FolkWorld article by Christian Moll :

'History lesson' on the current Flemish Folk scene

The folk rock band Kadril and the label Wildboar - two Belgian institutions

Kadril, photo by The Mollis

Kadril is the longest going innovative Flemish folk rock band, existing already for a quarter of a century. The Wildboar label is much younger - but has a very strong influence on the whole folk music scene of Belgium. Christian Moll talked on the small island of Tatihou in the Normandie with Erwin Libbrecht and Eva De Roovers about these institutions.

Kadril: Eva & Harlind, photo by The MollisEva De Roovers is since a few years Kadril's front singer - she has a beautiful and powerful voice and she is the new great focal point of Kadril. Eva tries to describe Kadril's music: "Me - hahaha, the music - ehm. It is called folk rock. It is ancient music, mostly Belgium music, Flemish - but it is also rock, because there are electric guitars, drums, bass and ancient instruments as a mix, like hurdy gurdy - that is an old french instrument, then the flemish bagpipes, violin, dulcimer - actually one from the Apalachian mointains in America - but it existed in Belgium, too - it is a bit different style. And the text are mostly old flemish texts - but we also play the odd bit of Irish - an Irish song or..." Erwin Libbrecht, founder member of Kadril, who plays guitars in the band concludes "Whatever we like... But still, if we take a song of someone else or from somewhere else, we try to do it Kadril-wise. I think we have a quite unique sound in what we are doing, certainly with the mixture of the instruments - I think it is quite impressive... - And almost all of the traditional instruments we play in Kadril were payed in Belgium at a certain time. But in most cases it was not a lasting tradition, it stopped..."

Kadril started 25 years ago as a hobby band playing at the beginnig mainly Irish and French music. Erwin Libbrecht, guitarist and founder member of Kadril explains: "We started as a folk band playing Irish music and French music. When we started we where 16, 17 years old, we couldn't play our instruments very well, we started with the repertoire of the Dubliners, things everyone knows. We played that only for a couple of years, as we changed very quickly towards playing our own traditions - but to do this you have to learn, you need time to learn. We were convinced by Herman de Witt (of the long and strong going Flemish folk band t'Kliekske), who said 'why don't you guys start playing flemish music - there is a lot of material to be found' - and there is a lot of material!"
Kadril: Hans, photo by The MollisIn the begining they played in a traditional way with only folk instruments, but they changed it later: "In the eighties there was not a lot of interest in doing folk music in Belgium - so we started a bit rock, folk rock. Which gave us the opportunity to play on rock stages and rock festivals and things like that. And I think this is one of the reasons why Kadril still exists."

In the beginning the group started with three Libbrecht brothers (Erwin - guitar, bouzouki, Peter - fiddle & Harlind - mandolin, cimbal) and Bart de Cock on bagpipe, shortly after that Hans Quaghebeur (hurdy gurdy, accordion) joined Kadril - these five are still the center of the group. A real new focal point they got when the young singer Eva De Roovere joined them some years ago.

When they started to play Flemish traditional music, this was not very popular - Erwin says "When we made our first album in '86, it was a hard time for Flemish folk music. It was not very popular. We could play concerts, but not very often. And then, when the second album was made in '90, we had some first influences in folk rock, and then people started listening to it, and started playing some of the songs on the radio. And that has given us a real hard push."
Today the Flemish folk music scene is very strong, Kadril has had quite a big influence on the current developement: "I did not realise it, at that time, but if you are speaking today to some young musicians of the Flemish scene, many of them mention Kadril as one of there influences. This is great. If you speak for example to Wim Claeys of Ambrozijn, or Kim of BUB, they always start to say the same things - they where very impressed of the first album we made. - We had a lot of influence on other bands, but so did t'Kliekske and other Flemish bands, but I think we where a bridge between the old generation and the new generation. Another thing is, that we where the ones who dicovered Lais, we put them on the main stage in Dranouter for the first time..."

Kadril: Bart & Peter, photo by The MollisToday about half of Kadril's repertoire is traditional, the other half are their own compositions, but they do it in the traditional style. Erwin says "The largest part of the texts are traditional, just Peter, my brother, who plays the violin, writes some text, but the main part is traditional." Kadril always likes to find 'new' old traditional songs - they are searching for them. Erwin: "Yes, we like to do that..." - Eva: "in big books..." - Erwin: "I think, that is one of the strongest points in Kadril, that we are always looking for new things that come out of the tradition. While other bands play either their own compositions, or play songs, that someone else did before, we prefer to look for new thing in the traditions."

The Wildboar label
Apart from being founder member and guitar player in the oldest and very well established Flemish folk rock band Kadril, Erwin Libbrecht is the head of the very fine new Belgian label Wildboar Music.
Erwin started the label in 1997. Says Erwin, "That was three years ago (this interview was made in august 2001). And the first bands where Fluxus, Ambrozijn, Shantalla and Lais. So it was quite a strong start."
What is normally the reason to start a folk music label - right: because something like that is missing... "I actually started the label because there was nothing like that. There was no label speacialised in folk music in Flanders, we had the small ones, but they did not do very much. So I had the impression there where a lot of groups, new bands with a potential. And that's why I started. Before I started the label I have been working for some time a record stall - so I knew how to do things. I think it was a neccesary to have such an insight into the world of record companies."Kadril:  Harlind & Koen, photo by The Mollis
Erwin was right - such a label was missing at that time in Belgium. The success of the Wildboar label was quite astonishing. "It worked very well! Certainly with Lais - that album of Lais, the first album of Lais sold, I think 70 000 copies of. This it is quite impressive..." The label started so fast that it was quite frightening for Erwin at some times "At a certain moment it was not easy. Because it went a little bit too fast. Normally I should have taken more time, but it went very fast - and today I am happy with the way it went."

Some of the bands that have started with the Wildboar label are nowadays - only three years after the Wildboar label started - stars in Belgium and beyond. Especially the three girls of Lais are very well known all over the place. A bit of a pity for the great Wildboar label is that a lot of these bands have decided to move on to a mayor label. EMI started some time ago the devision Zoku, and also Virgin Belgium discovered their love for folk music, so many of the bands discovered by Wildboar decided to move on. But the good thing is that Erwin now has the chance to search for new bands... "There are still quite a lot of other bands, young bands that are growing..."
The folk scene in Belgium is quite healthy at the moment. Erwin says, "We will see how long it lasts - but for the moment the things are going fine. There are a lot of concerts and festivals in Belgium - and most of them are doing fine. So I have the impression it is quite healthy on both sides the concerts as well as the young musicians - certainly the individual musicians are very good at the moment. There are a lot of good musicians - young ones, 18, 19, 20 years old."

To celebrate their first 25 years Kadril released a double CD sampler of their work (of course on the Wildboar label). You can win two copies of ‚All the best', and additionally two copies of Shantalla's new CD "Seven Evenings, Seven Mornings", released late last year on Wildboar - you simply have to tell us the following: Tell us the name of that European band, that was your personal new finding of the last time. Because we want to to discover new music, please tell us their webpage and e-mail address, if possible. This competition ends on 05.05.2002.

Which European band/artist was your personal special discovery of the last time (if possible please include webpage and e-mail address)?

Latest published CD: All the best - on Wildboar Music

Photo Credit: All fotos by The Mollis taken at FolkWoods Festival Eindhoven, summer 20001

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