FolkWorld #60 07/2016
© Brosella Folk & Jazz

Free of Dogmatic Restrictions and Stereotypes

Music is, and has always been, a dynamic force within culture. It links and unlocks different societies and stimulates growth and personal development. Brosella Folk & Jazz Festival 2016 celebrates it's first four decades!

Brosella Folk & Jazz

9 & 10 July 2016
Pedro Caldeira Cabral
The Unthanks
Sarah Klenes & OakTree
A Filetta
Sharon Shannon Band
Artist Video

If we assume the fact that within music, tradition plays an important role, as it is something that lives and constantly changes, than it is also an essential condition for progress. Folk pre-eminently, but also other music genres such as Jazz, have very old traditions. By passing through the complete history, they grew up to contemporary versions. Brosella Folk & Jazz wants to honor the traditions as well as the contemporary interpretations of the artists of today. We want to share our happiness with an open-minded audience.

From the very start, the organizers of Brosella have been searching for contemporary developments, versions and interpretations of various traditions in the Folk field. Later they also explored all possible expressions and improvisations in the Jazz. The aim is to work beyond the borders of each genre. Brosella Folk & Jazz wants to present music which is free of dogmatic restrictions and stereotypes. Brosella always was a pioneer in these matters and offered a platform to this type of concerts long before terms like Fusion, Cross-over, New Age or World Music came into fashion. Over the years the festival has built a reputation of quality, trust and confidence, acknowledged by the public, the politicians and the media.

Brosella Folk was created in 1977, on the initiative of the City of Brussels. Its purpose was to insufflate new live into an open air amphitheatre which was designed for the World Fair of 1932 by the landscape architect Jules Buyssens. But after the World Expo of 1958 it had been deserted. From the very start, Brosella proposes a weekend of cosy delight. The fabulous location guarantees a unique atmosphere and excellent acoustics. The festival presents an astounding and high quality program with vigilantly selected artists among which both notorieties and exceptional discoveries.

In 1981, Brosella was elected host location for the EBU Folk festival (European Broadcasting Union). The participating radio stations were responsible of the choice of the artists as well as the financial consequences. This gave us the opportunity to try a Brosella Jazz day the next weekend . In 1982 than, Brosella opted for the formula as we know it now: one weekend where one day is dedicated to Folk and the other to Jazz. This way Brosella Folk & Jazz brought together two music styles which were never before (and now still seldom) jointly offered in one festival.

The Unthanks

Artist Video The Unthanks @ FolkWorld:
FW#36, #40, #50, #56

Over the years Brosella Folk & Jazz presented a long list of premières. Many famous folk or/and jazz musicians played at Brosella. From The Chieftains, Planxty, Ladysmith Black Mambaso, A.J. Croce, Chico Freeman, Elvin Jones and Billy Cobham, to Toshiko Akiyoshi, Doudou N’Diaye Rose, David Sanchez, Juan-Jose Mosalini, Lew Tabackin, David Grisman, Maria Schneider, Paul Bley and many more. Brosella also presented the top of the Belgian artists amongst whom André Bialek, Philip Catherine, Philippe Lafontaine, Etienne Verschueren, Rum, Wannes Van de Velde, Willy Donni, Charles Loos, Steve Houben, Bruno Castellucci, Felix Simtaine, Urban Trad, Ishtar and many more. Toots Thielemans accepted more than twenty years ago to be the godfather of Brosella.

Over the years Brosella Folk & Jazz developed into a main player in the musical landscape of Brussels and Belgium. It persists to occupy an important place amongst the numerous events in Brussels. The festival plays a valuable role in the prominence of the Brussels Region in Europe and abroad. Brosella Folk and Jazz is credited with a rising recognition and appreciation in the folk and jazz worlds, from both fans and artists worldwide.

The Unthanks (UK)

Rachel & Becky Unthank (voice), Niopha Keegan (violin, voice), Adrian McNally (piano, voice, celeste, kalimba, Fender Rhodes, percussion), Chris Price (bass, guitar, ukulele), Martin Douglas (drums, percussion), Becca Spencer (viola), Kath Ord (violin), Lizzie Jones (trumpet), Gemma Kost (cello).

A Filetta

Artist Video A Filetta @ FolkWorld: FW#59

Formerly known as Rachel Unthank and the Winterset, The Unthanks is a prominent group in the British Folk Rock scene. Rachel and Becky sisters’ approach to storytelling straddles the complex relationship between modernism and learning from the past. Their compositions combined with Rachel and Becky's crystal clear interpretations make you spontaneously cry or smile, a true wonder.

