Bettie Akkemaai - Bitey Sweet Folk

And out come the Tunes!

Helleuw!

It is alive and awoken from its wintersleep. And it still bites!

A lot of changes have been going on in my non-music life. I changed residence from Den Bosch to Rotterdam and changed jobs (yes, I have one, I’m not filthy rich yet from all the albums sold.. :-p).
To get all this changing over and done with smoothly, I had to abandon my precious guitar a bit and leave it in a corner. But somewhere around March, she started complaining and Mr. Moose too, about not being on the road, in front of an audience. I had to admit to miss it too. So good thing that the 11th of March I had a lovely gig lined up in a town called Deurne. In OJC De Roos, I was the starter of a great evening with two other bands from the Brabant region: The DIesel Ducks and Op Zoek Naar Johan. Even though it had been a while, It felt like my voice was trying to make up for months of not performing. It felt great to belt out my songs again..

Something that luckily didn’t change is the urge to get back on the road again. Fortunately I got asked by both the Yalla Yalla’s (UK) and Lifelong Hangover (Finland) to join them on their conquests of Dutch and Belgian soil. In the upcoming link you can see where this will lead us and where you might be able to catch a gig or two when in the neighbourhood.

Oh and if you might wonder why you should come? Well, I might have some new songs in store…
So, see ya around!

Another tour over and done with..

There and back again, a musicians tail never ends. Although it does have pauses in between.
So that was a first, playing in Belgium, and I loved it. Will be back there for sure! (and not just because of the glorious Waffles)

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Vince and Rob were very good touring company, it was a relaxed and funny trip all the way!
I could let my fingers run over the keys to give you an impression that you will have to visualise yourself. But luckily you’ll be spared that, and you can just click here to see an already visualised impression of one week of touring! (Thanx go out to Rob Galloway for most of the filming and all of the editing)

So now it’s time for a little peace quiet and writing new songs. Have already finished one, that is called Water Level and as soon as I get the perfect kind of strumming down for this one, I’ll bring it along to the next gig.
There are plans for September, Dave Hughes is going to travel down here again for a few gigs in which I will join. Very much looking forward to spending some musical inspired time with such a good friend! No dates confirmed yet, but just keep an eye on the ‘upcoming’ page the next few weeks.

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Another adventure turned into memories..

So, that was Danmark, Sweden and Scotland again! What a trip.. 3 weeks of music, fun, good people, many pubs, bars, festivals and food. This is, in short, what it was like:

 

So my cousin and I travelled to Hamburg first. A city we had both never really been, so about time to check it out! In a little punk hotel in the St. Pauli area, Mr. Moose made friends with some flamingo’s and we had a little peek of this great city. I will most definitely return there and make sure I have a gig lined up for me next time.

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On to Aalborg, where we were hosted by Mikael aka Dusty Awe. Spent the first two nights there exploring the nightlife, parks and harbour, before getting nervous for my own gig in a very nice little bar called Susan Himmelblå. Quite some people showed up that Saturday night to see me and Dusty Awe perform. The atmosphere was good and we ended with a fun cover set together. Afterwards we were dragged to a bar that had stayed open extra late so that us crazy Dutch tourists could play a weird pool game involving miniature bowling pins. Of course I won.. Awesome night!

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Next (boat) stop: Göteborg, but just to visit a friend, and being touristed around in this beautiful city, where I saw my first real life Moose! (So they DO exist.. who would have thought..) And two days after, I parted with my cousin and while she returned to Aalborg, I headed due North where the nights became shorter with every kilometre. The teeny tiny village called Råbäck would be my next stop. Another friendly visit, in a small collective where I was welcomed and fed, had a dip in the nearby lake and helped out with the kids and fixing up the greenhouse. The second evening there, I covered myself in Polka dots again and paid a visit to the local ‘Huspub’ (house pub) where there were already some jam sessions going on. Lovely place, lovely people and very nice homebrew welcomed in my songs. I did two small sets in between the others having their go at it and the responses were very positive! With some more beer and whisky, the hours passed fast and i did some covers with some of the other musicians just for kicks :)

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And on to Sundsvall, where I have lived one year in 2010. It had been a while since i visited, so my friends there were curious about this music thing I had begun doing since. I played for most of them in their homes, little private gigs that were very much appreciated. Most fun was taking my guitar to a birthday party, where I did a surprise gig as a present to the birthday girl, whom I had worked together with in the year I lived there. She was totally moved and pleased. But alas, 4 days was too short to see all people and places I had hoped. Another place I can’t wait to go back to.. There are so many already!

