Solitude is not for everyone, but Ivo Gleeman loves it. He finds it just great to go through life as a one-man band. With his characteristic twelve-string guitar and foot drums and sometimes a harmonica, he travels like an old troubadour or singer-songwriter from village to village and from town to town. Therefore his debut album is aptly titled Wander About, as roaming is the name of Ivo’s game.
Gleeman is a loner. His name derives from the troubadour from Eye Of The World, Part 1 of The Wheel Of Time, the fantasy novel series by Robert Jordan. He doesn’t intentionally seek solitude as an artist. Previously, he had a band, but being solo works better for him. ‘It was a creation out of necessity,’ the man himself says. He performs sitting, so he can simultaneously play the foot drums with his feet. ‘It has become part of me. It came about organically. Without it, I feel even naked. To each his own, and this is what I do.’ This striking setting determines his sound, which is strongly Celtic-tinged with here and there an Arabic accent. Very dynamic, very special. The track The Gate is more bluesy. He puts a small guitar on his lap, which he occasionally uses as an additional percussion gadget.
With producer Ocki Klootwijk he has generated a big sound, while only having used a limited amount of instruments. ‘Everything was recorded deliciously with a free hand,’ comments Gleeman. Okay, change that to a ‘free ankle’. Those foot drums, for which he himself designed a steel frame for his live performances, are also a nice gimmick. It looks great too: a singer who uses all his limbs. In order to get some variety, he called in the help of a ‘real drummer’ (Joeri Rook). Gleeman can reproduce those drum sounds on stage with the pads under his feet, which serve as his ‘drum sticks’. Seeing is believing: it’s true, one man can make a complete band sound.
Wander About is the personal history of an artist who travels a lot. For eighteen months he travelled through Australia and New Zealand. Enhanced by a powerful bluesy slide guitar, the closing track Desert Sun is inspired by his three-day train ride in a straight line across the Australian desert. Played on a mandolin, the upbeat single One For The Road is one on one applicable to the pub life in the Irish pubs where he often plays. This ranges from Paddy Murphy's bar in his hometown Rotterdam to Dolan's Pub in Limerick or the famous Barra Folk Club in Clonakilty, where the bass of Noel Redding, bassist Jimi Hendrix, is still hanging as a trophy on the wall. ‘One more beer and then we’ll go, they say, to crawl home on their eyebrows at the end of the evening.’ Gleeman closes with a wit.
With his Irish tours along the many pubs and folk clubs, the country possesses, Gleeman leads an enviably pleasant life. On his album he takes us on an inspiring journey. It tastes of moreish - not necessarily more beer but especially more music. Immerse yourself in Gleeman’s musical journey that will bring him to the (rock) clubs too, where he has supported artists like Moke and Ellen ten Damme in the past.