The Serious Beans Project started two years ago, as a group of friends from Maastricht University who enjoyed playing music together. Slowly but surely, they became a tight-knit band, roaming the streets of Europe. It’s hard to describe their music, but the essence of a good dish of Serious Beans lies in the mixing of styles from the various homelands of the musicians: it’s rap merged with salsa, reggae with jazz and gypsy as well as Spanish guitar. This year, the Beans will play at Germany’s biggest world music festival in Rudolstadt in July.
Cables lie everywhere in the theatre of a former school, now a cultural centre, many going through the window where the mobile studio bus is parked. Inside the bus, the producers Jo Smeets and Edis Pajazetović – watching the Beans’ moves on a TV screen – are recording and giving instructions through a microphone. “This is God speaking”, jokes Pajazetović. “That sounded really good, I think it’s time for another group hug in the bus.”
It’s hard work. After two days of making music almost non-stop, they’re shattered. “No vodka for me”, says singer Valeria Pintus. “I’m sure I’ll fall over.” Guitar player Juan van der Werff seems to be the most active in the late hours. “I’m really happy with that last song, Agatha. I can’t wait to hear it again in the morning.”
“Do you want to dub some of the words tomorrow?” asks one of the producers, looking at guitar player and vocalist Simon Rakovsky. “That’s what they do, isn’t it? These rappers? Well, if you think it’s necessary, I’ll repeat some words. But I don’t think it is.”
The next morning Van der Werff’s wish is granted. Smeets wakes up the Beans by playing the song they recorded the night before. Outside the birds are singing, chickens are happily picking their grains and two goats are dancing around; one of them even jumps on top of a sunbathing cow. During breakfast the Beans listen to what they’ve recorded so far. Then, accordion player Florian Lüdtke has to leave for an exam this afternoon. The rest of the group stays until the end. “Recording eight songs in just three days was an ambitious project. Though we can probably always do a little better, we’re definitely satisfied.”