Growing up, I listened to a lot of acoustic music. My parents played a lot of classical music, which is acoustic almost as a default. As a teenager, I switched to pop music. It was through this style I connected with my friends, and it was definitely important, and good, for me at that time. As I matured, my taste shifted towards R&B music. None of this was acoustic, I can assure you. But again, it was right for me at the time. And my eye-opener towards acoustic, real music, came after I had visited a Backstreet Boys concert. A week later, I watched the Dutch band Omnia, and it changed my view.
A week after seeing the Backstreet Boys in one of the major concert halls in The Netherlands, I went to a small fantasy festival near where I lived. I remember going there alone. I don’t recall why I did that, but probably I had no one to go with. The Dutch band Omnia was performing. I don’t know if they were the reason why I went there.
But picture this: a small stage in a less than optimal environment for acoustics. The band said it was like playing in a bathroom. But they played their set, and I was blown away. I could feel their energy, the waves of the music they played, the intensity of the drums. It was the first time I heard the song ‘Niiv’, and it brought me to tears. The emotionality of the song was so intense it has made me cry many times since.
I can’t really say what their genre is, because it consists of multiple styles. Some songs are from medieval times, some are folk music, some are covers. They can’t really be defined in one term. But they always played live, and the instruments used were acoustic. They had drums, a guitar, a didgeridoo, a harp and a hurdy-gurdy.
After attending their performance, I recognised the power of acoustic shows, and I’ve loved them since.
Soon after this day, I found my now-husband. Especially the first years we were together, we visited many festivals. At the medieval festivals in Germany, we saw many acoustic bands. It’s quite normal in that lifestyle to perform music from the Middle Ages on instruments from that time, or at least inspired by that period. Many performers make their own instruments, whether they are guitars or bag-pipes. Again I was blown away by the energy their performances exhumed. Bands like Corvus Corax, Saltatio Mortis and Comes Vagantes can even make me dance while I watch their shows.
After discovering these bands, I also found out about the darker style of music by Wardruna and Heilung. Einar Selvik is the leading artist of the band Wardruna, and he’s specialised in ancient Scandinavian music. He tries to come closest to what it would have sounded like in earlier times. The resulting music is entrancing. Heilung’s music is profound and bare, and it hits me on a sort of instinctual level, like something deep inside of me recognises it. They have recorded versions of their music, but I prefer their live performances. That’s when their music shines most.
I Miss Music
It’s been a long time since I’ve heard an acoustic band play. My last concert was March 2019 of the band Oomph! and their music is far from acoustic. I can’t wait to visit a festival again. Last year we didn’t go to a festival because we didn’t feel like it. Of course, we didn’t know this year there would be none.
And while I listen to a lot of metal and rock music, I definitely love acoustic music too. Especially my Chill Mix, which refreshes every Sunday on Apple Music, contains a lot of acoustic music by the bands mentioned above. And for the quieter moments of the week, it’s one I listen to a lot. I think it’s time to check the websites and see if we can select some festivals to visit next year.