Friday, February 19, 2016

Singer-songwriter Dotan: Dutch Musical Hope in Fearful Days.

Hiya, nice of you to drop in. I have published this post before on my very own blog RaysofLight, but I hope you will like it. The reason for re-hashing is that I have been so very busy at school that I simply didn't have the time to write.
Oh, btw, I no longer work overlooking the mighty Maas...The only thing I miss from that school!

We in the Wetlands have good musicians. Even some excellent ones!
This time I will introduce you to a new rising star in our musical firmament. His name is Dotan.


Dotan Harpenau, in full. Israel born, but raised in the Netherlands.
He's young, he's a hunk, he's the son of a BN'er (B for Bekende = Well-known, N for Nederlander = Dutchman), and he's pretty ambitious. Not for him the instant-but-very-soon-forgotten 'fame' of participating in The Voice of Holland, but a gamble on EMI being interested enough to produce his first album.
They were.
'Dream Parade', his debut, was released in 2011, and the Dutch were...hm...a little less scathing than normal (we have a saying which says a lot about our mentality: 'do not show your head above the level of the hay, or it will be chopped off'; in other words, do not show yourself to be better than the next man). In fact quite a few of us (me!) sat up and pricked up our ears with interest. Who was this new singer-songwriter with the unusual name?
The single 'This Town' was played very frequently on 3FM (for hip young listeners) and Radio 2 (for middle-aged listeners) both. By the way, do admire the artwork accompanying the song - it's great.

Dotan meanwhile appeared on national TV, where his good looks didn't make things worse for him either. But that's not what he is about. He is a real musician, not a media-concept dreamed up in some office.
So for his second album, '7 Layers', he wrote the material himself. Let me quote him for you, to give you a feel for his mindset:
'Skin, 
in the human anatomy,
complex layers of tissue that cover the surface of the body
and protect internal structures from contact with the environment.
The seven layers of skin are:
stratum basale, 
stratum spinosum,
stratum granulosum,
stratum licidum,
stratum corneum,
the upper papillary layer
and the lower reticular layer.
The skin is also divided into three main layers:
epidermis,
dermis,
and subcutaneous layer.
Once you peel your skin layer by layer you will get to the inner core.'

Admit it; you'll never think about your skin in the same way again, will you?
'7 Layers' (2014) features 12 songs. The first single released from the album was 'Fall', and it was aired reasonably well, but you cannot call it a hit single.
The link shows Dotan live, in the early morning radio program 'EversStaatOp538' at Radio 538.

But it was when flight MH17 was shot down over the Ukraine, and the total massive loss of life that ensued, that the second single, 'Home', took off like a rocket (no disrespectful pun intended!!!). It became the anthem for the hundreds of deceased who still had to be brought home to the Netherlands, but also to Australia and other countries. The version I've linked for you is once more a live one, from RTL Late Night on August 24th, 2014.

So. Just in case you are wondering which track is my favourite, it is the first one of the album: 'Let the River In'. I have a thing for rivers, and my Wetlands is a country criss-crossed by rivers, and I was born and work in a city on the mighty river Maas (in fact, overlook the Maas from my classroom windows!). This version was again recorded at the session at EversStaatOp538.

And here endeth the lesson on Dutch singer-songwriter Dotan. Do look up his songs on YouTube, and buy his albums, you could do worse. And then you can boast to your friends you have discovered this amazingly obscure but talented Dutch artist!

Last but not least:
- dotanmusic.com
- facebook.com/DotanMusic
- twitter.com/DotanMusic
- instagram.com/DotanMusic