Ambrozijn
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Ambrozijn
Ambrozijn (Wild Boar Music, Belgium)
$17.99

Musicians:
- Wouter Vandenabeele: violin and fiddle
- Tom Theuns: acoustic guitar, sitar, banjo
- Wim Claeys: diatonic accordion and bagpipes
- Ludo Van Deau: vocals

Also by the band: Kabonka (2003)
"Ambrozijn is one of those wondrous bands that make a simple description impossible. They can make music that is deceptively direct, using folk instruments like fiddle, guitar and accordion to produce straight folk melodies and dance tunes. But they can also jump out of the mold completely, advancing into difficult and complex new music full of unexpected rhythms and subtle dissonance. Their best material is a mix of traditional folk and avant garde attitude that makes them stand out from the crowd of European bands currently playing newly composed folk music. They get an extra push from having the good fortune of getting Gabriel Yacoub to produce and even contribute a few vocal backings, and there are some similarities between his approach and that of Ambrozijn. The arrangements are dynamic and demand great musicianship from each of the players. The vocals are rough, energetic and immediate.
Listen to "Vier Weverken"
Choosing an audio track to accompany this review was a tough choice, given the range of material on this recording. "Vier Weverkens" captures the subtle side, with a quiet yet modern sound, strong vocals and a clean arrangement for percussion, bass and guitar, with accordion contributing both edgey percussive strength and a complementary romantic melody." - Cliff Furnald, RootsWorld

About the band:
from the Belgian Pop and Rock Archives

Ambrozijn is one of the interesting new folkbands that sprouted in Flanders at the end of the nineties. However, for this band folk music is not the goal, but merely a point of departure.

The lineup changed a few times initially (eventually it would become guitar, diatonic accordion / bagpipe, violin and harmonic singing), but the four musicians at the time of the debut-CD on Wild Boar (the label of Philippe Libbrecht van ) were highly skilled and trained musicians. Produced by Gabriel Yacoub (from Malicorne) they tried to give a contemporary and adventurous angle on traditionals and songs (e.g. the Flemish traditional “de vier weverkens”) and to bring about a meeting between folk, jazz and world-music.

Strange for the folk-world is that Ambrozijn sings both in French and in Dutch, and allows definite “multicultural” influences in the music. “Our music is international. A wonderful folk-workshop in Neufchateau brings North and South together. With the old folkies of the Flemish and Walloon “scenes” this is very different, but the young generation are getting more and more together”.

The press-reactions to the debut-album were very positive. Thus, Peter Van Dyck wrote in Weekend Knack : “We can be very proud of the new blood that is being pumped in the old and wrinkled body of folk music these days. The guys from Ambrozijn have the same starting point, rooted in tradition, as the girls of , but go way further in their urge for renewal. They experiment with rhythms and strum on everything that produces nice sounds : from Moroccan percussion to toy planes.” But where the girly folk-band Laïs turned their debut into a surprising bestseller, Ambrozijn didn't go beyond an honorable mention. Together with other new folk bands such as and Fluxus (more “dance"oriented) and the sons of Koen de Cauter (flamenco) they produced a number of concerts and a CD as “Bouquet Garni”. Most or the members of Ambrozijn are also active in other bands, and all play in the “folk big band” Olla Vogola. Wouter Vandenabeele doesn't want to stick to the folk-label though : “that so-called folkrevival has to put into perspective. In Flanders there is relatively little left of the traditional folk music. You only have to compare it to Ireland or France, where traditional music is really alive. Over here, bands such as Â~Qt Kliekske have some merit, but is still a sort of museum-music that doesn't really appeal to the youth. I also went searching for my “Roots”, but I didn't get a lot from that. The band that appealed the most was , but that was something from the Seventies. With Ambrozijn, we sometimes get compared to Rum. For me, folk music is a very large concept, and I want to explore the fringes of it” (quote from De Morgen).

In 1999, the band signed a deal with major Virgin, and went into the studio in November, to go and record a second CD. A first release after their step towards major Virgin is Ambozijn's “”. The record firm markets it as “acoustic music” instead of folk, but the cd still contains a number of reworked traditionals and self-written songs with lyrics from medieval songs. The band could well become what is to the blues-scene, by giving the scene new life and fresh ideas, while not accepting its traditions as the same time. As Wim Claeys said to “De Standaard” : “Our first album could be situated as Flemish Folk. But this one can't. We all have found our places within the group : Wouter's jazz and Irish music, my Scandinavian and Flemish roots, Tom's love for music from Britany, and Ludo's music from the Mediterranean. Ambrozijn, that is Flanders on a trip trough Northern & Southern Europe”.

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