Mitt Romney loves Dutch Umpa Bands

‘Dweilorkest’ is the Dutch equivalent for Umpa Band. It’s a kind of a band with brass and drums played by amateurs. The music is fun, festive and folkloric. It’s a tradition the (high brow) Dutch usually don’t want to be associated with. The umpa, they feel, needs to be replaced by modern beats during skate events. Mitt Romney definitely thinks otherwise. Read more about his relationship with Kleintje Pils.

by Charlie Crooijmans

Mitt Romney, one of the republican campaigners, just loves these Umpa Bands.  That’s what he said on the 11th of January to Dutch students who asked him some questions after his campaign. Here is a link to the video.

It is the same Mitt Romney who invited the most famous Umpa Band: Kleintje Pils (small beer) to play at the Olympic Winter Games of 2002 in Salt Lake City. Romney was the director of the organisation. Because of their exhilarating presence the scating rink has been declared the Best Venue of the Games. The video below shows you the results.

The word ‘dweil’ comes from the verb ‘dwalen’ which means to wander. In the early days during carnival in the South of the Netherlands these orchestras wandered from pub to pub getting increasingly drunk. Nowadays the connection with carnival has practically come to an end but the bands are still a living tradition. The repertoire consists of popular songs everyone knows and can bawl along with. Each region has over a hundred Umpa Bands and every year there is a competition. Here you can find more information (in Dutch). Will the popularity of these bands increase now America shows some serious interest? Or are the Dutch ashamed of their traditions and do they really want to get rid of the old fashioned brass music at least during the ice skating?


4 thoughts on “Mitt Romney loves Dutch Umpa Bands

  1. I learned about these bands many years ago while visiting family in the Amsterdam area. I found some CDs in the junk bin of a local music shop, but the owner didn’t know much about them. Many years later I found out more, in a twisted connection to the much larger Carnival/Fasnacht groups from mostly Switzerland and Bavaria – Guggenmusik! There are thousands of these bands all over Catholic Europe (and even a few in the northern “Protestant” areas.)

  2. Although I am not a fan of either carnival or skating, I do appreciate the folklore of umpa umpa umpa by the side of the skating rink. It’s the atmosphere, which is what folklore is all about in these instances. It’s a funny video, by the way, although I seriously doubt that the popularity of the umpa bands will rise now that Mitt Romney has expressed his thanks for their contribution to the 2002 olympics. Mitt Romney hardly not a major player in long track ice skating, or Dutch folklore. 😉

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