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Buy this CD at ProxisCD OF THE WEEK (January 1999) :

LAÏS "LAÏS"
(Wild Boar Music 1998 - WBM-21005)

Songs (click on the-icons for audio)
1. De Wijn
2. Barbagal
3. Isabelle
4. 't Zoutvat
5. De Wanhoop
6. In This Heart
7. Min Morfar
8. 't Jeugdig Groen
9. De Wereld Vergaat
10. Warme Garnars
11. 't Smidje
12. Grand Jacques
13. Bruidsnacht
14. Zeven Steken

Musicians :
- Jorunn Bauweraerts
- Nathalie Delcroix
- Annelies Brosens

Guests :
- Kadril (Erwin Libbrecht, Peter Libbrecht, Harlind Libbrecht, Bart De Cock, Hans Quaghebeur, Mario Vermandel, Dirk Verhegge, Philippe Mobers)
- Jacques Vandevelde (lyre)

producer : Erwin Libbrecht
Photographs : Gerard Scargo

Press Release

Two years after their remarkable appearance at the Folk Festival in Dranouter, Laïs have finished their first CD. Their nameless debut contains 14 traditional songs in contemporary arrangements. "Laïs" means "voice" and also is a reference to the medieval "Lais", erotic mistrel songs. But mainly Laïs is three young women from Kalmthout who have lost their souls to folkmusic : Jorunn Bauweraerts, Annelies Brosens en Nathalie Delcroix.

They have known each from childhood on, but the group was formed in 1994, when Jorunn & Annelies sang the song "Barbagal" on the last morning of the folkstage in Gooik. "You could hear a pin drop", says Jorunn, "And afterwards someone from Kadril told us we should continue".
Music was a blooming passion for the girls. Jorunn is from a musical family - her father is a well-known bagpipes-player - and Annelies took lessons in classical singing from a very young age.

Laïs lived it's first big moment when the trio took the stage of Dranouter, with folkrockgroup Kadril backing them up, and brought the audience on their feet at first, and in extasy later. Emmylou Harris left them a nice note in which she spoke in praise of the "three angelvoices" she had heard.

The unexpected response didn't let them turn their head. "It was there that we felt this was what we wanted to do with our live for the first time", said Jorunn. "But we were so young at the time. We had to remain realistic and weren't ready for a cd yet." Laïs started looking for the best way to bring their music. They started with four musicians, something that didn't turn out well, and then toured Flanders in the company of Kadril.

In the spring of '98 the trio got an enthousiastic welcome at the "Klein Karoo Festival" in the South-African town of Oudtshoorn. When they came back, they started the recordings of their first CD. Laïs chose to bring their songs both a capella and with instrumental backing.

The CD contains three remakes of songs by others (Cantovivo, Sinéad O’Connor and Jacques Brel) and a lot of traditional lyrics with new melodies and arrangements. Their songbook contains references to Scotland, Sweden, Italy, Flanders & Ireland : Laïs is very broadminded, in a good old Belgian tradition.
"Those ancient lyrics can be used quite easily", says Annelies. "There is a whole world hiding behind that old language, and it is fascinating that there were people playing with words a long time ago. That is our goal : to make the music of past days live on."

In Laïs, there are a number of influences converging. Jorunn likes male voices from folk & blues, and has a high esteem for black female singers. Annelies thinks classical lines, but also loves Loreen McKennitt and Värttinä. Nathalie is a fan of singers that can adopt different kinds of music with their personality, such as Sinéad O'Connor.

Together, they are Laïs. Ready for Flanders and abroad. The first single of the CD is "‘t Smidje" (the little smith), a traditional text with a melody that the girls made while dancing. In our own country, the group is already well-established amidst the faithful folk-audience. Now the group wants to step outside. Confindent of their own strenght.

In the press:

- Weekend-Knack : "The firstborn of this trio from Kalmthout has a heavenly, salutary effect. The age-old lyrics of Flemish traditionals sound suprisingly smooth. They are certainly no anachronism, a fact proven by the firmly rocking "'t Smidje" adn the cover of Sinéad O'Connors "In This Heart"."
- Dirk Steenhaut in Metro (De Morgen) : "In Flanders, Folk is alive again ... Laïs wants to let tragic ballads and frivolous dancing songs of yesterday live on, but also incorporates Jacques Brel or Sinéad O'Connor. A strong debut."
- Het Doosje : "LAIS has become an established name in the Flemish folk world. Their star has risen to the hightes peaks of the folk-firmament within a few years. They didn't get that recognition for nothing, their beautiful voices, their approach to music and their style have got something to do with it too. They are three young girls who have a talent for singing and instead of bringing pop or rock, they adapt old popular songs and give them a new timbre. This proves that these old songs can be done in a modern way, and that the youth of today is still willing to listen to that. At the presentation of their CD, the hall was packed when the speaker announced the group as "The Spice Girls of Folk Music".

Did you see a good (or bad) review of the album ? Send it to me !

My opinion

Le mystère des voix de Kalmthout : how come that three Flemish girlies sound like a Slavian gypsy choir, or like a herd of Swedish farmergirls, or like a gang of quarrelling medieval bitches. The voices of Jorunn, Nathalie & Annelies are beautiful, there's no denying that.
The songs on the other hand sound fresh, but only in comparison with the usual folk repertoire. The Kadril-sound is very noticeable on the songs with accompaniment (and mostly so on the danceable "'t Smidje", a song you can hear quite often on the Radio over here.).
My favourites : the merry dancing-to-the-end-of-times "De wereld vergaat" (The world perishes), the tales of unhappy love "De Wanhoop" (Despair) and "Zeven Steken" (Seven stabs), and the Brel-remake "Le Grand Jacques". Bummers : the songs that rely too heavily on voice-effects and refer too much to their foreign examples such as "Barbagal", "Min Morfar", but also the annoying "extra track".
All in all this is a reasonable debut, but I wonder if it will turn any pop-lovers into folk-heads.

And your opinion?
Did I get it all wrong, or was I spot-on ? Do you want to share your opinion about this cd ? Send it in, and I'll put it up here !

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More about this group :

- The official residence of the group on the net can be found at Wild Boar Music.
- Interview with the ladies by Het Nieuwsblad.
- Het Doosje, folkminded as they are, have reviewed the cd in their latest newsletter.
- Contact :
Make It Happen / Pascale Van De Velde - Fruithoflaan 124 bus 12 - 2600 Antwerpen/Berchem, Belgium.
Tel : +32/(0)3/448.38.38, Fax +32/(0)3/448.07.76

Where to buy this CD ?

You can order this CD from a number of locations (prices researched on Janyary 4th, 1999, but nothing guarantees they still are the same when you read this).

Shop Price of the CD Shipping + other expenses Total
Link
Frontstage 668 50 718 BEF
Azur 727 0 727 BEF  
HVH-Megastore 788 54 842 BEF  
Proxis 614 95 709 BEF
Wild Boar Music 700 0 700 BEF  

This price comparison doesn't take things into account like deduction of shipping expenses when ordering more than 1 cd, bonus points, differences in guarantees ... Shipping prices are those for customers in Belgium.

Have you seen this record elsewhere, do you own a CD-shop with Belgian products in it, or if there's something wrong with my calculations : let me know.

 

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