Review Hela Hela in Liberation (FR)

March 11th, 2011



NO blues liberation 2011

NO blues ON tour part 3/Patras

March 2nd, 2011



We continue this roadstory while travelling from Thessaloniki to Patras in our tourvan with Lavros.  Although we usually hate the long drives (and this is a 7 hour one) this was quite a beautiful one. We started with sun at sea level in Thessaloniki and drove al the way into the mountains where it was snowing. We almost felt like we were on holiday in Swiss, but enjoyed throwing snowballs in Greece. First time for everything!

snow (balls) in Greece

But even great scenery has its limits  so we were quite happy to arrive in Patras and arriving at the Lithografeion. Outside the building there is almost no sign of the great venue it is inside. We had a strong feeling of entering the old Effenaar (the rock venue of Eindhoven in NL). The reception by the crew of the Lithografeion was great and we immediately felt like this was gonna be a quite different show. Ticket sales were really good and NO blues had been on the radio for almost 3 years in Patras.

At this stage we had no idea what the night would bring, so after the soundcheck we went out to find us some of he great Greek food. We will never go to a Greek restaurant in Holland expecting to have anything near to the quality of the restaurants we had dinner at during this tour.

When we arrived at the club again the street and club where crowded with people who where really looking forward to the show, what a great way to start the gig! Here and here is some footage of the show, maybe not the best one we ever did but it was sure full of energy! Great crowd too which fully enjoyed the show. When I was having a smoke outside (!) I got some letters from people about the gig. In Greek,  so we couldn’t read a word, but Lavros and Dimitrios (who took a plain from the USA to see the gig) were kind enough to translate. Thank you dear writers!

We ended up in a nice pub called ‘the blue monday’ and had just a little bit too much to drink with our new friends form Patras, but a big thank you to promoter Christos,  his staff and fans in Patras in place here! And you radio guys who spinnend our records for so many years: you rock!

We spent whatever little was left of the night to catch up some sleep before leaving to Athens tomorrow.

NO blues ON tour: Greece part 2

February 25th, 2011



So as part 1 of the Greece story ended when Anne-Maarten and me were invited to have a talk with the owner about a discount on the fee of the gig, which was supposed to start in 10 (!)minutes. So much for timing. We found ourself s in a tight spot, sitting in a bar, also owned by the promoter of the club. No returned contract,  empty club and a busy promoter who was dividing his time by shouting in his mobile phone in Greek and pulling all the excuses of the world out of this sleeve in English.

rai alive thessaloniki

After 10 minutes Anne-Maarten was already in the kill-mode and I was loosing my patience and good behaviour too. Back and forth switching between Dutch, English, the little Greek we speak and pure irritation, we agreed on 80% of the fee payed in cash before the show. The other 20% would be payed by invoice, so we had no other option then to trust the guy for his word. When we were back in the club it was actually quite busy and it was just at that moment we realized  Greek audiences usually come in late.
The rest of the band was waiting and wondering why we were away for so long and it felt like a good idea not to tell the story until after the show.

One should almost forget that the Rai live club is a really nice little theater like club, with a good pa and lighting system and a friendly staff.  So although Anne started the show with much of the anger still in his voice we did a nice gig, well appreciated by an audience that clearly never heard the music of NO blues before.

After the gig and a few drinks we left for the hotel talking about the possibility that we had to discuss fees and stuff every gig for the next days. Not quite an entertaining thought, which needed a couple of drinks (billed on the promoter) to get over with. The next day would be a long drive from Thessaloniki to Patras, all the way through the mountains.

First frech review of Hela Hela

February 22nd, 2011



Always a good way to start this week while we are scattered all over the world.
A nice french review.

Clip Kim’s dream by fan Med Ziani

February 17th, 2011



NO blues ON tour: Greece part 1

February 15th, 2011



We get all sorts of requests to play somewhere in the world, most of them unfortunately will not result in a real gig or tour.
Sometimes it is the money, sometimes festivals or promoters change their mind, but most of the time it is our busy schedule that makes it impossible. It is also always an experiment to go to a country for the first time;  new people, new audiences and new promoters. You just never know what to expect.
So when we got an email from Athens inquiring if we were able to do a short tour in Greece (Athens, Patras and Thessaloniki) in the beginning of February we were  happy, but not already packing our stuff.
We never played in Greece before, did not sell  thousands of CD’s over there and were unsure if we had airplay. The only thing we were sure of was Anne-Maarten visiting a local club in Patras two years ago and finding himself listening to the music of NO blues.

