FolkWorld Live Review by Eugene Graham; 09/2002

Dranouter Folkfestival Belgium – the New tradition
Eugene Graham reports from the first main day of the festival 2002

Dranouter is the most mixed of festivals. This years typical melange saw Patti Smith, Ray Davies, the Hothouseflowers, Femi Kouti,  Kate Rusby, Mike Mc Goldrick, Slide , Galldubh, Chris Newman  & Maire Ni Catathsaigh among others compete with DJs, part of the Buena Vista Socialclub and a clatter of fine Flemish performers for the favours of the predomininantly young crowd.

White Cockatoo Performing Group; photo by Eugene GrahamAt once this was an international folk festival, a rock festival and above all a Flemish festival. Lucky for me I met Peter and Thomas from the north east of Blegium on my first day and they brought me to a selection of Flemish concerts I would otherwise have missed. Most memorable was Willem Vermandere & Harmonie Ypriana.

I had marked my chosen acts in the programme and set out round the sprawling site. There were in all eight venues in tents varying from the staggering 20,000 of the big tent down to four or five hundred in the smaller ethno groove venues. I pinballed my way  through a staggering variety of music starting with the aboriginal “White Cockatoo performing Group” and their rythmic stomping display from the beginning of time. Then it was on to the bland southern songs of the “Indigo Girls”  from Atlanta Georgia, followed by the celtic glam-rock of the Hothouse Flowers, various DJs and the emerging young Irish group “Galldubh” who gave a polished performance highlighted by Aideen Curtin`s jazzy voice.It was fast approaching 11.30 when Slide hit the scene.

Slide backstage; photo by Eugene GrahamDaire Bracken yelped his way on to stage  and proceeded to explain that no this was not part of the sound check, simply his way of showing he was having a good time. Slide attacked with purpose and an awesome vigour. With Frankie Lane balancing their sound they tore into the young audience in the dancing tent. Only their very personal and touchingly interpreted songs gave respite from the bopping tunes. Daire on fiddle , was in fine form pogoing even more than usual, up and down and from side to side with Mick Broderick`s booming bazouki cutting along nicely.Eamonn de barra`s rendition of his own song about the Willy Clancy Summer School, “Stay awhile” gets stronger by the listen and his rythmic chord piano playing lifts their impact . Meanwhile Aoghan Lynch on concertina either led himself or brilliantly backed the flute or fiddle . On “Connie the soldier” opening track on their acclaimed debut CD “The flying pig” the band creates a tonal clanging backdrop to Daire`s enivitable last fling on the fiddle.Just arrived that evening fresh from Donegal they were off to London early next morning and two gigs at the Cambridge Folk Festival. Not much sleep there and they love it, they`re flying.

The first day was coming to a close but dance music continued into the small hours while some of us tried to get some sleep so that we could absorb the following day´s music.

Photo Credit: Photos by Eugene Graham
(1) White Cockatoo Performing Group; (2) Slide backstage

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