Wednesday, October 26, 2011

American Reefer(s) in Holland

There is still a buzz around this part of North Holland after Jim and Peter Mayer from Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band came to town a few weeks ago.  The brothers had played the big show with Buffett at the Olympia in Paris, and then set their course North to the Netherlands.
Jim with IM4U in 3 languages
‘Uncle’ Jim Mayer wound himself up and let loose with five workshop concerts - complete with French and Dutch translations - at the European School in Bergen over two days.   The primary school kids were bouncing on adrenaline during his shows, and the secondary students were a tougher crowd at first, but Jim had them  dancing on stage in about two shakes of a three-legged dog’s tail. 
So what the heck was Jimmy Buffett’s bassist of 20 years doing at the European School in the small town of Bergen, North Holland, performing for these kids?  It is indeed an unlikely happening when thinking about Buffett, margaritas and his escapism for grown-ups.  Jim started his Uncle Jim children’s music about ten years ago, and he’s done pretty well while bringing some positive and absolutely silly songs to lots of kids.  Two hit CDs, television show appearances and numerous school performances are shaping him into something of a Captain Coral Reefer Kangaroo for this generation.
We first met Jim at an after concert dinner party that Buffett put on in 2008 in Paris, and Jim's enthusiasm was clear from the start. We kept in touch and have made it a yearly happening for Uncle Jim to perform for  kids in Europe when he comes over for the yearly Buffett show in Paris.
IM4U – This is the hub of what Jim sings and shouts to the kids.  The groovy song by Jim, featuring another Coral Reefer, Nadirah Shakoor, tells kids to stand up for one another against schoolyard bullying and other challenges where a friend is needed.  Self esteem and community involvement - while learning how to have fun growing up - are qualities embedded in the lyrics of the songs that get the kids dancing.   His shows were a success at the school, and also appeared in the Alkmaar Courant local newspaper.
And,  Jim’s very cool and talented brother Peter Mayer (below in photo at the Provadja with Jim)  also landed on our Alkmaar doorstep this year after a quick detour to play a show in Switzerland.  One of Uncle Jim’s songs is Peanut Butter and Jelly, and that’s what the brothers were like when they hit the stage for a show at the Provadja theater on the following Saturday night in Alkmaar.  They fell into a seamless groove that has evidently been jointly crafted over the years. Their set included many songs from the Peter Mayer Group, a few from Uncle Jim and some from Peter’s recent Beatles project.  I think the Provadja crowd quickly realized from the first song that they had some professionals on stage. 
Meanwhile, Jimmy Buffett - previously rumored to show up at the Provadja-  was not far away on this early October evening while the brothers from his band were causing waves on the canals of Alkmaar.  In fact, was that Buffett that was seen snooping around some club venues in Amsterdam looking for a place to play when he sails back to Europe next year?  I believe that the captain was doing a bit of reconnaissance.

One of Uncle Jim's top moves

Uncle Jim demonstrating bullying on blog author


  1. Rock on Matt. Thanks for the blog. It was great spending time to work and play in Alkmaar. Love to the friends and family! PM

  2. How cool, those are some lucky kids!!!