Putting The “Exchange” In “Foreign Exchange”—An Introduction To Dutch Music

By Afra Foli

Afra Foli spent this year’s fall semester studying at U of T on exchange from the Netherlands, during which she became a part of our Demo family. We are thrilled to have her back for this special piece.

Spending time in Toronto exposed me to Canadian musicians and bands, and being a Demo contributor definitely helped in the exposure. It is time I return the favour and put the exchange in foreign exchange student and give some personal recommendations as an introduction to the Dutch music scene.

De Staat is a five-man band that has a funky rock sound and has released two albums so far: Wait for Evolution and Machinery. My favourite songs are “Sweatshop” and ”I’ll Never Marry You.”

Bringing a more pop-y sound is the band Roosbeef. Their first album (translated), They Want to Pet Your Dog But They Don’t Want To Talk To You, was very popular but it was their second release (also translated), Because I Want To, that attracted my attention to their music, especially due to the lead singer’s distinct voice. The band has a very melodic sound and quite a sense of humour. I would recommend the song “Sneeuw” (Snow).

Hip-hop is extremely popular in the Netherlands. De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig (translates as The Youth of Today) is one of the most known groups and have won many prizes for their brand of “Nederhop” (Dutch hip-hop). They are known for their usually funny and catchy songs like “Watskeburt?!” (What Happened) and “Get Spanish.” For English rap, I would recommend Dope D.O.D., a group of three newcomers to the Dutch hip-hop scene. In contrast to De Jeugd, their music is more raw and dark, leaning towards grime. Give a listen to ”Rocket”).

Joya Mooi by Atlynn Vrolijk

Joya Mooi by Atlynn Vrolijk

Joya Mooi is a neo-soul singer I love to listen to. Her album Hard Melk is awesome in its entirety. Infused with jazz, R&B and even some dubstep (still hot in 2010), her album has a consistent sound. My favourites are “Are You Lonesome” and ”Doctor.”

Before I end, I cannot write an intro to Dutch music without adding some electronic music. A friend recently told me about Danny Wolfers (stage name Legowelt) whose music can best be described as deep house/techno. Despite the laid back vibe his music is very dance-y.

Dutch music, like Canadian music, is very diverse. Every genre is represented, from folk to hip-hop, and from classical to techno. Some names might sound familiar to listeners on the other side of the ocean: Tiësto, Afrojack, Golden Earring, Within Temptation, Eva Simons and Candy Dulfer are popular, as well as many others. The language barrier may pose a problem in terms of accessibility for non-Dutch speakers but some instrumental music, such as electronic music (trance, dance, house, techno, etc.) does not really have that problem. The Netherlands is especially known for its DJs, but the country clearly has a lot more to offer music-wise.

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