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On a soft late September evening last year, I was standing on the sidewalk of a cozy cobbled-stoned street in Breda. I was attending a concert and the musician had decided it would be fun to do a Motown sing-a-long outside under the stars; he bolted off the stage and the crowd followed suit. While we softly hummed to the tunes of ‘My Girl’, it seemed every person in the crowd on that street was thinking the same thing: this is all kinds of wonderful.

Getting people to feel and experience music is exactly what Curated is all about. Founded by music aficionado Joep van Leijsen, Curated is music platform that organizes intimate gigs featuring mostly unknown folk/indie/alternative artists. The origins of the concept are deeply rooted in Joep’s frustrations with the way we experience live music these days. The distance between the artist and the audience, both figuratively and literally, and the disconnect between audience members. “There are hundreds of people who love the same music hanging out in a room together, yet no one is talking to anyone else except for the people they came with,” Joep explains. While attending smaller gigs in London and Brighton, Joep was pleasantly confronted with how different things could be. “There was a gig in a beautiful church where 10 different artists came together for a Kashmir Klub reunion,” Joep recalls. “Everyone was friendly, chatting with each other, truly enjoying the music. I’m sure not everyone liked all 10 different bands, but they were open to the experience and to the people around them.”

A typical Curated night goes something like this. Picture someone’s living room or a cozy old theatre; an attentive, appreciative audience is listening to a singer-songwriter pluck away at his guitar strings not from some far-away stage, but right next to them.  Most likely the audience will be asked to join in at some point, to make music with the artist and contribute something to the experience. Unlike most concerts, there’s plenty of time to hang out and chat with your neighbors and the artists themselves after the show.

Past Curated nights, with the likes of Adam Barnes and inlakech, to name a few, have been a success, and Joep has plenty of ideas for the future. He wants to book more diverse artists and expand to other cities and locations. Besides organizing the shows, Joep wants to use Curated to spread the word about all sorts of concerts people might not hear about it through the usual channels, as well as finding a way to solve the ‘I want to see this show but no one wants to come with me’ dilemma we are all faced with at some point.

When asked what a perfect Curated day would be, Joep let’s his imagination run wild. “It would be somewhere on a farm, or a little castle near the water, somewhere without distractions from the outside world,” he begins. “Someone like Xavier Rudd or Nizlopi would sing songs around a campfire. The Intermission Project would take you out in a boat and collect smiles with their folky tunes. Bands like Little Comets and the Augustines would end the day with a bang, after which both artists and visitors will jam together deep into the night. It would be a day without a time schedule, where everything happens when it happens. A day where spontaneity and freedom reign and where we simply enjoy music, together.”

Curious about Curated? Follow their Facebook and bookmark their website to make sure you stay up to date about upcoming concerts and events.

– Suzanna –