Their albums were lauded by the most demanding British critics as well as being nominated for the Mercury Music Prize (2008) and the BBC Folk Awards (2008).

At Brosella, The Unthanks will present a mix of traditional material from their ten year career as well as numbers from their latest album Mount the Air. This album received five-star reviews in The Daily Telegraph and The Irish Times and four-star reviews in the Financial Times and The Guardian. This intimate and original folk group overflowing with feeling and musical intelligence is simply a must!

A Filetta, Paolo Fresu & Daniele di Bonaventura (FR-CORSICA/SARDINIA)

A Filetaa : Jean-Claude Acquaviva, François Aragni, Paul Giancily, Stéphane Serra, Jean Sicurani & Maxime Vuillamier (voice), Paolo Fresu (trumpet, bugle) & Daniele di Bonaventura (bandoneon).

Artist Video

‘Danse mémoire danse’ is the result of a fascinating collaboration between two great Italian lyrical improvisers, the trumpeter and flugelhorn player Paolo Fresu and bandoneonist Daniele di Bonaventura, playing together with the magical voices of the polyphonic Corsican ensemble A Filetta.

‘Danse mémoire danse’ is a musical and vocal alchemy based on the work around the complementary and contrasting perspectives of two men, both islanders, outstanding people who experienced the 20th century in an exceptional manner: Aimé Césaire was a writer, poet and playwright from Martinique and Jean Nicoli was a teacher and resistance fighter who was executed in Bastia in 1943 by the fascist Italian occupying forces. Césaire was a descendant of African slaves and a fierce defender of the ‘negritude’ concept he invented. Jean Nicoli hated the fate to which Africans were subjected in the name of 'progress' and 'civilization' of colonialism. Both passionately loved Africa.

These musicians are Corsicans and Italians, polyphonists and jazzmen, all deeply rooted in their own traditions, and will use voice, trumpet and bandoneon to bring out the ideals and also the dreams of these ‘cloud princes’ by offering a musical mix that belongs to no-one in particular because it belongs to everyone.

Sharon Shannon

Artist Video Sharon Shannon @ FW:
FW#17, #18, #28, #30,
#41, #47, #48, #49, #57

Kardemimmit (FI)

Maija Pokela, Jutta Rahmel, Anna Wegelius & Leeni Wegelius (kantele, voice).

Kardemimmit is a Finnish folk music group formed by four young women: Maija Pokela, Jutta Rahmel, Anna Wegelius and Leeni Wegelius. They are singers and players of the kantele, the national instrument of Finland. The group's roots go back to the music school Juvenalia in Espoo, southern Finland where all of the members studied.

The women of Kardemimmit have been playing together for over ten years. This long history has led to the creation of a unique sound in both the group's singing and playing. Kardemimmit has been a pioneer of kantele music: in 2004, the Kantele Association chose the group as the kantele group of the year and the following year, it won the national kantele group contest in its category.

The group's repertory consists of modern folk music, mostly composed by the members themselves. The music of Kardemimmit is fresh but it's strongly rooted in Finnish tradition from both Eastern and Western regions featuring, for instance the reki-style of singing, the Perhonjoki valley kantele style, Karelian small kantele and ‘runo’-song traditions, as well as improvisation in the archaic style.

Sharon Shannon Band (IE)

Sharon Shannon (fiddle, button accordion, tin whistle, melodeon), Sean Regan (fiddle, vocals), Alan Connor (piano, electric guitar, vocals) & Jim Murray (guitar).

Co-Founder of the traditional band Arcady and historical member of The Waterboys, the Irish accordionist Sharon Shannon has since had a long and varied solo career. Her album, ‘The Galway Girl' (2008), has gone four times Platinum in Ireland and the title track has won the Meteor Award for most downloaded song over two years. The Meteor Awards also honoured Sharon as the youngest ever winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Since then, this ambassador of Irish music has toured heavily around the world and has even played for Presidents Clinton in The White House and Obama in Dublin. The long list of collaborations with top names such as Adam Clayton and Bono (U2), Kate Bush, Alison Krauss and Sinéad O'Connor speaks for itself and is testament to Sharon’s versatility and talent.

Photo Credits: (1) Brosella Folk & Jazz, (3) A Filetta, (4) Kardemimmit, (5) Sharon Shannon (unknown/website); (2) The Unthanks (by Walkin' Tom).

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