it is kind of costumary that we start a review with an nice intro. Something funny or of interest. I could, for example, ponder a bit over why the band is called Wouter en de Draak (dragon). Is it a nice play on words on the story of George and the dragon? (In Dutch the story is actually called Joris en de draak, and the bandmembers are called Wouter and -indeed- Joris ). Or did Joris do something odd to get this nickname? A million ideas come up.
I could also mention some of the song titles. Now I know that folk people have this tradition to give their instrumental songs odd names, but Dieseldrone , Tosti , or Vliegende Graafmachine (Flying excavator)?? Those surely are amongst the strangest I've seen in a long time. Another option is to make a more serious remark, for instance how fitting it is that I write this review right after Aérokorda 's Hush The Wolves. Hush The Wolf being the CD you would play at the height of a party, when everyone is swirling and dancing, and how Wouter en de Draak -the album- is the perfect follow-up. The music that you would play when the night is coming to its end, but nobody wants to leave. The moment you pop open the first bottle of wine, as a friend starts some deep conversation that you know will take you deep into the morning. I could write about all that. But forget about it! This time I'm skipping the intro! There is so much I want to tell about this album, that I'm just gonna leave the whole intro thing be and get right to the music.
Wouter en de Draak are Wouter Kuyper (diatonic accordion, recorder, on the right
) and his dragon companion Joris Alblas (acoustic guitar, left side
). They invited Isaac Muller (Irish flute, second from right
), Frank van Vliet (Flugelhorn, trumpet) and Roeland Uijtdewilligen (percussion, second from left
) to join them as guest soloists on some songs. Together they made quite an interesting instrumental balfolk CD, that includes 3 waltzes, 2 Scottish , a hanter dro (a dance from Bretagne), a cercle, 2 mazurkas, a jig, a bourree and a gavotte. In their bio Wouter and Joris describe their music as: [quote] 'Balfolk with a bigger roll for the guitar, a touch of Irish folk and a big love for the music… Read More
Joie de vivre! That was the first thing that came to mind as I was listening to Hush The Wolves , the debut album of the Belgian instrumental folk trio Aérokorda . The second thing that came to mind? How incredibly fitting this music is to this time of the year. Now that the spring equinox is past us, the first flowers are showing their colours, and my winter clothes are pushed away deep in the back of the closet for yet another year, I was longing for some cheerful, positive music.
And Aérokorda's music fits right in. It's the musical explosion of spring colours, the celebrational music of Ostara and -here it comes again- the soundtrack of joie de vivre! This is music filled with energy, it is music that keeps on giving. I can easily see Aérokorda playing the village stage on Castlefest and the whole balfolk community in front of it, swirling and curling on a warm summer afternoon. The field filled with bright coloured dresses, all of them spinning and turning, as the dancers stir up clouds of dust, celebrating life in a kaleidoscope of light.
OK let's introduce the band shortly, Aérokorda is the project of Davy Cautaerts ( middle in the picture
), Adriaan van Wonterghem ( right side
) both Belgian, and halve Belgian halve Bulgarian Violinist Pavel Souvandjiev ( left
). Adriaan is a classic trained guitarist who created his own almost romantic style of guitar playing that he not only shows in Aérokorda, but also since 2001 in the Belgian folk band Boreas
Violinist Pavel is also classically trained, and listeners could already know him from the Belgian duo Les Bottines Artistique
. A duo he formed with chromatic accordion player Guus Herremans. The duo released their first album Summertime
in june 2017.
Davy Cautaerts is Aéorokorda's Irish Whistle and octave mandolin player. He specialised in Celtic music for several years now, he also plays in the folkcore band Ithilien
. Ithilien describe themselves as a mix between traditional Belgian folk music and modern metal music like deathmetal and metalcore. A cool band judging by the video's on their site, that the fans of the harder tpes of metal will most likely appriciate.
