Take a musical journey at Old Songs Festival

There are events planned throughout the Capital District all year to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's discovery of Albany, and this weekend, Old Songs takes a turn saluting the explorer.

From Friday to Sunday, June 26 to 28, Old Songs is holding its annual festival at the Altamont Fairgrounds. One of the special guests is Nanne and Ankie and the Hudson Crew, a musical group from the Netherlands.

They do a spectacular performance about Henry Hudson and the Halfmoon, said Old Songs Executive Director Andy Spence, referring to Hudson's ship.

Nanne Kalma, Ankie van der Meer and the four other performers came to Voorheesville to perform at Old Songs about 10 years ago. Spence has kept in touch with them over the years, and thought the quadricentennial would be a great occasion to bring them back.

"They do a lot of maritime music -" a lot of singing about ships and merchants," she said.

For the Old Songs festival, the group will tell Hudson's story from a Dutch perspective, Spence said. When the English explorer set sail in 1609, he had been hired by the Dutch East India Company to find an easterly passage to Asia. But when ice and cold made travel difficult, Hudson turned west.

"That's why he ended up coming to America," Spence said.

Hudson and his crew landed on the coast of Maine, continuing as far south as the Chesapeake and Delaware bays. Realizing he hadn't found a passage to Asia, he headed back north, exploring the river that now bears his name.

"It's quite a story, really," Spence said.

The Hudson Crew tells the story in both Dutch and English. It will perform Friday at 3 p.m., complementing a lecture by Peter Rose called "The Influence of the Dutch on the American Kitchen." That night, it will put on a concert set at 7.

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