Sarah McQuaid in Concert at Peter and Lenie’s, Steendam, Netherlands

I was at my parents’ for the week-end. When I called them last week Monday to say I wanted to come over, my parents invited me right the same week so I could see Sarah McQuaid in Steendam, a town in the province of Groningen in the Netherlands, on Friday. I had heard some of Sarah’s music, but had never attended a concert.

We drove from my parents’ town to Steendam, on our way picking up one of my parents’ friends. We arrived a little early at Peter and Lenie’s, the restaurant where the concert was taking place. We got seated and Sarah arrived. Peter introduced her and Sarah welcomed the audience, specifically mentioning my parents. As I was looking at her website, I found out my father had taken many pictures at previous concerts, and he was photographing again.

Sarah McQuaid Playing the Shruti Box
Sarah McQuaid playing the shruti box. Photo credit: Frans van Woerkom.

Sarah McQuaid sings mostly folk songs and songs in this style she’s written herself. I was impressed at her interpretation of traditionals, one of which dates from the thirteenth century. If I remember correctly, this was the song she played on the shruti box, an Indian instrument similar to a harmonium (see picture above). I also particularly liked one of her songs, In Derby Catherdral, in which she was singing in a loop. Martin Stansbury should be honored here too, as he was working the loop on his laptop. The video below shows Sarah singing this song at a concert in 2011.

I am quite a concert novice and had at first thought I’d like a studio album better than a live performance, but I was wrong. One of the good thigns about a live performance is interaction with the audience. I laughed at Sarah’s attempt at speaking some Dutch, obviously some from a phrase book. This being folk, the audience was also encouraged to sing along. One of the songs is called “Perhaps” or its Spanish equivalent “Quizá”, and some of the audience sang the Dutch “Misschien”. This wasn’t spontaneous of course, but it was fun,

Sarah will be touring the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany until April 6. Check her website for details. She has already announced she’ll be back at Peter and Lenie’s next year.

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