Studium Generale and Erasmus Cultuur offer a wide variety of tickets to theatre shows, such as orchestras, bands or dancing performances. EM visited one of these performances and went to a concert of Wouter Hamel, a young Dutch jazz/pop singer.

“First of all, I’m not really a jazz-singer,”, Wouter says, smiling: “There’s a strict jazz police in Holland, that doesn’t think I improvise enough to really be ‘jazz’. But I do dig jazz music, a lot.” Even though the critics may say that Hamel isn’t part of the jazz scene, he has been named ‘the Dutch Jamie Cullum’, has won the Dutch Jazz Vocalist Competition in 2005 and attracts a wide audience, including many jazz fans: “My granny always says my music reminds her of her glory days, which is quite a compliment.”

Japanese Hamel fans

Hamel has toured a lot recently, as he has a huge fan base in South-East Asia. It all started in Japan, where a DJ at a local jazz radio station in Tokyo played his music. The buzz started, and soon enough, he found himself sitting in a plane to Japan to play for an Asian audience. “It always feels weird to get onto a plane in Amsterdam, travel over all these countries who don’t know us to go play in Japan for weeks.”  

He  says the Asian audiences are very different from Dutch ones, as people in Asia pay much more attention to the show, are really quiet and clap only when they’re supposed to. According to Hamel, Dutch audiences can be fun  as they are quite spontaneous, but also annoy foreign artists who come to play in the Netherlands: “Dutch people do pay 40 Euros for a ticket, but just keep on Tweeting and talking throughout a concert. They decide when they’re going to be quiet, not the performer.”

“Even Rihanna is a niche”

We ask Hamel what kind of music he listens to at home. He says that he enjoys many different types of music, from alternative bands to dirty hiphop although he admits, being 34 years old now, he doesn’t really know what’s going on in the student music scene anymore: “The funny thing is that everything is a niche now, even a singer like Rihanna. Music that everybody listens to simply doesn’t exist anymore.”

Dancing in a theatre

Hamel performs with five other musicians, who all play a wide variety of different instruments. The public is a mixture of everything, even foreign students can be found. Throughout the concert Hamel explains what his songs are about, and points out the unusual instruments the band members have collected from all over the world. After two hours of up-beat jazzy tunes mixed with more mellow and emotional songs, the band gets a massive standing ovation, young and old clapping and dancing to the music. Not something you often see in a classic theatre setting. IS