Dutch artist LUWTEN opens the Noorderplantsoen concert venue with her dreamy indie sound
Written by Sandra Mako Sanchez
Billowing smoke, illuminated by streams of light, made the stage feel as though absorbed by a cloud. To the sound of horn calls the band wandered out of the fog, one by one. Tessa Douwstra, better known by her alias LUWTEN, stood out from her mates. Her neck felt elongated, unimpeded by hair, which she kept in a short, dark bob. It gave her an otherworldly appearance, exaggerated by the floating, ethereal way she moved.
Despite luwten being a Dutch word for places with no wind, Douwstra seemed as though she would be carried off by a mystic breeze. Her voice rang out in ethereal calls over melodic synthesization of guitar, keys, and percussion. The entranced audience, made of young and old alike, leaned forward in their spaced-out seats.
“These songs evoke the feeling of the breeze underneath the door; a subtle reminder of becoming open to another,” the artist says of her latest album, Draft.
Her lyrics explored isolation, longing to connect with others, and overcoming doubt. These are feelings many experienced as we went through the pandemic’s cycles of lockdowns and regulation lifting. It could be difficult to know how to re-embrace a world which could no longer feel as safe and secure as it had before the pandemic.
“I thought wе all ran on a treadmill; I thought it all went down the same hill; I didn’t know things could come to a standstill,” Douwstra cries in Standstill.
High vaccination rates and the very fact that a festival like Noorderzon could be implaced, make it tempting to think the worst is behind us. Despite the threat of variants, we hesitantly hope that we may once again be allowed to engage in the social gatherings, such as Noorderzon, that allow us to be inspired by the things we can learn from others.
Indeed, Douwstra told the crowd that she spent many summers going to Noorderzon, when she was younger, becoming inspired by what she saw. This is exactly the mission of the international festival of arts and culture, to motivate others to see things in new light, and explore this through collaborative, creative endeavours.
“Seems like it’s time to see; The difference, the difference between; The people I miss and the people I’d like to meet,” we hear in Douwstra’s Difference.
As we re-engage with the world, we should take a lesson from Noorderzon’s mission and Douwstra’s lyrics. We ought to rethink who we want to be, and what we want to be surrounded by in this new reality. Perhaps, it is time to challenge your thinking or delve into new passions.
The LUWTEN concert ended in an encore brought about by the power of cheers, claps, and whistles. Douwstra had succeeded in moving her audience, and in inaugurating a long-postponed celebration of collective musing.