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Dekmantel begins!

A trip down the IJ


Dekmantel has officially begun, and the first two days certainly did not disappoint. Entering the festival week with excitement and some apprehension as to what’s to come (5-days of my dream line-ups ya’ll), tonight and Wednesday proved to be not only mood-setters but also a mood-stabilizers. Within the wildly atmospheric building of Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw and beyond into the IJ, the evenings began as I meant to go on: with a great collection of people, drinking wine under the sunset.

The first evening began with Upsammy and Sjoerd Martens, two world-creators transcending the audience into what felt like nature’s bliss. Multi-disciplinary honestly feels like a reductive descriptor for these two, as sound scapes enveloped the audience making us feel like we were all experiencing a collective dream. Carefully crafted (and tightly honed) this duo knew the audience, beginning our journey for the rest of (not only the night), but the week to come. The night also saw the trio Gaussian Curve take the stage, who played us a live set of outstanding explorative sounds. Made up of the Italian composer, Gigi Masin, alongside Scottish Johnny Nash and our very own Ditch Marco Sterk, the stage became a studio session where perfection flowed through every know and what seemed like ‘jamming’, looked effortless. Ending the first night was Mary Lattimore, a celestial harpist from LA. Classically trained, but experimentally driven, Lattimore is a storyteller. Am I struggling to find another word that atmospheric? Yes, but really… she was! A storyteller with a deep narrative, Lattimore drifted us into the perfect state to continue the week.

I must assure you, however — day two in the city took us on an equally gratifying ride. Solidifying the fact that Dekmantel are true and true curators. The night featured the incredible Hermeto Pascoal, a Brazilian composer and instrumentalist whose harrowing story resulted in him being isolated inside – left to practice his accordion – led him to today harnessing a cult following (and for good reason). Pascoal was followed by the amazing Perila whose vocal variations and sonic sounds left us in awe, and with a new musical genre to explore! The night also saw Kenyan DJ and producer KMRU and political-driven experimental duo Space Afrika — before we finished the evening at the Echobox with Nicoba: bringing everyone to their feet to the sounds of his Con:texto show.

These first two nights had us on cloud nine — ready to head down to Het Bos with the fervour we will surely need!

Dekamntel Festival

August 3-7

Words by Grace Powell