September 9, 2014
by Tjeerd van Erve
Everyone who’s ever met broeder Dieleman in person knows that the almost 6 foot 6 Zeeuw is a beacon of rest. His thoughtful, soft spoken words reflect his personality. Yet his rolling roaring laughter are outings of a joy in life and work. It’s downright contagious.
When you find yourself in Dieleman’s vicinity, you’ll witness a life that’s brighter and lighter. Darker, more cynical thoughts drift back like clouds making place for the sun. Just don’t take this Dutch Big Friendly Giant for someone who is naive or always at ease. On the contrary: he is thoughtful, self-aware and not without the necessary self-reflection. He often sees things wit a broader perspective. But all of this is overshadowed by a love for life and living beings.
“Zorg da’ je t huppele’ nie ve’leert”* sings a father sings to his daughters in ‘Voor Janna en Lieve’ . It’s a song that does not only show a profound love for his young breed. It also reflects his life spirit. No matter which turns you take, there are no wrong ones. There only are those turns which make the road longer or harder. Somehow, you’ll get there. Just see to it that you’ll do so with joy in your heart.
It’s not just joy that broeder Dieleman brings on Gloria. Actually the most intriguing moments are those where Dieleman dives into the thunder-and-horror preachings of the strict Calvinist-reformed church during his youth. Darkness rolls in with “Adriana”, a six minute hymn of threatening, almost suffocating doom folk. Engaging as always, broeder Dieleman uses the sheerest minimum of instrumentation and arrangement. Not one note too much, nothing distracting you from the emotional core of these songs. They all seem to be personal reflections of the not so much God fearing BFG, a set of little spiritual documents.
To the Lord, to his family, to his children and to us, Tonnie Dieleman reveals his inner thoughts and invites us to do the same. An off-kilter piano-tinge becomes an echo of the imperfections in life: pleasant, beautiful and disruptive at the same time. Personal and warm, akin to the Zeeuw’s own personality. Vulnerability spawned his own self-created Dutch folk tradition. No-frills honesty at its best.
* Translation: (Make sure you don’t forget how to skip and prance)