SIETSKE

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THERE IS SOMETHING VERY ENDEARING ABOUT SIETSKE: HER QUIET COMPLEXITY, HER NERVOUS STRENGTH AND HER AMAZING VOICE.

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Eran Har Even guitars
Marco Zenini double bass
Sietske Roscam Abbing voice
Efraim Schulz-Wackerbarth drums
Dirk Balthaus piano / fender rhodes

Sietske Roscam Abbing is a storyteller in words and music. The new album Leaving Traces is - like the debut album (Where It Starts Again) a collaboration between Sietske as a lyricist and Dirk Balthaus, one of Germany's finest pianists, as the composer of most the music (partly together with Sietske). The band is complemented by superb musicians: Marco Zenini (double bass), Eran Har Even (guitar) and Efraim Schulz-Wackerbarth (drums).

“I always have in mind that I want a song to tell some kind of a story,” Sietske explains, “words that are supported by the musical arrangement. I've spent many afternoons with Dirk. Sometimes I'll have a lyric or a melody with words and we'll elaborate on that, working out the rest of the music. Mostly we start from a musical idea, a melody, a chord progression or a rhythm. It begins with a certain mood, which relates to the core of a story and evolves from there.”

One senses from Dirk that the creative process can sometimes be infuriating but highly productive, “I think we're a really great team. I love the lyrics, especially the late ones that come in one day before the recording. They're so much in the moment, in the here-and-now.” He sees Sietske as “...not holding back her inner world. I’ve always liked the gentle sound of her voice and her curiosity. But now there is more confidence in her musical ideas. Her phrasing has become more clear and free. I also hear more power and expression.”

LEAVING TRACES (2017)


As with many tracks on the new CD, Chasing Rainbows has pace and rhythm in its composition and is complemented by Sietske’s beautiful diction and poetic storyline. “That's the first track of the CD,” explains Dirk.

“It's about being young. Since I'm 20 years older than the other band members, I really love that. Go into the park, see what's happening, enjoy the day. Follow your dream. That makes me feel young again, I love it.” Sietske’s view of the piece is a little different, “It’s cheesy when I explain it. You have moments when you think, oh, this is just perfect, a summer day, everything is great, then immediately afterwards you think, everything can be worse after this and you wish you could hold onto it, imprint the feeling of it in your brain so you'll be able to feel like this again.”

Clarity is a complex interplay of instruments, voice and lyrics. Sietske says, “It’s about waking up in the morning after something very intense has happened. Now there's a pregnant tranquility, in which the experience that has passed has left you with a completely new perspective. This moment is full of possibility, like a clean sheet of paper. Clarity is one of my favorites. I really like the vibe, it’s very different from the other tunes.” Dirk explains, “Clarity, started as a swing tune, which I think would also work… then the band said, it doesn't fit with the rest of the repertoire, let's give it a different feel, more of a singer-songwriter style. Then Eran, the guitarist, started to play the chords in a way that I liked very much. The melody and the harmonies are still the same, but the whole vibe is different now.”

Let the Rain Come is based on a Yiddish folk song. Sietske says, “It's an arrangement of an existing melody called In der Finster [In the Darkness]. It’s about how darkness creates a space which allows us to be vulnerable. Dirk elaborates, “I heard this from a singer-song writer from the former East Germany – Bettina Wegner. I like the melody very much. It’s a Jewish love song. I presented it to Sietske, without telling her what it’s about. She took it and wrote lyrics, capturing the intimacy. Sietske says, “It's about not having to disguise anything, feeling like you can be real towards someone or in a situation.”

Recent reviews highlight the qualities of Sietske & Band: “Refined in its detail, playful in its arrangements, honest, endearing and intimate, light shines when Sietske and her band are playing...” Frank Huser, Jazzfits. “She’s got all the technique and knows how to use it in a very musical, subtle way… Her core-skill is communication from the heart...” Jan Jasper Tamboer /Jazzenzo. “...a beautiful voice and excellent compositions… unique...” Noah Preminger. Dirk Balthaus, the elder statesman of the group, himself a brilliant pianist, and involved with other successful musical constellations, sums up: I feel this band, this project is part of myself. I’m happy and honoured to play with these great musicians and to get the trust of Sietske to do this.

Sietske & Band are touring the new album Leaving Traces at nine venues in April 2017, including: Jazzkeller in Dinkelsbühl, M8 in Mainz, Tonhallle in Hannover, JäzzZeit in Cologne, Wilhelm 13 in Oldenburg, Caffe Dolce in Göppingen and HFL in Bremen. Watch out for the new CD, and get along to one of the concerts. You won’t be disappointed.

Jan Jasper Tamboer wrote in the magazine Jazzenzo, that Sietske “.. .possesses a disarming freshness and expresses herself with complete sincerity. She’s got all the technique and knows how to use it in a very musical subtle way. Her core-value is communication from the heart; with gentle power she seduces the audience ...”

