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*With sound!* Why the Holland Festival show doesn't have to stop for now

'Please stop the show!", shouted an 83-year-old former reviewer from the back row. Theatre Frascati fell silent for a moment. There had never really been such an interruption at the Holland Festival's traditionally festive press conference. And that while Faustin Linyekula had just got into his stride, telling about the projects he and his Studio Kanako are carrying out in Kisangani. For example, they provided public drinking water taps when they needed clean water for the dancers at a dance project in a disadvantaged neighbourhood.

According to the self-proclaimed lodge puppet, it was all 'performance'. He thought it was enough. That he interrupted the conference while a black artist was just speaking will hopefully be due to coincidence.

Listen to the clip here:


Coincidence or not, that this year the Holland Festival has chosen to join the programme to be led by two high-profile artists from sub-Saharan Africa lends urgency. High culture is now getting a big injection from a cultural source a little closer to the people. William Kentridge and Faustin Linyekula, one South African, the other Congolese, bring a sound that we did not get in so sharply before, even under the highly topical Ruth Mackenzie.

That sound is the sound of both unheard African victims of World War I and the zest for life and raw power of music and dance from the place where hip-hop draws its inspiration. Linyekula will also enter Amsterdam Southeast with Parliament Debout, a parade featuring local and international artists. Possibly watched from above by a police helicopter.


Four of those flying machines, incidentally, will turn up over the Gashouder of the Westergasfabriek, where they are due to act as instruments at Aus Licht. That monster project, a 15-hour selection from Karl Heinz Stockhausen's 29-hour masterpiece Licht, is as striking as it is memorable. After all, Stockhausen, the megalomaniac composer hated by some but now embraced by more, represents innovation in the last five decades of the 20th century. Despite forays into pop culture, the Holland Festival still played out in the halls where classical music and opera needed refreshing. So the most integral, and above all most honourable performance Stockhausen now gets under Pierre Audi's direction puts a point in that history. Perhaps even behind it.

After all, new innovations await. Hip-hop culture, for example. On its own, it has been defining pop music since the late 1970s. Only in recent months have big pieces about it appeared in newspapers. But hip-hop has thus been huge. With Kanye West as the now almost obsolete modern Stockhausen of Hiphop, and modern dance from the banlieues as a primal force that cannot be ignored. French and rap. there is no better combo, as will be evident in the performance Le Jeune Noir à l'épée, which will be shown at the Muziekgebouw. That Baudelaire wrote rap lyrics: suddenly so much is possible.

Without wall

Over the coming months, we will keep you updated on the show, which will continue in Amsterdam for some time to come. In cooperation with the Holland Festival, Cultuurpers brings previews and analysis, and we highlight the best goals. Without paywall. Don't want to miss anything? Become a member!

Good to know Good to know

In total, the Holland Festival presents 64 productions with 139 performances, concerts and events spread over 26 days, including 9 world premieres, 7 European premieres and 20 Dutch premieres. The festival runs from 29 May to 23 June 2019. See the programme here.

Check out the videos we shot on twitter from the press conference here:


Wijbrand Schaap

Cultural journalist since 1996. Worked as theatre critic, columnist and reporter for Algemeen Dagblad, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Rotterdams Dagblad, Parool and regional newspapers through Associated Press Services. Interviews for TheaterMaker, Theatererkrant Magazine, Ons Erfdeel, Boekman. Podcast maker, likes to experiment with new media. Culture Press is called the brainchild I gave birth to in 2009. Life partner of Suzanne Brink roommate of Edje, Fonzie and Rufus. Search and find me on Mastodon.View Author posts

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