Bruges, Belgium

The Bruges Musician

What was that? It almost sounded like a…fog horn? In Bruges???

After quickly admiring Burg Square (my time was quite limited but I managed a short visual introduction to this fascinating square which somehow manages to beautifully meld all sorts of architectural concepts into one harmonious whole),

I continued my joyful wandering and picture-taking back in the historic main Markt Square. There was so much to see! People. Medieval architecture. I tried valiantly to capture with my camera what this special city was causing me to feel.

And, then, just around the corner of the Belfort, Bruges’ famous bell tower,

Brugge, Belgium

I heard the sonorous sound of a…

FOG HORN!

But how? It couldn’t be…could it?

And, then, there were also faint melodic, metallic tones and a…tinkling!

I followed the beautiful yet strange gentle chiming, the bell-like tones, and rich bass-note  reverberations into a small courtyard where I found…

Bruges, Belgium

not a fog horn (of course it was obvious by now that it couldn’t have been that) but a musician playing what I had never seen a street musician playing before! I didn’t even know the names of these instruments but, together, they created such enticing, inviting melodic unity that I was mesmerized and stayed to listen for awhile…

There was restrained power vibrating from the mammoth wind instrument at the same time that the musician’s hand fluttered gently but confidently along the belly and periphery of the percussive disc. He tapped his left foot rhythmically and set the bells around his ankle to tinkling along with the incongruous harmonies of the other two instruments. The tones were otherworldly and completely complementary and I found I was in a tiny corner of heaven…

Here was a one-man band, Bruges-style.

I needed no convincing to purchase the CD for €15:  L’Intemporel by Curt Ceunen

Bruges, Belgium, Street Musician

 

From inside its cover, I learned that the huge wind instrument was a didgeridoo with its characteristic drone, and the saucer-shaped object was a hang,  an instrument created a mere few years before in 2000! (Its tone sounds much more ancient to me.) When I listen to the CD now, it transports me back to that little courtyard beneath the historic bell tower, next to the grand Markt Square…

That afternoon, I stayed as long as time allowed, filling myself up with the surprise of the beauty of it all…

And, so you can understand a little better, I found this video of Curt Ceunen taken about 5 months after I saw him that day. He sits in the same courtyard, with the same bicycle in the background. (Surely he doesn’t transport all of his gear via that bicycle??!!) You can’t see the bells on his ankle but you can hear them and you’re given a wonderful sense of the almost flute or harp-like hang melody and the resonance of the didgeridoo.

Although I was perplexed when I first heard the Bruges street musician’s music, I quickly realized how beautifully the seemingly incongruous sounds blended together to create a stunning work of art. And lasting memories.

Much like the city of Bruges itself.

Bruges, Belgium

 

 

7 thoughts on “The Bruges Musician

  1. Pingback: A Short, Ridiculous Detour to Bruges |

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