The songs are both seductive and revealing. Thousand Shades of Green explores feelings of euphoria and body strength whilst running through nature, whilst Gloomy Streets is about “the sensation of experiencing eyes that undress you ..”

The Sailor is one of seven songs on the CD with lyrics by Sietske and music by the pianist Dirk Balthaus, who accompanies her alongside Marco Zenini on double bass, Efraim Schulz-Wackerbarth on drums and Eran Har Even on guitar. The Sailor, elegantly composed and complex, is Sietske's favourite. Set in a railway station, its theme is of a daydream in which you have chosen a different path at a crucial moment in your past.

Sietske calls her music “cinematic folk Jazz”, by which she means lyrical internal feelings set in an atmospheric, scenic context.

Sietske's voice and the instrumental accompaniment are beautifully balanced. She explains: “... we have a variety of characters in the group, it makes the music happen. Dirk is an introvert, but he always wants to play ... making spicy notes as soon as it becomes quiet ... So you can always expect him to do something to

make it bubble. Eran, he plays the guitar. He's a very strong character, he's a modest person but he has a lot of passion, he likes to bring intensity to everything … he's always encouraging the drums to give more. That's Efraim. He's super reliable, can really keep time like nobody else, he's very calculated ... There's always a bit of pull and push between Efraim and Eran and between Dirk and Efraim ... Dirk ... floats a bit more. Marco (bass) is a lyrical player, not just steady, he also likes to make lines, and play beautiful embellishments, so altogether – it needs to be tamed a little bit ... There will always be more band if I don't speak up.”

Sietske hopes that her music is thought about – not just heard and forgotten - and she senses a change for the future: “There's a lot of melancholy in this music. Maybe I'm moving a bit out of the melancholy. I guess it reflects the life situation. You pour in it what's there.”


WHERE IT STARTS AGAIN (2014)


It was in Philadelphia that she wrote Homelands, one of four songs on this CD for which she wrote both lyrics and music.

“It was the first time I was not at home for longer than a few weeks. It made a big impression on me, living somewhere else and knowing nobody. The song is about trying to define what is home for you...I met people who I connected with and got this new perspective ... this can be your home experience wherever you are.” The song All I need - Passing Through has a similar theme. “... people are moving around ... there is a lot of chit chat, but nobody is actually connected, so you feel lost in a very busy place. It's a song with different sections, one is very spacious … not grounded ... then there is a section which is a bit aggressive,

punchy ... which is where you have a certain rejection of all this nonsense ... this non-connectedness ... I'm trying to express these basic feelings ... the intensity.”

She says that she feels vulnerable when conveying this intensity to her audience and hopes that it can relate to the very personal feelings that she shares.

Jan Jasper Tamboer wrote in the magazine Jazzenzo, that Sietske “.. .possesses a disarming freshness and expresses herself with complete sincerity. She’s got all the technique and knows how to use it in a very musical subtle way. Her core-value is communication from the heart; with gentle power she seduces the audience ...”

The songs are both seductive and revealing. Thousand Shades of Green explores feelings of euphoria and body strength whilst running through nature, whilst Gloomy Streets is about “the sensation of experiencing eyes that undress you ..”

The Sailor is one of seven songs on the CD with lyrics by Sietske and music by the pianist Dirk Balthaus, who accompanies her alongside Marco Zenini on double bass, Efraim Schulz-Wackerbarth on drums and Eran Har Even on guitar. The Sailor, elegantly composed and complex, is Sietske's favourite. Set in a railway station, its theme is of a daydream in which you have chosen a different path at a crucial moment in your past.

Sietske calls her music “cinematic folk Jazz”, by which she means lyrical internal feelings set in an atmospheric, scenic context.

Sietske's voice and the instrumental accompaniment are beautifully balanced. She explains: “... we have a variety of characters in the group, it makes the music happen. Dirk is an introvert, but he always wants to play ... making spicy notes as soon as it becomes quiet ... So you can always expect him to do something to

make it bubble. Eran, he plays the guitar. He's a very strong character, he's a modest person but he has a lot of passion, he likes to bring intensity to everything … he's always encouraging the drums to give more. That's Efraim. He's super reliable, can really keep time like nobody else, he's very calculated ... There's always a bit of pull and push between Efraim and Eran and between Dirk and Efraim ... Dirk ... floats a bit more. Marco (bass) is a lyrical player, not just steady, he also likes to make lines, and play beautiful embellishments, so altogether – it needs to be tamed a little bit ... There will always be more band if I don't speak up.”

Sietske hopes that her music is thought about – not just heard and forgotten - and she senses a change for the future: “There's a lot of melancholy in this music. Maybe I'm moving a bit out of the melancholy. I guess it reflects the life situation. You pour in it what's there.”

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