Balkan Orchestra Čalgija - Vintage Recordings (1964 – 1966) Directed and Produced by Wouter Swets Wouter Swets (1930 – 2016) was a well-known and notable Dutch ethnomusicologist, musician, composer, teacher and writer. Through lectures, workshops, radio programs, scholarly articles, polemics, CD reviews, and performances with his orchestras Čalgija and Al-Farabi, Swets inspired countless music lovers and musicians to share his passion for the musical traditions of the Balkans, Anatolia, Arabia and Central Asia, his understanding of which was rooted in the massive collection of beautiful melodies he collected over his life. Even though he would have argued that ‘world music’ does not actually exist as a genre, he has often been called its godfather in the Netherlands. These are the only recordings of Čalgija’s first line-up, originally issued on EP (7" 33⅓ RPM vinyl). As far as we know, they might be the first Dutch world music recordings altogether, at least in this particular genre. The album is very charming, a typical product of the 1960s, that is, of young people exploring music they found infinitely more interesting and exciting than the rather dire music that was popular in the Netherlands at that time. But while the emerging Dutch pop scene took its inspiration from the west, Čalgija looked east. The EP is basically a compilation of rehearsal room recordings, taped between 1964 and 1966, with the same recorder Swets used for ethnomusicological fieldwork. At that time, Swets’ band members were still students. In 1967, they left Čalgija in order to be able to focus on their graduation and then have careers, to the great dismay of Swets, who founded a new Čalgija ensemble that existed from 1969 to 1995 and acquired international fame. Track list (total playing time 12:28) 1. Kostursko Oro 2. Maniátikos 3. And΄áman pallikári – Tap΄nos 4. Éhe yá kayméne kózme – Kalamatianós 5. Fysoúni 6. Partálos Balkan Orchestra Čalgija Original production Wouter Swets (musical director) - accordion Wouter Swets (arrangements, recording, mastering) Albert van der Meulen - accordion Rob van Altena - clarinet Pedro van Meurs - darabuka Original release Terpsichoré Choir - vocals on track [1] Terspichoré Label, Amsterdam Reissue Michiel van der Meulen (digitisation, remastering, album notes) Supplementary material   Later work (released by Pan Records) Review About the album artwork The front cover image was retrieved from an undeveloped film roll, which was inside a camera found among Wouter Swets’ possessions after his death by his friend Roland van Abel. Developed some 55 years after it was used, the degraded roll yielded two photos. The first one—beautiful, serene, of excellent quality—showed Wouter with his black accordion, playing with a young man whom Roland could’t identify. He posted the picture on Facebook, asking who knew that man. I recognised my father Albert van der Meulen, without a beard, which puts him in his student years. I got in contact with Roland and heard the extraordinary tale of the picture’s provenance. The second photo on the roll (r), of much lesser quality, shows my father on his motor cycle together with a fellow geology stu- dent at a gas station. This tells us where the photos were taken: in Italy (where gasoline is called benzina). So we were able to reconstruct that Swets visited my father on a geological student field trip in rural Northern Italy around 1962. They seem to be performing together on a makeshift outdoor stage for an un- known, probably bewildered audience, which can’t have been all that familiar with the music they were listening to.    The image used for the scorebook is a photo-    graph of the EP I digitised (l). As I child I was va-    guely aware of the fact that there was a record in    the house on which my father played. There was    no particular reason to play that record a lot: if we    wanted to hear my father play we merely had to    wait or ask. But when we found the old photos, I    unearthed the EP, played it and decided to reissue    it. It is a chronicle, after all, representing the small    part of the emerging 1960s counterculture in the    Netherlands.    ~MJvdM Balkan Orchestra Čalgija, 1962-1963 (photos by Henk Arends)
CD sleeve (pdf)
Catalogue / Home   Pîrî Reis   Balkan Orchestra Čalgija   Európe Projects
©2019 M.J. van der Meulen
Scores (pdf)
Xango Music
CD distribution Benelux
CD distribution Worldwide Album download
Čalgija: Music from the Balkans and Anatolia #1 (1978) and #2 (1991)