Gitta de Ridder
To Our Children
Little Memories Records
Songs That Remove the Line Which Separates Art and Artist.
With contributions from a Spanish guitarist, an English children’s choir, a string quartet from Italy, background vocals from Switzerland, horns recorded in Portugal, a smattering of Spanish goats, and Ms. de Ridder herself (from the Netherlands), this may be the most “European” album of music by a single artist that this reviewer has ever heard.
Gearing up for this foray, Gitta de Ridder traveled for most of a year throughout Europe, dressed in “traditional wear,” Dutch clothes—that is simple dresses and clogs, yes clogs.
You know: wooden shoes!
all while playing shows and festivals.
This is the artist “living the art” or perhaps even more precisely, a case of the artist removing the line which separates art and artist.
Not performance art exactly, but simply art and artist as one, breathing together. De Ridder gifts us with her strong, clear voice and a penchant for optimism severely lacking in many of today’s musicians.
Much like Jonathan Richman—a fearless, optimistic original if there ever was one— Ridder is a genre-fluid artist, capable of wearing many hats, jumping from one style of music to another without it sounding forced or weak.
“Capable,” “fearless,” and “optimistic” are words I would not hesitate to use in describing de Ridder’s art, along with multi-talented, and original.
The album starts out with the wistful “Like a Kite Released” featuring a wonderful Wurlitzer backdrop, fleshed out by de Ridder’s sanguine vocals. “To Wonder” has a more, shall we say, “Americana” feel, complete with pedal steel, while “Hypothetical You and I” reminds me of dark cabaret, and ‘The Clearing” starts with a flourish of Spanish guitar before moving on to darker, more frantic themes.
“Sing a Song Sing Along” is the perfect way to end this charming eight-song album with it’s hopeful melody and backing children’s chorus, but I would have to say that “Man of the Light” may be my favorite track here, especially with it’s “Hey! Ha!” background vocals and some superb trumpet playing that adds a fun bit of hopeful light to the track.
There’s a video for the song “Man of the Light” in which you can see de Ridder herself, cavorting around Europe in some of that “traditional wear” and obviously having a blast and making fans along the way.
Review courtesy Roy Peak
Released October 10th 2020
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