SNP - Tom Wills

Arts / Dutch musician offers concert in return for lift to Norway

Can you help Roon Staal sail from Shetland to Norway?

A DUTCH singer and pianist who is walking across Europe in stages is looking for help in sailing from Shetland to Norway when he arrives in the isles later this year.

Roon Staal says he would like to hold a concert for free in Shetland – possibly raising money for charity – in return for help in getting across the sea to Norway.

The musician has essentially walked from the north east of the Netherlands to Helmsdale in the Scottish Highlands in portions over the last number of years and he expects to arrive in Shetland in September.

Roon said he was inspired to undertake the journey – which will see him return to his home country via Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Germany – after being invited on a walk with famed musician and friend Art Garfunkel in 1999, who has ‘walked’ across Japan, the US and Europe.

“You walk without any luggage – just some cash and a card, your passport, a small toothbrush, suncream and the likes of and the map of where you are,” he said.

“You are in complete freedom walking the little roads from village to town, breathing in all of the nature around you, to crossing huge centres of big cities with their businesses, suburban areas, old town centres.

“And you walk them out again to find yourself again with the cows and the farmers. You see how it is all connected and feel like you’re living off this world instead of on it, as if you are a visitor from another planet. You meet people, talk to them. Even with the animals. With yourself.”

Roon does not want to fly to Norway as “where I cannot avoid the water, I take a ferry”.

“Shetland is as close as I can get to Norway – but there is no ferry service anymore,” he continued.

“I might as well do something special right there – a concert? A benefit concert even? And does this help me to find a person of company that can help me to get to Norway? From Shetland or close elsewhere, anytime this year or 2020?

“I want to avoid taking a plane by all means and keep my feet on the ground, or sailing over the water. By the way, it would be awesome to play for the local people.”

Roon has recently been performing in Japan, while he has a 19-date tour of the Netherlands planned for later this year.

He said he prefers playing in venues like churches or theatres, with the former particulary suitable because of the acoustics.

“I guess I am most of all a singer and are blessed with a talented voice that I can share with people,” Roon said when asked what his style of music is like.

“The piano is a good friend of mine, for life. Romantic songs? Easy listening? Pop? Influenced by classical music, music from the fifties, sixties, seventies, jazz, crooners. I cover many songs but also write my own. The latest piece I wrote is called Peace as is my new album which I am recording in Japan now. I’ll bring it to Shetland!”

If you can help Roon sail from Shetland to Norway later this year, or want to host a concert, he can be contacted through www.roonstaal.com.

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