Made of the Best Strings

Snaarmaarwaar - Phosphor Bronze

Phosphor Bronze (Appel Rekords, 2011)

Three of the best string instrument performers in Belgium form Snaarmaarwaar. The finely-attuned trio plays primarily contemporary acoustic music rooted in European folk music. Phosphor Bronze is the second album by these virtuoso musicians.

Snaarmaarwaar has been dazzling folk festival audiences throughout Europe for nearly 6 years. The richly melodic interplay between the mandola and mandolin, supported by the rhythm guitar, combines virtuosity, improvisation and boundary breaking sounds. Although most of the pieces are acoustic, the trio occasionally introduces electronic elements that take trad music to new levels.

The album title, Phosphor Bronze, makes reference to the material out of which only the best strings are made. Most of the tracks are penned by Maarten Decombel. Jeroen Geerinck contributes the rest.

Snaarmaarwaar’s debut album Snaarmaarwaar came out in 2009 and was very well-received. The current line-up of the trio includes Peter-Jan Daems on mandolin, Maarten Decombel on mandola and Jeroen Geerinck on guitar.

Peter-Jan Daems from Brussels got into folk music after hearing Irish, French and Scottish traditional songs. He learned the craft during several jam sessions. In Snaarmaarwaar Peter-Jan takes care of the 10-string mandolin, which was built especially for him. The instrument is tuned in a C-G-D-A-E tuning. Next to that, Peter-Jan also plays the guitar and the mandola. He was one of the founding fathers of the band Tantra, a cross-over psychedelic folk band that mixed ethnic and Celtic music in an exciting way. He was also a part of the folk dance band Papaver.

Jeroen Geerinck was educated as a pianist, but eventually chose the guitar. After playing various music styles, he ended up in the world of folk music. Alongside Snaarmaarwaar, Jeroen is also a member of Triple-X (folk dance band), Hot Griselda (folk dance bande), B-Boa (Breton music), Amorroma (romantic folk dance band) and Transpiradansa (world music). Occasionally you can hear him as well with KV Express and Urban Trad. Jeroen is a teacher of folk guitar at the Gooik music school. His specialty is folk guitar in DADGAD tuning, which originates from Celtic and Anglo-Saxon folk music and which is the major folk music tuning in Flanders since the 1990s.

Maarten Decombel has been playing guitar since he was 9. He studied classical and jazz guitar at the Ghent conservatory. But above all, he is a true folk musician at heart. In Snaarmaarwaar he usually plays mandola (which some call an “octave mandolin”, the tuning is GDAE: one octave lower than the normal mandolin). He is however best known as folk guitar player. Maarten’s other musical projects include Göze (accordion and guitar duo), Naragonia Quartet (folk dance band) and Trip to Ireland (Irish traditional ensemble). He occasionally collaborates with Christian Merveille (theater for children) and Zefiro Torna. He often teaches the guitar at folk camps and he is a tutor at the Deinze music academy.

Phosphor Bronze is a vivacious album of genuinely diverse original folk music pieces with a modern aesthetic.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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