FolkWorld Live Review 10/03 by Christian Moll

A hot weekend in the woods
Folkwoods Festival 2003 in a wood near Eindhoven

Refreshment at Folkwoods 2003, photo by the MollisThe summer 2003 has been a exceptional hot affair in central Europe. Many long time temperature maximums have been topped. The Folkwoods weekend in august was no exception. The temperatur was nearly to hot to attend an festival... But a lot of folks found its way into the woods near Eindhoven to have an great weekend.

The festival has moved from the one end of Eindhoven (in the west) for the forth edition into a great wood on the other end of Eindoven (in the east)... In my opinion the place was perfect: a nice pine wood for the campers and a meadow in the midth of the wood as festival terrein. There were two big tents and a big open air stage for the shows. The heat was sometimes really a bit too much - especially in the afternoon - to listen or even dance to the music. But there was some refreshments (see the photo)...

Enough talked about the setting, let us come to the music. The musci was focused on Europe: mainly Irland & UK, Scandinavia, Belgium and the Netherlands itself. In the following description I will pick out some of the bands, but I will not mention all...

AEDO, photo by The MollisA fantastic an furious young band from Belgium is AEDO. The five young lads had to play already on early afternoon, because they had another gig later the day... But nevertheless they created with sax, pipes, accordion, guitars a great atmosphere. Although their music has influences of jazz and trance music it is good possible to dance traditional dances to it. They gathered a good crowd of trad dancers around the stage....

Croft No. 5's music goes into the same direction, it is a bit harder less jazz more modern trance. The young scottish lads had really to fight with the temperature as it was above 35°C, I think. These band is one of the young bands of Scotland combing their traditions with an cool show. Oh yes - folk music can be cool - although becaus of the weather the word trendy would be better.

Fiamma Fumana from Italy is also a new star in the heaven of modern European folk music. Fiamma Fumana are unique band: three girls in the front line and one further (male) musician on guitar, accordion and key. The girls are a young singer, a piper (of an old Italian pipe) / flutist and a a programmer (I am not sure if this is the right word). The mix mostly italian ballads and tunes with modern beats. I like their album a lot - and I must say it also works in live! Still there where some bad bit - e.g. they should not cover pop songs in the english language... But I think you will hear more of them in future.

Värttinä, photo by The MollisAnother highlight of the festival was Värttinä - the best known Finnish folk band. The three singers and their band captured the attention of the audiance with their great live show. They know perfectly how to communicate with their audiance and how to create different atmospheres. This is power.

I was looking forward to the last band of the evening: B.A.R.K. from Sweden. I have got their first CD - it is a very interesting mix of tradition an experiments. But I have to admit that I was disappointed from their show. Although they have (as a newer member) the great singer Sofia Sandén (from Ranarim), and the lads are good instrumentalist and have intersting ideas, in my opinion the concept did not work out. All the songs (I think) apart from songs without words where sung in English. I had the feeling that they could not create with english songs the same atmosphere they would have created in Swedish...

Sunday started with a lokal hero: Gerard van Maasakkers en de vaste Mannen. Gerard is a great singer songwriter and he has a good band, too. Although I could not understand all the songs (as they where sung in Dutch) he could capture my attention for his whole show. If you are into good singer/songwriters, who sing in their own language - go for him he is special!

Folkwoods 2003, photo by The MollisAnother great band from the netherlands are BOTS. The band around Hans Sanders, who is also one of the organizers of Folkwoods, was in the 70th one of the first bands in the Netherlands, who sang in Duth language only. With their songs they became especially in the Netherlands and Germany very famous. After having a reunion concert on the Folkwoods festival two years ago they started to tour again and also to compose new songs. So here was the chance to here new songs and of course old hymns of a legendary band. Well done!

To do parallel shows of the Irish band Grada and the Breton band Morenn was - in my opinion - not the best idea of the organziers. The music they play is for this to similar. Either you like to see "celtic" (I do not want to use this word) music with drums, then you are interested in both of their shows - and if not, you neither want to see one of them. I listened mostly to Grada (and had just a very short peek into Morenn). Grada are a young band, who have a traditional approach with modern edges.

It was amazing to see that it is possible for a good folk (rock) band to get a very close second place in the big Grand Prix de Eurovision. The Belgian band Urban Trad presented their new material with their new fame on Folkwoods. Yves Barbieux started this band more as a project for an album, but because of the big success they are now a band. They mix traditions of different cultures (mostly European) add modern sounds and their own style.

The final band of the festival was Spaelimenninirfrom the Faroer islands. With this long going band the Trolls came out of the woods to dance to the Scandinavian tunes.

Hopefully the sun will be back at next years folk festival in the woods - but it must not be that hot...

Festival Homepage:


Photo Credit: All photos by The Mollis: (1) Refreshment, (2) AEDO, (3) Värttinä, (4) Dancing at Folkwoods

To the content of FolkWorld Features
To the content of FolkWorld No. 26

© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 10/03

All material published in FolkWorld is © The Author via FolkWorld. Storage for private use is allowed and welcome. Reviews and extracts of up to 200 words may be freely quoted and reproduced, if source and author are acknowledged. For any other reproduction please ask the Editors for permission. Although any external links from FolkWorld are chosen with greatest care, FolkWorld and its editors do not take any responsibility for the content of the linked external websites.

FolkWorld - Home of European Music
FolkWorld Home
Layout & Idea of FolkWorld © The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld