I learned a lot of new things this Friday! For instance, I now can point out the hamlet called “Gijzegem” on the map of Belgium. Moreover, I learned that Gijzegem has a great taste in music, as the local school organised a wonderful folk festival featuring Failte, Aedo, Helen Flaherty together with Daithi Rua and Aidan Burke and, as top of the bill, Kadril.
On the road to Gijzegem, I feared the worst, for it started pouring with rain. I was already considering a potential caption for this article: “Failte festival: four-hour shower of folk music”. At that point, I didn’t know yet that it wouldn’t be the small-scale open-air festival that I thought it would be.
The concerts took place in a tent, and a considerable one, too! Moreover, on the green pasture, there were a couple of booths selling food, clothes, etc. In short, Gijzegem was very well prepared!
So far for my theory that Fluxus is the only folk band using a saxophone! Aedo’s front man, Pieter De Meester, also plays the sax, and how! Although the band members are all rather young, they are pretty shrewd at setting a whole audience on fire. Seldom have I seen so many people dancing with such an enthusiasm! By the way, compliments to the audience! It wouldn’t surprise me if the pupils of Sint-Vincentiusinstituut have been practising the “andro”, the “scottish”, the “bourrée”, the “reel” and the “jig” over and over again in gym class!
By the end of the year, Aedo will release their first full cd. They will present it in “De Centrale” in Ghent on 24 September and in “Volkshuis St-Gillis” in Brussels on 25 September. I’m really looking forward to it, for Aedo rocks! Well, you know what I mean… "Aedo folks!” would sound a bit funny, wouldn't it?
Helen Flaherty, Aidan Burke and Daithi Rua
For the occasion, Helen Flaherty left her four Irishmen (cfr. Shantalla) at home and let fiddler Aidan Burke and guitarist Daithi Rua accompany her. Normally, it would have been Philip Masure who accompanied her on the guitar, but the audience didn't really seem to mind that Daithi Rua replaced him. On the contrary, the pupils obviously had met him before!
I don't know whether Helen wound the audience round her little finger or vice versa, but one thing's for sure: repeatedly both the audience and Helen declared their love to one another. I already knew that she is a more than accomplished singer, but what I didn't know is that she's a great dancer too! There she was, happily hopping while Aidan Burke was playing the fiddle at the most dazzling speed.
Next to these fast tunes, the set mainly included a fair amount of songs in which Helen as well as Daithi displayed their vocal talents. I feared a bit that the younger people in the crowd would lose their interest during those slower songs, but even they stayed focused and treated the band time and again to a warm applause and lots of cheers. As you can see, it was a joyful performance at a warm-hearted festival!
Unfortunately, I didn’t see the whole concert, but I stayed long enough to take a few nice snapshots.
At the beginning of the concert, there was clearly something wrong with the sound, so I hope those technical problems got solved soon!