"Avond van het Liefdeslied"

Lyrics are often mistaken for poetry. Only rarely is a good poet also a good songwriter, and only rarely to lyrics stand up as poetry when read out (a rare example of a succesful double-tasker, and the only one I can think of, is the great Leonard Cohen). So what happens if you ask 13 poets and 13 pop musicians to collaborate in pairs and make 13 love songs?

Apparently, 13 love affairs.

Tonight on Dutch television, the "Night of the Love Song", showed the results, and as can be expected with these projects, it was a mixed bag. Some songs were perfect, others interesting but not quite succesful, and other pretty but rather bland. But in every case, it was clear that soulmates had been found. Hafid Bouazza declared he wouldn't mind sharia to be instituted right now so he could marry all three lovely belgian singers of "Lais" who hauntingly brought his poem to life. Ilja Leonard Pfeiffer (who managed to be both awesomely cool and utterly, heartbreakingly adorable) was so inspired he considered writing a book of poetry titled "songs for Ellen", and I for one would not mind if he did, since his collaboration with Ellen ten Damme was, as far as I am concerned, the most perfectly crafted and satisfying song of the night. Hagar Peters could not take her hungry eyes off Martin Buitenhuis (of "de Dijk"), and Erik-Jan Harmens did not even try to hide his crush on fiery-haired Roos(beef).

Maybe it's inevitable, when collaborating on a love song, to fall at least a little bit in love. It wasn't limited to same-sex pairs either (or compatible sexual orientations). It did however, seem to go mainly from the poets to their interpreters. I wonder why.

In any case, it was nice for once to break from narrative (although make no mistake, I am still addicted to storytelling) and to sit back to enjoy just aesthetics for once. To be reminded of how beautiful Afrikaans sounds. To discover the voice of Frederique Spigt. And of course, last but not least, to see a 62 year old man in a cap be happy as a little boy performing with a rap band.