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Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands | INDIE

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands | INDIE
Band World Jazz


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"STriCat: coherent and interesting"

“The base of their music is Balkan where fluid rhythmic patterns are exposed to the liberal arias from the region of Bimhuis in Amsterdam, a bed of European creativity. The result is very good as it avoids the usual risk of a patchwork of ethnic music that has been forced into an unnatural amalgamation. The Stricats are always coherent and together and interesting because of the richness of their sound, incorporating jazz themes, a little bop, some klezmer and even a few James Brown riffs. All of this is so well put together that the result is truly new material. It has to be said that “ Rats and Gentle people “ that sticks in the mind and demands to be put back in the Cd player. When, a couple of the times, the tempo slows down however, it seems as if in a dream you are able to reach out and touch the music.”
- Renato Bellardinelli,, december 2007

"STriCat: precise and contagious"

“This trio of cymbalom player Bokkie Vink with AKB (Amsterdam Klezmer Band) veterans Gijs Levelt and Theo van Tol on trumpet and accordion took Romanian Gypsy music under their loving wings, with a few excursions to Bulgaria. While showing a definite respect for tradition, these men cannot be accused of piety.
Smooth Balkan swing is smilingly complemented with sharp hard bop interventions on trumpet or staccato riffs borrowed from James Brown. The performance was precise and contagious; especially impressive were the breathtaking precision salvos from Van Tol's accordion.”

- Ton Maas, de Volkskrant, 23-4-2007

"STriCat: funk and adventure"

“This trio recently released their first CD, on which they lifted the cymbalom from its traditional Gypsy music context ... The CD consists entirely of the trio’s own compositions and every time you listen, new nuances come to the surface ... They [Driving Madness and Asphalt] are both incredibly jolly and extremely sophisticated songs, reminding one of Buster Keaton movies.
One STriCat song has been dedicated to a famous Romanian cymbalom maestro, the late Toni Iordache, whose music was recently released on a beautiful CD ... It is interesting to hear these CDs side by side, because in a peculiar way they are unexpectedly well matched. Perhaps not so much because of their virtuosity ... , but because STriCat possess more funk and adventure (to wit the breathtaking feature for trumpet and accordion in Have a Seat)”

- Jaïr Tchong, De Groene Amsterdammer, 23-8-2007

"STriCat: pleasant and cheerful"

“... pleasant and cheerful Balkan swing with stirring rhythms ... Theo van Tol on accordion spiced up both the bass-line and chords and the melody, used by Gijs Levelt as a basis for his free and clear-sounding trumpet improvisations.” - Amanda Kuyper, NRC Handelsblad, 27-8-2007

"STriCat: fascinating and inventive"

“A cymbalom immediately calls forth associations with Hungarian or Romanian Gypsy music. Your gaze is drawn towards the east by the combination of cymbalom and accordion too. And topped off by a trumpet the music brims with Balkan associations. Accordionist Theo van Tol and trumpet-player Gijs Levelt both play in the Amsterdam Klezmer Band and cymbalom-player Bokkie Vink is a member of Tata Mirando’s orchestra. This causes the timbre of STriCat to be steeped in tradition. But ultimately their music is closer to jazz. The trio don’t play traditionals or arrangements thereof, but their own compositions, which are fascinating and inventive, sometimes hinting at the Balkans but mainly representative of the fresh and exciting aspects of contemporary Dutch music. And the cover is magnificent.” - Peter Bruyn, Beyond Magazine, 6-9-2007

"STriCat: refreshing and tight"

“STriCat was the little great surprise of the festival. The ensemble of only three men stirs up a whole party – a welcome change of pace in the program with the refreshing sound of Balkan rhythms. Cymbalom-player Bokkie Vink was accompanied by the trumpet-player and the accordionist of the Amsterdam Klezmer Band. This tight trio present their Slavic rhythms with a large amount of groove”

- Theo Oppewal,, 4-9-2007

"STriCat: surprising and warm"

“Broken. In Romania they say stricat, which is the name of this trio. This suggests something destructive, but the truth is quite the reverse. It is cheerful music, in great part due to the nimble accordion play by Theo van Tol. But it is more than that. This is ‘Balkan swing’. It is a successful marriage of Bokkie Vink’s Romanian cymbalom and Gijs Levelt’s trumpet. To be more precise: the surprising bebop sounds of the trumpets are wrapped in a warm blanket made of cymbalom strings. This combination of instruments is quite unheard of, but STriCat changes all that. Nothing’s broken, it’s a great fix.”

- Hans Dijkstal, Het Financieele Dagblad, 25/8/2007


rats & gentle people - cd - 2007
Jab - cd - 2009

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STriCat is a balkan jazz trio from the Netherlands. Formed in 2006, its members are trumpet player Gijs Levelt, accordionist Theo van Tol and cymbalist Bokkie Vink. Their original and virtuosic blend of Romanian folk music and jazz appeals to both jazz and world music audiences.

STriCat’s debut album “rats & gentle people” (released in 2007) was highly praised in the Dutch music press and their captivating live performance at the Dutch national television program Vrije Geluiden in the same year helped to raise the attention of a broader audience. The trio performed concerts at prestigious festivals and venues like the North Sea Jazz Festival (2008), Jazz op het Dak (2008), Contrabande Festival (2008), ZomerJazzFietsTour (2007), Karnatic Lab Festival (2007), RASA (2007), Paradox (2007) and Bimhuis (2007). With their successful showcase at the Dutch Blend Meeting (2008), an international fair for world music pros, STriCat attracted the attention of many international concert promoters and journalists, which amongst others resulted in a tour to Taiwan (2008). In March 2009 STriCat released their second album “Jab” on the independent label Karnatic Lab Records. The same year the trio toured the Netherlands in a collaboration project with the Bulgarian kaval virtuoso Theodosii Spassov. Together they performed at the International Gipsy Festival Tilburg and the Music Meeting in Nijmegen.