As a trio Adrian, Pavel and Davy also play in the bands Sanseveria
and the new band Makaram
, a septet that brings together world music with a folk rock feel. But this review we focus on their balfolkband… Read More
Well, I tried. I really tried... I tried to make a impartial, objective review of the New SeeD album Through The Veil and I couldn't. It didn't work. Why?
Since 2015 I have been following SeeD and I just love them. I love the positive, cheerful energy they spread on stage. I love their 'outside of the box' thinking. Recording your debut CD in a forest? Why not! Energy breakdown on a Spanish Festival??? Just step off the podium and build the biggest party ever I front of it! (see picture on the right) Swapping instruments and play a song like that 'life on air' during a CeltCast interview ? Sure we dare to do that!
I love to see their friendship on stage and I love the way they interact with the crowd, with the fans. Ánd I LOVE their music!! I's so cheerful and positive. It gives you a smile the minute you hear it. And after all that, they recorded Through The Veil together with my favourite sound 'artist' Fieke van den Hurk, at the Dearworld studio . I give up. I'm biased. Big time!
After the intro -with impressive singing from Sara- the first notes of the title song Through The Veil
take you into the magical realm of the fae, the gnomes, the goblins and seedlings. Just as Portal To Elfland
before it, the CD is a nice mixture between instrumental songs and vocals. With a big role for Koen van Egmond on solo flute. He, in my opinion, is one of the best solo flutists in the scene. Having the ability to tell a whole story with only his flute. Just listen to the titel song Through The Veil
, or FFuya
and you'll know what I mean. As a band SeeD epitomize the spirit of the pagan folk scene. Their approach to music is free spirited, sometimes a bit unconventional, but always pure from their hearts. It says enough that the band sees friendship as the main force behind their music. In a way SeeD reminds me of the way music was made in the 60's at the height of the flower power. It has that same sense of freedom, that same feel of love and that same captivating happiness running though it.
For those who don't know SeeD yet, they play pagan folk using Flute, percussion, bouzouki and slidgeridoo as their main instruments. The… Read More
From the moist dirt of South Holland a new kind of tuber emerged. The kind that walks on two legs and is fused with an instrument of choice. Some might say it is a spud, but it is not just any spud, no it is a Royal Spud! Perfect for a half-baked punk mash with chunks, suffused with a traditional Irish shamerock 'n' roll sauce. As befits a 'real' spud the possibilities with it are endless! And remember, just as with any salty fried spud, once you have had a taste of it, you will be left craving for more.
With this free interpretation of their band bio we can proudly present Unforgotten Lore
, the new EP of the Royal Spuds
! What? A punk folk band on CeltCast? Yes, because with A Man
they have written a semi-acoustic punk folk ballad that fulfills all the criteria that a song needs to be played on our livestream. And I for one am thrilled about that. The Spuds' music takes me right back to the early 2000's, when I was still volunteering in an alternative youth centre, and I regularly crashed the dancefloor on tunes from The Killers
, Reel Big Fish
's Time bomb
, Dropkick Murphys
and the Royal Spu...... Wait a minute, not so fast. Not the Spuds. Although their music would have fitted perfectly in this list, their story starts a wee bit later. Around ten years later actually. To be precise it starts in 2012 with their debut album Wanted, Drunk 'N' Alive
At the time they sounded just the way a young punk folk band should sound: rough, tough and pure. Sound wise you could compare them with the rough punk folk of the Dropkick Murphys enriched with some metal influences, especially in the guitar sound and solos. A cool debut album, even after all those years.
