beats from the stage. So when I saw she was giving a concert in Amsterdam I bought tickets straight away, so I could see her perform a full set where she was the headliner. 

Christine, (real name Héloïse Letissier) has a very unique way of performing. The show was a visual feast full of movement and strobe lighting, and it was definitely not only about the music. She is much better live than by listening on Spotify by the way. Together with her dancers she has a modern choreography which is more about moving the whole body and not your typical "hip hop" or "pop" style moves. 

Since I had already been blown away once, it was hard to be blown away for the second time, since I already had a first impression and therefore expectation of the amazing performance. The Lowlands stage was much bigger and the screens were also bigger so the light show had more impact. 

Christine is a curious being. She reminds me of a younger version of Camille, my favourite French singer who is crazy in an eccentric way. She is openly queer and sings about gender fluidity (read this interesting interview!) and is just an inspiration that you can be good as yourself. 

Photos by Podium Info (because my phone literally died and erased itself during the concert! It never happened to me before but I was so sad)

More about Christine and The Queens:

Official website

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GIG REVIEW: Ariana Grande at Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam

I love Ariana Grande so much! The first time I saw her perform was at the MTV EMA 2014 in Glasgow, and she was definitely the highlight of the awards. 

It was one of those awkward things where I knew none of my friends would want to go to the concert with me, so I asked on Facebook if anyone would come with me... a friend said her 14 year old daughter would go with me! Well that was better than no one! 

On the day of the concert I was extremely sad because I was having a problem with my relationship and I didn't want to talk before the show. I just wanted to enjoy myself and then deal with it. But it became complicated and I was upset on the tram on the way there. Trying to wipe away my tears before meeting my 14 year old friend! We met at Bijlmer and there was another Dutch festival going on at the same time (Oranjefeest or something really trashy) and Burger King was so packed we had to go find food somewhere else. And it was raining so we were running to the food trucks trying to find a cheap burger (ugh). 

We got in and found our seats. I went to get drinks and also wanted to buy some merch. The sweaters were all sold out in small sizes so I just bought some tiny badges, and shared half with my friend. She took the Japanese ones. 

I loved the concert! I really loved the dancers (Brian and Scott Nicholson), and especially the string players (my favourite: the violinist Chysanthe Tan who I have been following on Instagram and Twitter every day during the tour). Ariana was amazing as expected. She's such a talent.. ever since I saw her YouTube video singing Imogen Heap's Just For Now with the loop machine I have so much respect. 

After the show I was tweeting with Chrysanthe Tan and Adrienne Woods (the cellist) mocking Adrienne for poking the air with her bow off-beat. Chrysanthe stuck up for her saying that she was just doing it a different angle and she was 'slicing the air' instead of 'stabbing'. hahaha I know they thought I was annoying.  

I'm openly an Arianator and have been and will be promoting Ariana forever. Even if she licks a donut... I don't care. I'll defend her :) 

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