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.
Danskens- Arguèdènes, with the Walloon brass ensemble Á Râse dè Têre
Brabantse danstradities [Brabant dance traditions] (Etna, 2013)
This is a wholly contemporary release. While material predates familiar Belgian musical influences like Jacques Brel, Django Reinhardt and Toots Thielmans, MANdolinMan’s approach certainly shares those legends’ “what the hell, let’s try this different thing and see what happens” approach. This is a Belgian quartet, after all, and Belgians have that attitude.
Belgium is, after all the nation that once tried to get cats to deliver mail. For a few months, in and around Liège, in 1879, mailmen attached waterproof message bags to peoples’ pet felines, expecting them to go home, much as carrier pigeons had been used for centuries. “Unless the criminal class of dogs undertakes to waylay and rob the mail-cats, the messages will be delivered with rapidity and safety,” The New York Times reported. The work ethic of cats made the service unreliable, and the experiment was called off after a few months, but the experiment did take place. In Belgium.
What the hell, let’s try this different thing and see what happens. What happens with “Unfolding the Roots” is an experiment that works. As with “Fertile Paradoxes,” another new ARC Music release by MANdolinMAN’s labelmates, Amine & Hamza, The Band Beyond Borders, this CD takes world music to a different level, giving listeners something at least as much FOR the world as FROM a specific spot on the globe.
This is musicians’ music, accessible to all and particularly rewarding to those seeking fusion and harmony, but most welcome to other players interested in seeing what will and can work. The listener is not pushed by the band’s delivery to categorize these 12 cuts as polkas, waltzes, mazurkas and contra dances, but to turn the volume up and invite friends over for a drink. They are the Flemish, mandolin instrumental equivalent of England’s famous folk rock act, Steeleye Span.