I left Scandinavia by plane, to land again in Scotland. Another tour waiting, with my dear friend Dave Hughes and this time also accompanied by Tim Holehouse, who I had met last year at Book Yer Ane Fest. We were an interesting trio of different kinds of music, which made each evening a diverse one.
After a night of getting-to-know-eachother-better drinks at Dave’s place in Glasgow, the first stop was Inverness. In the Market bar, we amused the locals with our noise and I even got a beer when explaining the meaning of the ending of my Dutch song ‘De Crisis’. (it sais: I might have some money now finally, but still far from rich so you could get me a beer.. And see, it even works abroad!) We spent that night and the one after in Nairn, at the place of Gareth and Jane (who designed my EP cover) who are the loveliest of people! We got spoilt rotten and had so much fun also after the gigs, at their place. Jane even decided to dye my hair red and green in the middle of the night! That second night we had played in a hotelbar in Nairn itself. Lovely place, and nice turnout. I met the girl who’s face Jane used for my cover, what an honour! The hotel bar were so happy with us, that we got a little extra for playing. And after the gig we just It was a perfect evening!

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A drive back down, took us to Dundee, where we played the Cerberus Bar on the evening of the Brexit polls starting to roll in. At the hotel that night, watching the outcomes, it became clear the scale would tip to ‘yes’. It was weird witnessing this first hand and waking up the next day in a country that had decided to be no longer in the EU. What this will mean exactly, remains to be seen in the coming 2 or 3 years, but I’m personally not looking forwards to having to apply for visa when going there. And neither do any of the musicians I know, care for applying for them to get to us.
So you can guess what the main topic of the next day was, as we drove up again to a middle of nowhere near Elgin. There the Anarcho Folk Fest 2nd edition had slowly started. It was a lovely reunion of many great people/musicians I knew or would get to know. Great atmosphere and two stages this time with many very good gigs! And after dancing our asses off to the closing act for that night, the Shoe Eating Rabits, Dave provided a 90’s alternative hits disco in the barn, that almost destroyed my throat. Luckily a good night sleep was enough recovery for me to open the next day in the big tent. An attentive hungover crowd that grew bigger and more active during another day of workshops and music. But being on the road for three weeks straight, had taken it’s toll on my mood and tolerance of having people around me constantly, so I retreated to my tent quite early that night, with the noise of the partying crowd at the background as a soothing lullaby.
The last stop was Glasgow, where we closed the tour at the lovely little book/music shop the New Hellfire Club. My EP was put in on the shelves, next to the other Different Circle Records albums, of which I was immensely proud!  The next day we said goodbye to Tim Holehouse and I stayed one more day at Dave and his wife’s place before I returned home, a little ill and with the tourblues.

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Luckily I got to play the day after in Nijmegen with Balle Malurt & son and Lifelong Hangover! A great evening and great people, that made me stay in the tourvibe just a little longer before finally taking a break. But tomorrow I’m leaving again, this time to Belgium and back to the Netherlands for some gigs with Rob Galloway and Vince Caillaud. Good, because after three weeks of mainly work, the itch of touringlife needs a good scratch!

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On the road again..

At the end of last month, I played at the Bajesdorp Festival in Amsterdam and it was more than awesome! The people were friendly, the food delicious, the place is amazing, the other artists made me smile and move and the audience I had was great! I really hope this place will maintain their stand and won’t have to subdue to the gentrification process of that area. I would very much like to play there again and introduce fellow musicians to it.

