Tag Archives: Belgium

Artist Profiles: Shantalla


Shantalla is a Belgium-based band formed by several Irish musicians and one Scot. The band was created in 1995 by two members of an Irish band called Sean Talamh (Gaelic for ‘old ground’ or ‘old country’, meaning Ireland). Kieran Fahy and Michael Horgan teamed up with Gerry Murray and Joe Hennon (guitar) and decided to use a name that was easier to pronounce in English so they used Shantalla. They were later joined by Scottish singer Helen Flaherty.

The group’s first album was recorded in 1998 for the Belgian label Wild Boar Music and distributed in many countries by Green Linnet.

The band:

Kieran Fahy – fiddle. Kieran had classical training and is an All-Ireland slow air fiddle champion. He won the first O’Carolan competition in Keadue. Kieran has released two solo albums and toured the USA with Duck Baker.

Helen Flaherty – vocals and bodhrán. Helen has a background in singing Scottish and Irish songs. She recorded with Mairtin Tom Sheainin MacDhonncha on his Blath na hOige album.

Joe Hennon – guitar. Joe is rock a musician that converted to traditional Irish music. He leads the young music group Clann Lir

Michael Horgan – uilleann pipes, flute, whistles. Michael has played with La Lugh, Mary Bergin and several other artists. He is involved in the recording of soundtracks and sessions with successful Belgian artists.

Gerry Murray – accordion, bouzouki, mandolin and whistles. Gerry is a twice Slogadh All-Ireland Champion. Before he left Ireland in the 1980s, he was a prominent music teacher in the North Monaghan area.


Shantalla (Green Linnet, 2000)
Seven Evenings Seven Mornings (Wild Boar, 2001)
Turas (Appel Rekords, 2011)


Artist Profiles: Zap Mama

Zap Mama – Photo by Jurgen Rogiers

Zap Mama was founded by Marie Daulne. Marie sings in French, Swahili and Wolof, harmonizing with Pygmy bushmen, and free styling in Brooklyn slang. Sound is truly her mother tongue.

Born in the former Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) to a Belgian father and a Zairian mother, Marie Daulne fled the country at the age of three when war broke out. After taking shelter with a tribe of Pygmies, her family eventually made their way to Brussels. There is no doubt that Marie experienced an uncommon Belgian upbringing.

While children from her school were practicing in front of a piano, Marie’s mother was introducing her to the sounds of the rainforest, teaching her the unearthly singing of the Central African Pygmies. But Marie preferred to listen to Stevie Wonder and early hip-hop from the United States: “Our mother would make us learn the polyphonic singing, but at the time we thought it was boring because it was traditional.” Instead, Marie developed her vocal skills through imitation of the sultry voice of Roberta Flack and the lip-smacking beats of the Fat Boys’ Human Beat Box.
An appreciation for the music that her mother tried to teach came later when Marie returned to Zaire at the age of 18. Hearing the music in its context and re-imagining her past, Marie found new meaning in the syncopated ululations of the Pygmy melodies. Energized by her rediscovery, Marie returned to Belgium ready to share.

Zap Mama, the world-renowned a cappella group Marie founded, is a persistent exploration of cross-cultural musical pollination, incorporating sounds ranging from Moroccan mawwal to Delta blues. It was the Zap album Seven that marked an evolution for the strictly a cappella female ensemble with the introduction of instruments and male vocals. Marie explains the change: “To use only women limits the vocal register too much, I want to see the voice go as far as possible. But the voice talks to the head. Instruments talk directly to the body. When there is a drum, it’s the body that understands. I wanted to mix the two.


Zap Mama


Marie moved to the United States for a few years, where she began to collaborate with its R&B and hip hop artists. Zap Mama’s Ancestry in Progress features neo-soul Erykah Badu (on “Bandy Bandy”), hip-hop artists Common and Talib Kweli (on “Yelling Away”), and other members of the Roots’ Philly massive.

After her American experience, Marie moved back to Belgium.


