Tuesday Night Prayer Meeting

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Amsterdam-based contemporary artist Femke Dekker is the creator of Tuesday Night Prayer Meeting, a very special monthly radio show hosted on Red Light Radio, named after Charles Mingus' Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting. The show's motto -- the fewer expectations you have, the better -- is probably the best advice for approaching the artistic unfamiliar -- and Tuesday Night Prayer Meeting will be unfamiliar. The show started, in Femke's words, as an outlet for her love of "spiritual jazz and beyond," but then "the beyond kind of took over." The music ventures across the globe; you might hear early-70's Dutch lullabies, retro-Brazilian instrumentals, out of print German disco-funk from mid-80's, iconic Argentinian percussionists, late '60's Parisian underground leftist rock, Middle Eastern dance, contemporary remixes from Mexican DJs out of Tijuana, just to name a sampling. The show is melodic and harmonious throughout, sometimes upbeat and sometimes chilled out. Overall, the music is more ambient than not, that is, it is "able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular . . . as ignorable as it is interesting,” to use the words of Brian Eno.*

Femke grew up on a "steady diet of bebop and contemporary jazz" and Tuesday Night Prayer Meeting is a freewheeling showcase of the music she loves: 

"When it comes to the process of selecting records; it's all very organic and really depending on my mood... I usually know the first and the last record I want to play but everything in between just happens."

The show came about thanks to Femke's longstanding relationship with Hugo & Orpheu, the founders of Red Light Radio, who gave Femke an outlet for playing the records she loved that she could never manage to play in a club setting. "I used to work with punk and hardcore bands and Hugo was in one of the most known hardcore bands back then. Orpheu was my partner in party crime, as we organized parties together. When they started RLR I seized the opportunity ... " **

The show uses the moniker, Strange Boutique -- a project Femke shares with her friend Nicole Martens. Femke is active as a freelance curator, editor, art-director, DJ, promoter, lecturer and consultant -- and both Femke and Nicole were recently featured in a contemporary art exhibition -- The Gym of Obsolete Technology -- at the artist-run project space in Amsterdam, W139. The exhibit intended "to visualize and give form to the tensions between the analogue and the digital that come into being during moments of transference, circumvention, and interference." 


Sources:

*"AMBIENT GENIUS: The working life of Brian Eno" by Sasha Frere-Jones
The New Yorker (July 7, 2014) 

*definition of ambient music from the liner notes of Brian Eno's 1978 Music for Airports

** From conversations with Femke on Facebook. Thank you, Fem!