In other news, I just bought a hard case for my pretty new guitar that will hopefully keep it safe in trains, busses, boats and planes for the coming 3 weeks.. Because yes, I’ll be off again!!
The journey will this time take me to (in order of appearance:) Hamburg, Aalborg, Göteborg, Råbäck, Sundsvall, Inverness, Nairn, Dundee, Elgin and Glasgow. I will have gigs in most of the places, but some are just recreational stays or to visit (old) friends. And the day after I get back, I will be playing in Nijmegen again, just because I can!So if you are around in one of the places, do come by and say hello, sing along or have a drink.

Summers are fun, can’t wait to get out there, conquer the stages and tiny venues or homes with some tunes.. I will probably be inspired to some new ones as well and write all about that and my adventures as soon as I get back! Bye for now…

EP pre-release on Different Circle Records!

Very very proud to announce the pre-release of “This Side” on the Different Circle Bandcamp!
Many thanx to Dave Hughes, Gareth M McNicol and Jane Ramirez, without whom it wouldn’t have become the beauty it is..

You can find it under this link:
https://differentcircle.bandcamp.com/album/this-side

I hope you will enjoy the full band thing, it’s quite different from what I’ve done so far. But the other 3 songs on this EP will be just singing and guitar again. They will follow shortly after the real release on the first of april!

After the hibernation.

Winter is usually a slow time for me. As this time too. But since nature isn’t really sure on what a real winter is supposed to look like anymore, I guess I was done hibernating. New things are coming up this Spring, starting with my EP, which will be called ‘This Side’. Exiting stuff! I cannot wait to hold the first copy in my own two hands.
There will be 4 songs on it, two of which have already been uploaded to my SoundCloud, namely ‘Loud Femininity’ and ‘Digital Restraining Order’. But of course now recorded with better equipment and mixed by professionals, so sounding a whole lot better. Two completely new songs on it are called ‘The Receiving End’ and ‘This Side’ which, as you might have guessed, is the title track.

With this new CD comes a release party and a promotion tour! I will be showing off my newest asset first in Glasgow where it was also created, before bringing it home to a big release party in the place that raised and supported me: Knoflook in Den Bosch, held on Aprils fools day. But don’t be fooled, it will be a serious party! Around April first there will be some other gigs yet to be planned probably all in the Netherlands. To close it up, I will try to arrange a gig in Berlin the week after.

As spring is filling up nicely with this plan, summer is beginning to take form too. Scandinavia in the beginning of june is still a bit unsure how it will take form, but at least some gigs at friends places will happen. (Always a good excuse to go visit them..) The Scotland tour together with Dave Hughes and Tim Holehouse is rapidly going from idea to concrete, with the exiting highlight of the Anarcho Folk Fest! July will be kicked off with a tour in the Netherlands, together with New Zealand musician Will Wood. It will be awesome touring together with other great musicians, exchanging music, experiences, tricks of the trade and mostly a lot of fun! I say: Bring it On!!

New Year, New Chances.. And fireworks!

It was weird to travel without my trusted companion, Mr. Twelve-string, to Berlin. Every time I took my little backpack somewhere, it felt like something was missing. I guess I haven’t travelled much without it last year. Which is a very good sign!
The last days of the year I had planned to spend there with some friends and so it happened. Standing amidst the biggest amount of fireworks I think I have seen in my life, I was requested to belt out (without my guitar backing me up) Some Empathy, for a little group of friends and their friends. It was a bit unusual at first but I got the hang of it and a big round of applause after! So that was a good start of the new year.
Now I’m back home, picking up “normal” life again and preparing for some new musical adventures.. As soon as they have taken a more concrete form, I will let you know of course.

