FolkWorld Live Review 12/01 by Christian Moll

Folkwoods Festival, Eindhoven

An excellent quality event

Fluxus, photo by The MollisFolkwoods Festival is maybe the best organised folk festival I know. Mid August 2001 the second editon took place in the very nice location of the Philips van Lennepark in Eindoven in the Netherlands. This festival is presenting lots of young and fresh bands, but also some good old established friends.

The setting is ideal - a quite park with nice spaces for camping (excellent facilities), there are three tents in different sizes for the music... The festival started on friday evening with french Blues singer Claude Bourbon, American singer/songwriter Mike West - highlight of the evening was the young Irish group Cian presenting nice unusually arranged tunes and some songs by Margaret Molloney.

Saturday the programme started already early at 11 o'clock with one of my personal highlights of the festival - the young flemish group Fluxus. Fluxus are around for some time now - they have the reputation to be one of the leading young instrumental groups of the new wave of flemish folk music. And they are great - their instruments include accodion, saxophone, hurdy gurdy, bagpipe, whistles, string instruments, etc. They are knowing very well how to present their music - the arrangements are spectecular. A newer addition is that their great accordionist Greet also contributes some nice singing in flemish language - if you ever gets the chance to see them live: go for it...

Fenja Menja, phot by The MollisI don't have the space to mention all bands that have played on this weekend - I will only mention some of my personal highlights. Young Danish band Fenja Menja playing good folk rock reminding me a bit of some bands from England - although their material in Scandinavian - these young lads have a big potential, there is more to here from them, I am sure.
For many people a very special highlight of the festival were the two reunion concerts of the legendary Dutch folk and rock music legend band Bots. Bots was that band who made Dutch pop music possible. They had many hits along time ago like 'Wat zullen we drinken' and 'De man'. Good luck for this festival was that one of the heads behind Bots, Hans Sanders, is also involved in Folkwoods festival. For me - never having seen Bots in those days, yet knowing many of their songs translateds into German by different German singers, it was a great experiance to see the real stuff.
Lunasa, photo by The MollisLunasa - a great instrumental band from Ireland was anotherhighlight of the saturday. The young lads of Lunasa know how to work with their roots to give their tunes a definite extraordinair very own sound. Their tunes a driven by flute, fiddle and uilleann pipes backed by an excellent string section. In continental Europe it is not to easy to catch them in live - as they often do long tours in the States, but very seldom on our continent - so this festival was a good place to be to see some of the most interesting young Irish bands (except Lunasa there where Cian and Kila at this years festival).

The sunday started off with of the finest Dutch singer/songwriters I know - Gerard van Maasakkers is a singer from Brabant (the Netherlands), he sings in his native language - a very nice start for another fine festival day. Next highlight was the legendary flemish folk rock band Kadril - this band was somehow a starting point for the actual new flemish folk boom. Kadril exists now already since a quarter of a decade - but their sound is very fresh and breathtaking. They have a very full sound with lots of traditional and modern instruments, and they have a great singer, too.
Danny Guinan, photo by The MollisA personal favorite of me was the appearance of Danny Guinan. I have met this - still now quite young - Irish singer/songwriter a long time ago with his band of that time Speranza on some of their extensive quite low profile German tours. It was one of the earlier folk concerts I went to, and Speranza's album, which came out some years later, was for quite a time one of my favorite folk album... Danny has been living for some years now in the Netherlands - he has always extensive tours there, but somehow seldom crosses the borders. He is still the a bit mad singer songwriter, and I like his style of singing a lot. Hope to see you soon in Germany again, Danny!

A very wild and experimenting band from Ireland is Kila - it is really hard to characterise this band in some words - their music is surely deeply rooted in the Irish traditons - but it goes much further, it has influences from many other music styles and from tradtions of other regions - if you want to put them into a drawer, do it yourself and do not ask me. It is exciting music, and their shows are wild - it is fascinating to watch these very characteristic and interesting people on stage.

Urban Trad, photo by The MollisA special concert for me was Urban Trad - I knew their CD before, and liked it a lot, but I was not sure if they could do this on stage - but they could, it was a fantastic concert. They brought the audience to dance quite from the start of their concert. Urban Trad's mastermind is the multiinstrumentalist Belge Yves Barbieux. He started Urban Trad more as a project for an album - but then it went on so well, that he created a band. Urban Trad is the name and the programme of this - Yves wants to make music rooted in different traditons (like Irish, Galician, Belgian, etc.) which can be found in the metropoles, at this time mixed with more modern sound of the cities. His band is great, with good stage performance - a personal highlight was the appearence of one of the Galician singers of Ialma. Great stuff!
Last band on was not a typical folkfestival band, but a hard rock band from the Netherlands. The organisers thought that their music would fit into the openminded concept of this festival. The audience was cut into two parts, some liked them a lot, others did not - but as it was the last concert of the festival they did not have to stay. I like the idea of having an open festival with some spots, which you normally can not find at folk festivals...

I have not mentioned all of the bands playing at this festival - there where quite a lot more: e.g. The Transsilvanians, Helmut Eisel and Jem, Troitsa, Ronnie Drew & Mike Hanrahan, Kalio Galio, Peatbog Faeries, Headmix, Thomas Lynch, Gjallarhorn (read the article about them in this issue)...

For the second time: Congratulations to the organizers - you have done a great job again! Keep up the excellent work (everything at this festival seems to be planned well..) and see you all in summer 2002...

Further infos available at: Folkwoods homepage

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© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 12/2001

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