I am back from E-tap 2001, and it was great! Congratulations to Daniel Schell for organizing another winning pan-euro event where all tappers of every race, creed, and instrument can play and learn in peace and harmony! here is my summary:
This year I arrived in Brussels Friday night, via Utrecht, Den Haag (both in Holland), and Ostend (in Flanders).
The tap night this year was a little different from past years. It was at a real Jazz club in the center of town, called Marcus Mingus. It was in the basement of a very nice hotel, and we had an audience of locals, tourists, as well as tappers from all over Europe who came to see the new talent for 2001. In past years this event was at a club on the outskirts of town, so this palce was more of a hassle parking and getting all the gear loaded in, but it was worth it, as the crowd that turned up was good.
At the concert, we were treated to a number of acts. Wolfgang Daiss played his unique brand of outstanding jazz. Andre Pelat, who may well be the best Stick(r)* player in the world, wowed us with his note perfect classical transcriptions, as well as his originals. Rob Reiter from Tilburg sang and played, and there were several small bands, including my own duets with folk harp player Kyle Wohlmut, best known for his band the Lazarus Harps.
After the show, we all trekked back to Daniel's house in Lennik, and then the next day to Neufchateau, in the remote Provence de Luxembourg, Belgium (not to be confused with the country of the same name). The week long seminar "e-tap" (or in French: Stage de Tape Guitare) is part of a larger event, the International Wallonia Summer Academy. This was the traditional music week, and there were many classes being held that week in percussion, European folk music, dance, etc. I have never seen so many hurdy gurdys being played at one time.
In class, Daniel Schell taught reading exercises, and some lessons that got to the heart of Indian music. We got a deep understanding of its melodic and rhythmic structure. Kuno Wagner got us involved in ensemble play, using mostly jazz standards but breaking them up into parts so that the class could play them as a group. We had a drummer for two days who worked with us in Kuno's class. Wolfgang Daiss was more analytical. In his classes, one student would play a piece from his repertory, then the class would analize it a bit and look for ways to improve technique.
In the special master classes, Andre Pelat showed us some fo the secrets to his phenominal technique. Traktor Topaz showed off the new Megatar, and gave insight into the secrets of micro-accurate intonation. he also talked about the principles behind his new book "Easy Touchstyle Basics vol. 1", which is a good book for raw beginners who want to take their first steps in the world of tapping. I was delighted to give my masterclasses, which included a Shona music ensemble piece. A small group that I led presented this piece in the final concert Friday night in the theater.
Sunday night we had our own concert in the theater, which was the best tap night thing I have ever heard. Wolfgang and Andre did what they do best, but there was also new ensemble action like Olivier and the African percussionists, with a sax player, and Daniel really rocked out with his band! Andre brought down the house with his flute/drum/tapping trio playing the Piazzola composition "Libertango". He also played a nice solo rendition of the first movement of Mozart's Symphony no. 40.
From the 18 students, the variety of instruments was wide this year. I had my ADG 8, there were about 10 Stick brand instruments, and there were a number of home made, miscellaneous, and Krempel (Warr style) guitars. Steve from Vermont had a gorgeous home made guitar. There were three Megatars there, I think the best sounding was Traktor's True Tapper gold, with the gold humbucker pickups. They all sounded different from each other and had their own personality.
The night life in Neufchateau was very nice. There is a student pub at the Academy, and every night there is singing, and dancing until about 3 am, inspired by the bottomless supply of Belgian beer.
There were also cafes and other attractions in and out of town. Because the weather was sunny and pleasant the whole week, there were daily trips to Daniel's summer cottage for swimming and relaxation. Sylvain, Kuno and I had a little running club, getting up early 3 times during the week to go on 8-10 kilometer runs. The scenic and hilly Ardennes are a great place to go for a relaxing jog, if you want to really see the heart of Europe up close!
All in all it was a great time, I learned a lot, I have a lot of exercses to keep me busy until next year, and I can't wait until then.
*"Stick" is a registered trademark of STICK ENTERPRISES INCORPORATED,
with whom I have absolutely no affiliation.