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YouTubed…

Hello there! About one and a half year ago I started up a Bettie Akkemaai YouTube Channel. I thought it would be nice to upload some little live performance clips so people can actually see what it looks like having me on stage. However, it sort of seems there was a little curse to me being filmed on stage. Files got lost, people never got back to me, sound and/or image disappeared, video’s were to big to be uploaded and crashed while converting.. You name it, I faced it. So I gave it a rest. Until yesterday. I decided it would be a lucky day for things to work out.. And they did! Yay!
There are 8 songs on it now, filmed on 3 different locations and all three recorded quite some time apart from one another. The ones in ‘New Hellfire Club’ in Glasgow are the newest ones, from last summer. Hopefully you can not only see my hair but also my performing grow 😉

So here is the link to the official YouTube Channel! Enjoy :)

Review Book-Yer-Ane Fest IX

Today I got the link to a review of the Sunday of BYAF in Dundee. I was very pleasantly surprised that I was positively mentioned in it! This is what it said: “Bettie Akkemaai was next up down in The Vestry. Bettie is an anarcho folk punk from Den Bosch in the Netherlands. As she took to the stage she commented on the lack of women playing at the festival (something I had also noticed) and that she was proud to be one of the few to do so. She was very endearing on the small stage, playing honest acoustic music about feminism, community and life as a musician using witty and intelligent lyrics.” High praise, and have to admit quite proud of it!
Here is the link to the blog, if you want to read more about that day and the others that were playing: colinspunkrockworld.blogspot.co.uk

Now getting back into the Daily Life routines, with the memories of touring life still fresh on the surface of my mind. Even my birthday couldn’t quite force them back yet. But hey, it’s possible I might have to wait until spring for the next tour, so these memories will have to be enough until then. The 19th I will have the next gig though, at a friends birthday party. It’s always a pleasure playing for a true fan :)

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Back Home

Just put my feet on Dutch soil again and it feels steady but a bit flat. The past ten days were a perfect mixture of travels, meetings, greetings, listening, playing, eating and sleeping. Oh, and beer. The Anarcho Folk Fest Winter Warmer was indeed a very warming event. Loads of people fitted their selves in two relatively small spaces, to share thoughts through music. I saw and heard a lot of good musicians, of which at least half were female, which pleased me immensely! I almost had no purpose in singing ‘Loud Femininity’ over there.. Food Not Bombs had treated us to a lovely variety of deliciousness to make it complete.
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The traffic at night in Londen can be a challenge though, softly put. After 2 and a half hours of being grumpy in busses that didn’t know where they were going and trying to squeeze our way through the drunk and loud herd of Pubbers and Clubbers, I had to decide I was not going to reach my final sleeping destination. But luckily, if you know friends of friends in a city like that, there is always a sofa bed nearby.

Next day Leeds, being Hosted by James Bar Bowen and Jacks, an evening of chilling and homebrew and a pirate movie. The next day Dave Hughes picked me up and we drove to York to play the Black Swan, their oldest pub. Little audience but the atmosphere was good. Didn’t feel particularly good about my set there though. Luckily the next day in Glasgow we both had a chance to do it all over and better. And we did! Jud Harron joined us and her voice was amazing! The crowd was one of the best any musician could hope for, definitely one of my best gigs so far! We ended with all three on stage, belting out a nice cover, as a perfect end to the evening.
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Some days of rest and recording followed as did some tourist stuff like the Paisley Museum and Art Gallery and getting spoiled rotten by my lovely hosts. On Friday Dave and I drove up to Dundee for the 9th edition of Book-Yer-Ane-Fest. It was great to know already quite some people there because they had been at gigs I played or they had performed in Knoflook, like Tim Loud and Billy Liar. A weekend filled with punk, dancing, singing along, shivering of the cold, snow surprises, sitting and listening in awe, baguette tae fuck, glitter discussions, puns and giggles followed. I will definitely be going back there next year!
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Shattered and aware of the slippery road, back to Glasgow for some final recording on Monday. I have a feeling this EP is going to be absolutely great. But a lot of work goes into it, so don’t expect anything before the next year. For now, I will just have to be patient and try to get rid of this cold and after-tour-blues that crept up on me. Face life again in its everyday assets.

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