The next Spuds album, It's A Feckin' Freakshow
, came out in 2015. The sound was getting more melodic, with a big role for Micky's tin whistle and accordion, but still with a sharp, aggressive metal feel, especially in the guitar sound of Milan and Robin. Songs like Tonight I'm Staying In
would not look out of place on a Dropkick Murphys, Toy Dolls
or The Real McKenzies
CD. Pure upbeat punk folk. But songs like Mary Goes Round
or the beautiful ballad The Dying Rebel
already showed that The… Read More
Sunday the 25th of November, 14:45 PM, I am on Winter Castlefest , the 2018 edition. As I was getting ready to photograph the next band in 'The Great Hall'-the name Castlefest has given to the big tent where the games are played and the indoor performances take place- I couldn’t help but notice Sowulo 's Faber Auroch entering. The next to pass me was Sara ( SeeD 's singer/bouzouki player) and her partner. But I really started raising an eyebrow when some minutes later Brisinga 's Fabi came by asking if I knew where the Imbue members were sitting. As I started looking around, I was also able to spot Rowan from Heidevolk and members from Sunfire and The Royal Spuds in the audience. All the members of Emian and Waldkauz had found a place in the front rows, as had former AmmA member Hanna van Gorcum and from the corner of my eye I could also see sound magician Fieke van den Hurk . Afterwards I discovered SeeD's frontman Koen van Egmond and Sowulo's harp player Chloé Bakker also attended the concert a day earlier. Now the Castlefest scene, as I fondly call the Pagan/fantasy folk scene we are all part of, has always been a really supportive one with bands visiting each other’s concerts and all kinds of collaborations happening on stage and behind the scenes. But even in this supportive scene it is rare for ten(!) bands to be represented at one concert. And that's exactly what happened as Irfan got ready to play at the Castlefest 2018 Winter Edition. In a way it says all about the status Irfan has within the alternative Pagan folk scene.
Well, the concert was beautiful, mesmerising and captivating from start to finish. With the seating area placed closely around the podium, there was this real connection between the band and the audience. The atmosphere was pure magic, really captivating and Irfan were given a standing ovation at the end of the concert. It goes without saying that I acquired their newest mini-CD Roots
straight after to try and hopefully re-experience a bit of that magic again at home. And that is exactly what happened when I put Roots
in my CD player.
From the first notes of the opening song Mominstvo
Irfan captivates you. They take you into ancient Persian times. You walk with them into the courts of India, you reminisce… Read More
When I started as a reviewer for CeltCast in the autumn of 2017, I wrote several reviews in one go. Most of them are published, but two were put on the shelf for later use. As is common with stuff on shelves, they were forgotten, collecting dust in a dark corner of my laptop. Now, with Sowulo already recording their third album, I dug the review of Sol up again. We finally focus our attention to Sowulo's second album, and everything which happened before that, because you can't introduce Sol without mentioning their first CD Alvenrad . So we start the story with that album, taking us all the way back to 2010.
In 2010 Faber Horbach started developing the concept of what would become Sowulo - a project named after the Germanic rune for the Sun - and started composing the music for what would become the Alvenrad
album. An album Sowulo described back then as ambient folk music inspired by Germanic mythology. The name Alvenrad
came from the Germanic name for the sun and the album was a celebration of the pagan year festivals. Nowadays Sowulo refers to this CD as ritual music.The album came out in 2012 and the band members were, besides Faber Horbach on piano and chant, Klaartje van Zwoll on violin and chant, Koen van Egmond ( SeeD
) on flute and Tom Latten on percussion. The recordings were done by Fieke van den Hurk.
Looking back at this period Faber Horbach explains: 'I did indeed compose Alvenrad
all by myself.The concept of Alvenrad
was the sun, the four seasons and the pagan festivals that go with it. The subtitle of the CD was: celebrating our great pagan legacy. The whole idea was born out of my own wish to be able to play appropriate music to the specific pagan festivals we celebrate nowadays. The music on Alvenrad
is therefore dedicated to those yearly festivals and the wheel of life, the way nature evolves during a year, because these are universal themes within paganism.
I didn't restrict myself to a Germanic or Celtic view on those festivals. We don't exactly know how they were celebrated anyway. Instead I let myself be influenced by the different 'feel' of those festivals and tried to express that in my compositions.
Funny story is, when I started recording Alvenrad
at Fieke van den Hurk's Orchus studio - the predecessor of the Dearworld studio
- I… Read More