So much for valid arguments to say yes or no to a 6 day tour to Greece.  No advance payments, no returned contracts and slow replys on our emails.  By that time we got an email from Aris, our local promoter in Athens, which contained the flight tickets. At that time we decided to take the risk and go to Greece.
Still a little unsure about the rock solidness of this tour we boarded our plain for Athens on Thursday February the 3rd. We left Holland on a beautiful sunny morning to arrive in Athens 6 hours later in a cold, stormy and very, very wet city.  After a short meeting with Aris we left with Lavros (our driver) on a 7 hour drive through rain, wind and snow to Thessaloniki. So after we left home somewhere at 8 in the morning, we arrived in our hotel at 2:30 at night. Welcome to the reality of being on tour, it is 90% about waiting and travelling and 10%  about playing.

After a short night we woke up in a different Thessaloniki: loads of sunshine and time for breakfast at Starbucks.  The club we had to play was right next door to our hotel,  so the best part of the day we spend with a walk along the beautiful seashore. It is always a good sign to find posters for the gig along the way:

Strangely enough we are thousands of miles from Deventer and still find a poster connecting us to our home venue the Burgerweeshuis (aka the Burgerproject). Tonights gig is in a club called RaiAlive. Most venues in Greece are privately owned and so gigs are a great financial risk for their owners.  Together with the fact that there is a crises (and a big one) in Greece and everything in this country is open for negotiations , it was no miracle to us the owner liked to discuss a discount on the fee.

More ON this story in part 2

Greek fan Eleftheria about gig @Patras

February 8th, 2011



“Hi again! I’m Eleftheria, the kanun player. We met during your live performance in Patras, Greece. Well, I just wanted to say gongratulations to all of you in the band. You have to know that Patra’s audience is considered to be one of the most demanding and strange in Greece. During the 19th century, if a theatrical play or a musical concert was applaussed in Patras from Patras’ citizens, was considered to be a great success. I’m telling you all this, because tonight I could hear people talking about you guys in great enthusiasm. And amongst tonight’s audience were about 30 really good musicians (ud players, guitarists, tambur players, bass players preccussionists, saz players, we were all there!), that were also amazed!! I’m really happy, because I’ve been listening to your music for so long, I love it and wish you the best!! To all of you!! Have a great journey!! And thanks once again for the journey you provided to us through your music! Kisses, Eleftheria”

Happy musicians @ Sold Out Gouda

January 27th, 2011



Uitverkochte Goudse Schouwburg

Interview with Ad van Meurs

January 26th, 2011



Click to open in new window
Very nice interview by Peter Bruyn published in Leeuwarder Courant.
About NO blues and the struggle to create Hela Hela

Picture by Paul Bergen

Click image to read interview (Dutch)

File Under about Hela Hela (Dutch)

January 25th, 2011



Het meest opvallende project van het productiehuis Oost-Nederland was ongetwijfeld Kyteman. Al kwam dit volgens mij vooral door het visuele aspect. Muzikaal gezien vind ik zelf No Blues interessanter, al kan dit eraan liggen dat alles wat naar rap riekt niet echt mijn ding is. No Blues moest een samensmelting zijn van Arabische en Westerse muziek en de muzikanten zijn daar prima in geslaagd. Hela Hela is hun vierde album en hun zwanenzang. Het project en daarmee de band houdt op te bestaan. Toch lijkt het erop dat de muzikanten nog eens alles uit de kast hebben gehaald om maximaal te scoren. Met bijvoorbeeld opener “Long Legged Woman”, een bewerking van een nummer van Freddie King, zet bassist Anne-Maarten van Heuvelen met zijn krachtige zang zich op de kaart. In “Wayack” laat Ad van Meurs horen hoe relaxt zijn liedjes met een J.J. Cale-feel kunnen zijn. Het is echter vooral Haytam Safia die vanuit mijn Westerse optiek door het gebruik van de U’d (een Arabische luit) opvalt. Luister eens naar het instrumentale “Consolation” en volgens mij moet iedereen beamen dat hij een geweldige muzikant is. Aan de zegetocht van No Blues komt een eind. Ze staan nog even in het theater en dan is het gebeurd. De muzikanten zullen de weg naar het podium met hun eigen bands wel vinden, maar voor de muziek van No Blues rest dan alleen nog het vierluik.