Zap Mama (1991)
Adventures in Afropea 1 (Luaka Bop, 1993)
Sabsylma (Luaka Bop, 1994)
Seven (Luaka Bop, 1997)
A Ma Zone (Luaka Bop, 1999)
Ancestry in Progress Luaka Bop, 2004)
Supermoon (Heads Up, 2007)
ReCreation (Heads Up, 2009)


Artist Profiles: Sophie Cavez

Sophie Cavez – Photo by Jan Keirse

Sophie Cavez is a self-taught musician who started playing the diatonic accordion at the age of 17. She began her career by replacing Didier Laloy in various settings, but was soon recognized for the remarkable quality of her playing. As a result she became the accordionist of numerous bands herself, one of them being Urban Trad.

Together with Karim Bagglli she also founded her own band Dazibao where she played her own compositions full of eastern and flamenco influences. Apart from this she can also be seen in the Racines show by comedian Phlllippe Vauchel, and in Luc Pilartz’s VioSons populaires en Wallonie.

She played accordion with Celtic bands Camaxe and Ialma and has had a long-standing collaboration with cellist Baltazar Montanaro.


Jong Folk (Apple Rekord, 2003)
Elem, with Urban Trad (Universal Music, 2005)
Imaxes, with Camaxe (Wildboar, 2005)
Alma, with Dazibao (Home Records, 2005)
Si la terre…, with Geneviève Laloy (Polyson, 2005)
Fars, with Jong Folk (Apple Rekord, 2005)
Nova Era, with Ialma (2006)
Erbalunga, with Urban Trad (2007)
E40, with Dazibao (2007)
Luna, with KV Express (2007)
Lumen, with No Blues (2008)
The Watchman, with Ad Van Meurs & Friends (2010)
Sophie Cavez and Baltazar Montanaro (Appel Rekords, 2010)
Les Mamelles du Désir, with Jeff Caresse (Appel Rekords, 2011)
Opus 1, with Knopf Quartet (Wildboar 2011)
Escales, with Baltazar Montanaro (Appel Rekords, 2012)
Reiseiland, with Soetkin Collier Quartet (Appel Rekords, 2012)
3e temps, with Baltazar Montanaro (2015)
Zafon, with KV Express (Homerecords 2016)


Artist Profiles: Miguel Allo

Miguel Allo – Photo by Strange Milena

Miguel Allo is the founder of Celtic band Camaxe. He is also a passionate gaitero (player of the gaita, the Galician bagpipes). He started playing the instrument at the age of 9 and by the age of 12 was already composing his first melodies.

Miguel grew up in the context of Galician musical culture and participated a numerous musical contests in Santiago de Compostela (Spain), where he managed to win the first prize with his Belgian band. Miguel is also a member of Galician roots band Ialma.


Imaxes ‎(Wild Boar Music, 2005)
Airexa ‎(Music & Words, 2008)


Artist Profiles: Marc De Martelaer

Marc De Martelaer was the bass player for Celtic band Camaxe. His elaborate musical background is the result of his collaboration with numerous bands from the most diverse origins: Jewish with Krupnik, Brazilian with Samboa, Asian, etc.

As a recognized bass player he has had the opportunity to work together with some renowned Belgian musicians: Catoul- Micault group. Ten Strings, Claude Semal et les Convoyeurs, Perry Rose, etc).


Imaxes ‎(Wild Boar Music, 2005)
Airexa ‎(Music & Words, 2008)


Artist Profiles: Limbrant


Limbrant, noted for its pure approach to Flemish music, is a six -member ensemble under the direction of Hubert Boone, one of the pioneers of the Belgian folk music revival. Many of the innumerable songs and dances he collected in Flanders are in the group’s repertoire.

Limbrant’s program includes early ballads, love songs, and historical songs; dance melodies – polkas, mazurkas, waltzes, contredances, and lively schottisches – which were imported from other regions and gradually assimilated into the Flemish folk culture; pieces from the bal musette repertoire; and original compositions.

Hubert Boone plays violin and Flemish bagpipe. The lineup has varied throughout the years.


Limbrant (Etna)
Alezi (Etna)
Danskens- Arguèdènes, with the Walloon brass ensemble Á Râse dè Têre
Brabantse danstradities [Brabant dance traditions] (Etna, 2013)


Artist Profiles: Ialma


Ialma is responsible for the increasing influence of Galician folk music in Belgium. The group features five cantareiras (singers), who are descendants of Spanish immigrants from Galicia, as well as Belgian instrumentalists. Ialma also has strong Wallonian and Flamenco influences.

The vocalists are: Verónica Codesal, Marisol Palomo, Nuria Aldao, Natalia Codesal and Magali Menéndez

Tradicional Galician instruments such as gaita (bagpipe) and pandereta (tambourine) are combined with accordions, bass, and piano.


Palabras darei (Zoku, 2000)
Marmuladas (Zoku, 2002)
Nova Era (Kerua, 2006)
Simbiose (FOL Musica, 2011)
Camiño de Bruxelas a Santiago (Home Records, 2016)


Artist Profiles: Filip Lambrechts

Filip Lambrechts

Filip Lambrechts started playing the guitar at the age of 16. He improved his playing by imitating what he heard on records (mostly American singer-songwriters). Some time later he discovered Dadgad (particular way of tuning the guitar) thanks to the recordings of Pierre Bensusan.

After having studied jazz music for some years he returned to acoustic folk music. Next to Bensusan he is also inspired by the playing of Martin Simpson, and Welsh guitarist Dylan Fowler. Filip was also member of the trio Sourdine and Celtic band Camaxe.


Artist Profiles: Django Reinhardt

Django Reinhardt

Legendary Belgian gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt’s “hot swing” style and music caused a sensation in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s and is still popular today. Django along with famed violinist Stephane Grappelli were the stars of The Quintet of the Hot Club of France, which defined this style of music, known as Le Jazz Hot.

Django was a gypsy guitar virtuoso, called a genius by many. His influence lives on through recordings and talented musicians who continue to enjoy and appreciate his very special and original style of swing music.

Jean Reinhardt, better known as “Django” was born January 23, 1910 in Liberchies, Pont-a-Celles, Belgium. He died in 1953.

Several of Django’s descendants are musicians who play music influenced by their legendary ancestor.

The Django Reinhardt Festival, produced by Pat Phillips and Ettore Stratta, serves to preserve and carry forward the musical legacy of Django as well as the many possibilities of creativity that can grow from his enormous talent and inspiration by presenting the top players in the world of this music.


The Best of Django Reinhardt
The Classic Early Recordings (5 CD boxed set)


Artist Profiles: Camaxe

Camaxe – Photo by Strange Milena

The musical roots of the band Camaxe lie in the Galician tradition. Miguel Allo, founder of the band, has a passion for folk music and has been studying Galician music for over two decades years. Bands like Fuxan os ventos, Milladoiro and Luar na Lubre still serve as a musical reference point to him.

From a very young age he studied music and dance in the company of people from various backgrounds, one of them being Marisol Palomo (vocalist at Ialma). Other Galician musicians like Mario Romero (Os Rosales) and Xoan Porto (Leilia) enriched his musical education. Around 2003, Miguel decided to work together with Marc De Martelaer, a bass player, who became responsible for most of the band’s arrangements.

Camaxe’s first album was titled Imaxes. By means of melodies inspired by the Galician tradition, and subtly mixed with other musical styles b>Imaxes. (meaning images) took the listener on a journey leading along both sad and exuberant roads. Camaxe tells the story of many years of musical discoveries and encounters.

The band consisted of 7 musicians from a variety of backgrounds:

Miguel Allo – Apart from being the composer of most of the tracks on the CD, Miguel Allo is also a passionate gaitero (player of the gaita, the Galician bagpipes). He started playing the instrument at the age of 9 and by the age of 12 was already composing his first melodies.

Miguel grew up in the context of Galician musical culture and participated a numerous musical contests in Santiago de Compostela (Spain), where he managed to win the first prize with his Belgian band. Miguel is also a member of Ialma.

Marc De Martelaer – bass

Sophie Cavez – diatonic accordion

Filip Lambrechts – guitar

Veronica Codesal – vocals and pandeireta (Galician tambourine).

Baptiste Argouarch – violin

Ariane De Bievre – flutes and percussion


Imaxes ‎(Wild Boar Music, 2005)
Airexa ‎(Music & Words, 2008)